Introducing The New OPIN-Pilots (1): Youngsters in Local Politics - For Sustainability and Quality of Life

The new OPIN pilots have just started their eParticipation projects across Europe. In the upcoming months they will involve youngsters in various diverse activities on local, regional and national levels, bridging the gap between youth and decision-makers. At the same time they will intensively use and test OPIN. In this article we will introduce three pilots from Germany, Italy and Macedonia.

Pimp Your Town! (Germany)

Pimp Your Town! is already a well-established programme set up by the non-profit association Politik zum Anfassen e.V., which aims at facilitating political education and promoting democracy to youngsters. It realises simulations of local politics in schools, offering young people to put their ideas on the municipal agenda and gain a better understanding of local politics. Each simulation lasts three days and involves up to 120 students between 8 and 25 years. The kids and young adults pretend to be local politicians, write own proposals, discuss and vote on them, while receiving help from city councillors who are involved in the entire process. At the same time, part of the group acts as journalists who report about the simulation. During these processes, OPIN will now come into play at all stages: idea collection, collaborative text work and voting – which will all be done on the platform. Additionally, OPIN will provide the opportunity to keep discussions between politicians and students on-going – even after the simulation. This renders it more likely for the youngsters’ proposals to become implemented.

Elba Youth Agenda for Sustainable Living (Italy)

This project, promoted by a local group of the NGO Legambiente Onlus, will involve high school students in online and offline events. The objective is to develop a local action plan for a sustainable development of the Italian island Elba. The youngsters will be involved in order to ensure the functioning of the ecosystem services and to improve the quality of life on the island for residents as well as tourists. The project has three phases:

  1. Laboratory: The students will interview experts and stakeholders and develop action proposals on the issues through a simulation game, in which they take the place of stakeholders. 
  2. Agorà: Comments on action proposals will be collected during “OPIN breakfasts”, organised in the municipalities on Elba. Finally, the students can comment, evaluate and rate the proposals on the OPIN platform.
  3. The approved actions will be incorporated into an action plan, which will be submitted to the mayors of all involved municipalities.

Prilep Youth Voice in eParticipation (Macedonia)

The objective of this project is to involve youngsters between the ages of 15 and 30 in local decision-making in the Macedonian municipality of Prilep. It has been initiated by the network of youth NGOs “SEGA” that aims at helping youngsters to become active citizens. The projects’ strategy starts with a large-scale promotion of and information about the eParticipation process, including school workshops about eParticipation in general and how to use the OPIN-toolbox. The goal of this process is to collect creative ideas on how the quality of life in Prilep can be improved for youngsters. Through OPINs idea collection feature, young people can share their ideas with their peers, the general public and municipal administrators, as well as vote on the proposals. In a final event the young people will present the results to and discuss them with representatives of the municipality’s Youth Advisory Body and the Local Self-Government. At least two of the ideas shall be included in the municipality’s mid-term planning and subsequently put into practice.


Want to know more? Check out the projects on OPIN: