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About Public Policies for Youth – Developing a Youth Program

2020/2021 Development of the Youth Program of the Primorsko-goranska County

November 2020

What have we cooked so far? We’re wondering what young people think about all this? Do they care? Are they informed? What do they care about? We care about youth! Contact us so we can include you!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/istrazivanjeipotpora/?modal=suggested_action&notif_id=1605509075764339&notif_t=page_user_activity&ref=notif


E-mail: [email protected]

In order to make it easier to follow the development of the “Youth Program of PGC”, several years ago we wrote a Handbook for the development of the practice of democratic dialogue between young people and decision makers within the ERASMUS+ project in which we were expert associates. What we should do and what we will do depends on young people and key stakeholders, so as their active involvement in the drafting process itself and its subsequent implementation. You can read more about this in: https://umki.hr/wp/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/umki-publikacije-nekaselokalniglasovicuju2015.pdf

Slowly, we are creating cube-by-cube of “mosaic of needs, possibilities and challenges of young people” or “youth community map”. The basis for youth involvement are also some of EU strategic documents such as:

European charter on local youth work: https://www.mobilnost.hr/cms_files/2020/10/1602836315_20191025-bilingual-booklet-hr-final-a5-format.pdf 

The European Union Youth Strategy 2019-2027: https://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/ST-14080-2018-INIT/en/pdf

According to the Draft of National Youth Program, which hasn’t yet been adopted, the priority areas for action for young people, the tools for successful action and the priority groups of young people are:

Areas of activity: Education, science and lifelong learning; Employment and entrepreneurship; Health and Sports; Social Inclusion

Tools for active action: Active participation of young people and sustainable community development; Working with young people

Priority groups: Young people in rural areas

Priority direction: Young people in the European and global environment.


What have we cooked?

1. We’ve collected sociodemographic data on the young people of our county.

2. We’ve analyzed most of the strategic documents of all local self-government in the area of PGC so we could find what has been planned for young people so far. Our youth strategy/program has to be aligned with all strategies because only in this way can decision-makers and key stakeholders recognize their role in change and take responsibility for the implementations of existing measures.

3. We’ve asked all local self-governments to provide us with data on investments in young people so we could form a “budget for youth of PGC” and thus clearly and transparentl< show young people how difficult or easy it is to invest in youth on local and regional level. Within 14 days, they provide us with data on investments from the following valuable local self-governments units: the Municipality of Matulji, the City of Opatija and the City of Delnice. The others? Primorsko-goranska County includes 14 cities and 22 municipalities and 510 settlements within cities and municipalities. We’re asking you to cooperate because the results of this step are very important, as for informing young people, so as for changes in the perception of investing in young people.

4. In addition, once all local self-governments have submitted data, they will have the opportunity to fill out a self-assessment form on investing in young people, which they will receive at their e-mail addresses: Tool for self-assessment for youth policies: https://rm.coe.int/self-assessment-tool-for-youth-policy-croatian/1680971cc5

5. We sent a request for the submission of data on young people in the field of social policy, so we sent a request to all Centers for Social Welfare and their branches for the submission of data. Thanks to the Center for Social Welfare Rijeka for the speed of delivery. And others? Please provide us those information as soon as possible – we have set a deadline because without you information we can not proceed.

6. The Teaching Institute for Public Health of the Primorsko-Goranska County, Department of Social Medicine, literally immediately provided us with data on the morbidity of young people, despite the greatest burden that all employees of that institution have due to the epidemic. Thus, we learned that mental illness “jumped” into the second most frequent category of illnesses that were recorded (meaning that young people were involved in clinical treatment), after injuries that always come first.

7. We have started interviews with professionals working with young people to cover as many different issues and opportunities that these key stakeholders face. We had meetings through the ZOOM platform with the University Counseling Center (https://www.ssc.uniri.hr/hr/), and with all Offices: Psychological Counseling, the Office for Students with Disabilities and the Office for Careers. With this, we started topics and problems that we still have to discuss, for the student population of young people, and we scratched in several areas: mental health, the right to equal opportunities in higher education and employment. Thanks a lot to colleagues from these three offices.

