INJUV, Chile’s National Youth Institute, is a public institution that collaborates with the government in designing policies related to youth affairs. To give millennials across the country the chance to voice their ideas on local community development, INJUV launched an online platform in the winter of 2019.
As a public institution, INJUV aims to engage more young people (between the age of 15-29) with Chilean policy, and empower them to contribute to their communities. To achieve this objective, the National Youth Institute organises national programs to promote social inclusion and participation in the country. In the winter of 2019, INJUV launched a digital platform to connect with more Chilean millennials. In a short period 7,198 users registered on the platform, yet, the participation platform took off in May 2020, when INJUV launched the project ‘Ideas para mi comunidad’ [ideas for my community].
Ideas for my Community
On the platform, INJUV invites young people to share ideas that contribute to the sustainable development of Chilean communities. Ideas should tackle a problem in the local community or region via an innovative proposal. Peers can vote and comment on the ideas shared by others, and INJUV actively encourages debate and the co-construction of solutions.
But here’s the catch: it’s not merely about these ideas. By sharing an idea, discussing it with peers and gaining votes, the writer can get selected to participate in INJUV’s Creamos programme. The National Youth Institute’s main objective behind this project was to obtain an adequate number of applications for their program.
So, what’s the Creamos programme? It offers activities to young people on leadership and empowers them to become agents of change and turn their ideas into reality. Through the Creamos programme, INJUV shares knowledge and tools to lead social innovation projects. Rather than taking up the ideas of millennials, INJUV invests in young people to realise their ideas themselves. Talking about empowerment! The main activities of the programme include:
- Online training courses and webinars on “Leadership for Social Innovation”, “Management of Social Projects” “Human Rights”, “Information Technology” and “Socio-Environmental Challenges”.
- Specialized Mentoring: participants in the program get a local expert or leader (related to their idea) as a mentor. INJUV supports the search for mentors in the area of the plan proposed by the writer and provides logistical and methodological support for the mentoring activities.
- (Virtual) regional meetings: These are eight sessions for a total of 16 hours, assisting the young participants in analysing the challenges of their community via participatory and creative methods.
- Implementation of youth advocacy projects: If young people participated in all activities, they could apply for funding for their project (which can be based on their original idea). INJUV will evaluate the projects according to criteria such as feasibility, impact and expected results. It’s scheduled to finance 25 projects throughout the country, and there is a maximum budget available of 2,000,000 pesos (approximately 2,200 euros) per project.
INJUV with this provides a free development programme to empower young people to make their idea more concrete, actionable and give them a chance at funding. All ideas posted on the platform will be taken into consideration, and a selection of participants for the programme will be made based on several criteria including:
- the general and local relevance of the idea;
- the motivation to be an agent of change;
- person’s experience in social projects;
- The number of votes received on the platform;
- the need of the plan for the community.
Following the launch of the ‘Ideas para mi comunidad’ project between May and June 2020, the activity on the platform skyrocketed: registrations increased with 292.5%, the comments with 468.5% and the votes with 300%.
A total of 628 youth proposals were shared on the platform coming from 620 millennials that applied for the Creamos programme (some people shared more than one idea). Out of these young people, INJUV selected 327 participants to participate in further training for change-agents. The other 300 millennials still get access to the online courses but are not eligible for the mentorship program and final funding round.
The shared ideas touched upon a variety of topics, but were often linked to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). One of the most popular ideas, for example, was giving workshops about sexual and reproductive health for young women. The training should teach women about self-care, self-esteem and provide a trusted environment to discuss sexuality; objectives related to the SDG 3 (Health and Well-being) and SDG 5 (Gender Identity).
A video made by the young team of women who initiated this idea
Now that 327 participants have been selected, the Creamos programme will kick off. From September onwards the mentorship will start and the virtual Regional Meetings will take place between October and November. The changemakers that want to apply for funding for their project have the chance to do so between October and December.
“The platform has been very well-received in the current execution of the programme’s activities, by both the regional teams of INJUV and by the young people who have interacted through it. Gradually the different functionalities of the platform are getting clearer, and strategies are being generated to connect it to different activities that we will carry out through the programme.”Benjamin Prado, Manager Creamos, Programmatic Coordination Department INJUV
As the main objective behind this project was to get many applications for the Creamos programme, it definitely was successful. Moreover, the project engaged many more young Chileans with ideas for their community via voting and general engagement. Down the line, this project shouldn’t be measured only in numbers. The real added value INJUV is giving to millennials, is the fact that they are hosting a programme to empower them to change their communities for the better.