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Primary School Students as Participation Coordinators? It is Possible

The pilot programme in Odolena Voda, which is part of the Visegrad Youth Participates project, aims to promote active citizenship and the principles of civil society among young people. We are working on the Visegrad Youth Participates project together with our Polish partners Fundacja Pole Dialogu and our Hungarian partners Alternatív Közösségek Egyesülete and share our experience with school participatory budgeting and youth participation. As a part of the project, our team prepared a project day to provide participating students with relevant interactive capacity building. How did this day, where a team made up of primary school students tried to run their first participatory meeting, go? 

Students from the sixth to the ninth grade of the primary school in Odolena Voda have the opportunity to design and select projects to be implemented in their school. However, the school participatory budgeting is just the beginning. A voluntary group of students has been formed at the school and will also lead a participatory process at the city level. The selected student participation coordinators are now going through some basic training sessions, during which they will learn to lead and check in the whole participatory process under the supervision of Participation Factory.

During the online training sessions, which take place every week, the students learn, among other things, how to plan a participatory process, work with digital tools for participatory planning, create and evaluate a survey, and develop a communication strategy. Facilitation plays an important role in the participatory process and the team of young coordinators experienced this first-hand during the project day. 

How did the project day actually go? First, we reviewed the basics from the previous online training and moved on to the lesson on facilitation. After a theoretical introduction, the girls practically tried out several icebreakers and other methods. In the second half of the project day, we were joined by the local school parliament, which became the first focus group of the planned youth-oriented participatory process called Lepší Odolka. The student coordinators were immediately able to put the skills they had acquired to the test.

The project team chose icebreakers and participatory methods, prepared tools and divided roles. The students successfully managed the facilitation of the meeting and the data collection. At the end of the meeting, the city leadership arrived and the students had an opportunity to talk directly to the Mayor and Vice-Mayor of Odolena Voda. 

Now the project team is already preparing for the next participatory meeting with their classmates at the primary school and with the citizens of Odolena Voda. 


Are you also thinking about involving youth in the planning processes in your municipality? Do you want to start with participation but don’t know how to do it? Contact us at info@participationfactory.com!