8. What else? Now we have to collect data and to involve other key stakeholders, especially professionals that work with young people, whether they are government agencies or other institutions or civil society organizations. Civil society organizations or non-institutional support in various sectors of youth action are extremely important for young people. Therefore, we will examine the capacity and readiness of civil society organizations for the implementation of youth programs and the attitudes of people who work with young people (youth workers).

9. Through all these phases of data collection, we have other goals besides the data collection itself. Our goal is to activate and involve all stakeholders and young people and, informally, educate them about the need for dialogue with young people in decision-making.


Creating a program for young people is a special challenge, especially now when:

  1. We are all living on the “edge” or in some new models of reality, so we have differentiated ourselves, we have daily struggles with various new challenges because of epidemic, including decision-makers and everyone who implements youth programs, especially young people. Therefore, the main “apology” for the majority (key stakeholders in creating public policies for young people), to whom we have submitted a call for data that are being late, is that they do not have enough resources due to illness. But even that data is data.
  2. We are not able, as planned, to organize meetings with young people “live” because we put at risk both young people and us who work with young people
  3. According to previous communication with key stakeholders, but also young people, most “complain that there is not enough time because they are constantly online.

October 2020 PFY PGC

Creating strategies/youth programs is a process through which we’re going to in, an objective way (evidence based policy), find out more about young people, but it is also the opportunity to inform, educate for active citizenship and activate young people, but also key stakeholders and decision-makers for program implementation. Youth program we’ll be aligned with national, regional, local, but also EU public youth policies.

More in: https://ec.europa.eu/youth/policy/youth-strategy_en and https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/HR/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:52018DC0269&from=en.

The plan to continue the research for the “youth community map” is to develop a “user friendly budget report for youth” and to examine the capacity of key stakeholders (especially youth associations and for youth, and other organized forms of youth action) to implement youth programs.

We are preparing activities that will, using several methods of data collection, analyze these areas. So far, we have collected sociodemographic data and analyzed documents from which public policies for young people are read.

1.What are the public policies for and towards young people at the national, regional or local level is evident in youth investments, funded by programs accepted in the budget! In order for young people to know in which direction the “winds are blowing” and how policies relate to the “generations on which the world rests”, it is necessary to, in transparent and objective way, present the investments of cities, municipalities and counties in youth. For this purpose, we collect data from cities and municipalities on investments for young people, by areas of activity for young people.

We have prepared forms for local self-government units in the Primorsko-goranska County, which we are now sending to collect data.

2. In order for the youth program to be successfully implemented in the community and to be effective, a synergy of all stakeholders in the community is needed – public policies, key stakeholders and youth activation. Capacity to implement the program and their willingness to actively participate in program implementation of organized forms of youth activities (associations, youth councils, student councils, youth of political parties and religious communities or youth initiatives) and key stakeholders, that work with young people (institutions, etc.), is an extremely important factor in program effectiveness. Therefore, we examine these dimensions as well and prepare a structured interview protocol and/or a questionnaire for these stakeholders in order to collect data on their capacity and readiness to implement the program.

3. After collecting all this data and analyzing socio-demographic data on youth, so as all existing strategies and documents from which the direction of public policies for youth is visible, we will single out priority strategic areas for action for young people, burning problems and opportunities/potentials and solutions, and then we’ll discuss it with young people and key stakeholders. Their view of these elements will lead us to goals and measures to improve public policies. After that, we again involve all stakeholders but also decision makers in order to use a coordinated method of communication or structured dialogue to come up with new solutions and we repeat this several times in the field and online. 

September 2020

After applying in the public procurement, we were selected as the best bidder, so the development and preparation for the development of a program for youth in Primorsko-goranska county (later in text: PGC) began immediately.

The direct team which develops the program according to the already testes, but adjusted structure of young people in PGC, includes:

  • Bernard Šešo, psych. – employer in DIP, head of data analysis, workshops for young people and others
  • Sanja Crnković – member in DIP, head of statistical collection data, graphic processing, etc.
  • Marta Berčić, prof. soc. – project manager and employer in DIP


Young people, members of the Youth Council of PGC, who initiated the development of the program, and Primorsko-goranska County, are directly involved in the development, and during the development we will include volunteers, key stakeholders (associations, institutions and other organizations that have youth programs in their programs), young people from different forms of youth action and other young people who want to contribute to the improvement of the position of youth.

