Institute of Baltic Studies project “Young Citizens’ Panel: Politics is Cool!” aimed to encourage young Russian speaking pupils (aged 16-18) in Narva municipality to engage more actively in the life of the Estonian society and participate in the political process. The objective was to raise and map problems which affect civic and political participation of young people, and to develop solutions to these problems by the pupils themselves.
The idea of the project was innovative since the method of participation – citizens’ panel – had not been applied in Estonia before. This innovative approach gave young people experience on how to think independently, assess adequately different ideas and topics which arise from public debates, and to develop skills for finding creative solutions to their problems. Main activities of the project were: organizing citizen’s panels on the topic of civic and political participation and fundamental rights, analysing and framing the main ideas and problems prior to these panels (conducting survey and research phase), creating video blogs with short interviews with politicians, and organizing a forum theatre “Who cares!?” at the end of the project. The method of citizen’s panel cultivated the skills of independent thinking, increased the involvement in different debates and discussions, helped to teach how to engage into dialogue with people with different opinions and helped to find solutions by means of achieving consensus.
Project partners were Institute of Baltic Studies (lead partner), NGO Narva Youth for Youth and the National Foundation of Civil Society (NFCS).