The development of youth program is a process during which we’ll approach young people so that we could find the best measures to improve their lives, and it is a mosaic of professional knowledge and active participation of young people in deciding about subjects that concern them. The goals will be aligned with 11 goals of the EU Youth Strategy 2019 to 2027:

Connecting EU with Youth

Equality of All Genders

Inclusive Societies

Information & Constructive Dialogue

Mental Health & Wellbeing

Moving Rural Youth Forward

Quality Employment for All

Quality Learning

Space and Participation for All

Sustainable Green Europe

Youth Organizations & European Programs – EU with youth – youth organizations and youth programs


It takes place in the phases that we started on September 29, 2020:

1. Collection of socio-demographic data on young people (Sanja) (end of September 2020)

2. Preparation for the communication campaign:

  • meetings with SM PGC: September 30. meeting with SM PGC; October 2 2020 presentation of the program at the Coordination of SM from PGC (Marčelji)
  • media appearances – continuous (See: https://dip.hr/program-za-mlade/)

3. Adaptation of the protocol for interviews with organized forms of youth activities (associations) (beginning of October 2020)

4. Development and adaptation of forms for the development of the budget for young people: referral to all local governments (beginning of October 2020)

5. Communication with JLS and SM (continuous)

6. Field work – tour of local self-government in order to inform young people and start implementation and announce the event:

  • Municipality of Lopar and the City of Rab, October 8 2020

7. First cycle of structured dialogue with young people (open method of coordination in the youth field) workshops/public forums, working groups

8. Second cycle of structured dialogue with young people – analysis of achieved opportunities, solutions and benefits for all units (cities and municipalities)

9. Third cycle of structured dialogue with young people – proposals, critiques and analysis of proposed measures and indicators for monitoring

10. Public consultation of the interested public

11. Acceptance at the Assembly of PGC

12. Development of action plans


If you are a person working for young people or you are a young person, let us know! Do you need support in advocating for youth interests or how to negotiate with decision makers, how to create a youth council work program, how to create an action plan from a youth program/strategy, any advice on employment, choosing a school and studies, if you don’t know what to do … contact us! We have a lot of experience in this field.

Our program manager has developed several youth manuals with exactly these topics, and we have a lot of experience in various youth programs. Some of the manuals that our facilitator wrote right after the youth projects were completed are:

Priručnik za mlade. Mladi u zajednici bez barijera or nekaselokalniglasovicuju2015.finalezaweb

It includes all programs and projects in which we participate as holders, partners or professional associates, participants or initiators of activities that advocate for the interests of young people of all groups of these population at risk and population full of potential. Within this program, we have been present for years in the development of strategies for young people for which we develop the methodology, lead public forums, analyze data on youth (desk research), conduct research, but also propose (write) the text of the strategy as a result of our research and analyzed youth needs and structured dialogue with decision makers and key stakeholders.

Currently, we’re working on development of the national youth program that we have been waiting for many years: https://esavjetovanja.gov.hr/ECon/MainScreen?entityId=13290

That is how we developed many youth programs for local and regional self-governments units, and while creating some, we’ve also participated in order to represent different groups of young people.

2017/2018 Regional program for the Youth of the Istrian County

The project “Regional Program for the Youth of the Istrian County” is implemented by the Istrian County in partnership with the Youth Association and Alumni FET from Pula (https://www.alumni-fet-drmijomirkovic.hr/regionalni-program-za-mlade-istarske-zupanije/), and the Youth Association Alfa Albona from Labin (http: //www.alfa-albona.hr/regionalni-program-za-mlade/), and it was created on the initiative of the Istrian County Youth Council. The project is funded by grants from the Ministry of Demography, Family, Youth and Social Policy, in the amount of HRK 52,500.00, and by funds from the Budget of the Istrian County in the amount of HRK 57,500.00.

The development of the program was initiated by the Youth Council of the Istrian County (IC) and more than 500 young people, cities and municipalities of IC, educational and other institutions that work with young people in their programs participated in the development of the program. Several public forums were held organized by areas of action for young people, and the results of the research were under consideration in most youth associations and associations for youth. The experience we had in working with young people was invaluable and enriched our work, and several young people from partner associations and independent young people interested in analysis and research on young people participated in the development.

At the session of the Assembly of the Istrian County, the Regional Program for the Youth of the Istrian County was adopted: https://www.istra-istria.hr/fileadmin/dokumenti/novosti/sjednice_skupstine_2017/10/10-08-Regionalni_program_mladi.pdf.

Further: https://www.facebook.com/rpmiz/

Bellow are link to some of the publications in the media that followed the development of this program:

2016/2017 Local Program for the Youth of the City of Labin

Based on data collected from more than 400 documents and other sources through almost 1 year, using qualitative and quantitative methods, in the process of analyzing the problems and needs of young people in Labin, bellow are the basic guidelines for policy development for young people in Labin. The conclusions drawn from the results of the analyzes are presented, and the purpose of the proposed measures is to plan long-term improvement and change of the social position of young people in Labin, with emphasis on active involvement of all stakeholders, especially young people. In order to ensure monitoring of implementation, indicators for monitoring (implementation) and performance (results) are defined, and in total they form the basic guidelines for the development of action implementation plans.

More about here:

The project holder is the City of Labin, and a partner is Youth Association Alfa Albona, while DIP has developed a methodology, organized public forums and other ways of structured dialogue with young people.

See more: https://www.alfa-albona.hr/lokalni-program-za-mlade-grada-labina-na-javnoj-raspravi-do-17-srpnja-2015/https://radiolabin.hr/news_details.php?id=398 


DIP on projects in the field of NEET groups – finances from EU fonds:







Youth centers fit for NEET, professional associate of DIP on ERASMUS+KA2 project, strategic partnership for youth

  • Project “Informative youth centers suitable for NEET” is financed from EU ERASMUS+ program (KA2 through National agency for European educational programs and mobility), and it was led by Coalition of Youth Organizations SEGA from Macedonia, Regional Youth Info Center Rijeka from Croatia and Stowarzyszenie Edukacja via the Internet from Poland. The aim of this projects is to work on innovative approach in identifying role models for informing young people about the needs of the people in NEET situation. Prevention should be a priority in order to avoid increasing the number of young people coming into the NEET situation and breaking the intergenerational circle of social exclusion. A proactive approach to young organizations is needed to ensure early intervention to avoid young people getting into a NEET situation. By strengthening the capacity of youth organizations, youth work and other forms of inclusion, we’ll ensure the use of their potential to encourage the social inclusion of young people in NEET situation. To promote and to increase the availability of vocational counseling and guidance tailored to the needs of socially excluded young people at all staged of their lives. Through TOT, young workers will be introduces with new approach to informing young NEETs. An online tool for young people has also been developed through the project.
  • The role of DIP was to conduct a research about young people in NEET situation, analyze the normative framework of public policies for youth in this area and to prepare the results of the research for the final conference for youth in Rijeka.
  • https://www.facebook.com/YICfittoNEET
  • https://www.facebook.com/YICfittoNEET/videos/498558227301801/
  • https://www.facebook.com/YICfittoNEET/videos/490265334799901/



We are expert associates on the project “The Power of Tolerance – Prevention of Corruption and Violence in Sports”. It is implemented by the Regional Youth Info Center, Youth Association Step Ahead, in cooperation with Transparency International Croatia and the Society for Research and Support (DIP) and with the support of the Ministry of Social Policy and Youth Of the Republic of Croatia, the Office for Human Rights and the Rights of National Minorities, the Government of the Republic of Croatia – development of research methodology, preparation of materials, data analysis, writing reports and recommendations, and preparation of publications.



We were expert associates on the EU project “Adriatic Youth Idea”, IPA program (HR-SI) – activity leader “Methodology of development and development of a local action program for young people of the City of Poreč” (data collection, capacity analysis of civil society organizations (questionnaire), preparation materials for workshops (focus groups) with relevant stakeholders, preparation of public hearings, analysis of collected data, preparation of the draft Youth Program of the City of Poreč).


Development of a methodology for data collection and implementation of the “Local Youth Program” for the City of Poreč, EU project “Adriatic Youth Centers” (youth networking and inclusion), partners Slovenia, Croatia; member of the expert team for youth policy making.

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