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How can we create a youth-friendly Municipality?

16th January 2024, Loja Ponto JA – Portimão (Portugal)

Youth Community Leaders: Diogo, Sofia Da Costa

Scenario description

Young individuals within the community express a strong desire to actively participate in civic life, yet encounter challenges in doing so:

  • There are few spaces and moments when they can be heard;
  • They have difficulty knowing for sure the competencies of the local authority and also consider them to be too formal;
  • They find it challenging to feel that their proposals are listened to by political decision-makers;
  • There is little information written in a language that appeals to young people.

The Municipality is also experiencing some difficulties because, although they want to include young people in their policies, they have some communication issues and are unable to captivate young people so they become engaged and involved in political decisions.

Community description

Portimão is a city in the Algarve region of southern Portugal. Located by the coast and with a mild climate, it is a city of around 50000 inhabitants who work essentially in hotels, restaurants and other activities linked directly or indirectly to tourism. The resident population is rich in cultural diversity, with a strong presence of communities from African countries, Brazil, Eastern Europe, and a growing Asian community. There has also been a marked increase in digital nomads in the last two or three years.


Fifteen attendees were present, including high school students affiliated with student associations and school newspapers. Additionally, three senior technicians from the Municipality’s Youth Department participated. Notably, a representative from MyPolis, an organization dedicated to promoting youth civic participation, also joined the session.


18:00 Energizer

18:15 Round of presentations

18:30 Explanation of the Participatory Youth Budget:

What it is and how it works

19:00 Brainstorming moment about how youth can participate

in the process

19:30 Presenting the CHLaYdoscope project and

ideas for engaging youth participation

19:50 Evaluation of the session

Tools and/or Methodologies used

Before the Local Lab

Before the Local Lab activity, brainstorming sessions (in person and online) were held with the team of young people to identify the most significant challenges they encountered in the community, as well as possible ways of solving them. After these sessions, the biggest challenge was identified: young people felt that local political decision-makers were uninterested in listening to their problems or the ideas they wanted to put forward.

In addition, since there is still no strong connection between young people and decision-makers, communication between these two groups is not optimal: decision-makers don’t turn up when they are invited to take part in initiatives developed by young people; young people don’t take part in the activities proposed by decision-makers because they aren’t communicated in the best way or don’t respond to the issues that concern them.

During the Local Lab

After an unsuccessful attempt to hold the local lab (canceled because no political decision-maker showed interest in attending the event), the team decided to act differently to make themselves heard. Taking advantage of the existing protocol between DYPALL Network and the Municipality, they decided to ask DYPALL’s help, to support them in presenting their ideas and proposals during one of the initiatives organised by the Municipality, ensuring that decision-makers would hear them.

Thus, the local lab was included in an explanatory session of the participatory youth budget, where young people could present their ideas to improve the community, responding to daily challenges. The fact that the Municipality organized the activity guaranteed the presence of policy decision-makers.


All the young people mentioned their difficulty in getting political decision-makers’ attention. They want to have a more active voice and be involved in creating solutions capable of improving the life of their community, but they feel that they are not heard or that no one takes them seriously.

After the brainstorming moment, the solution found to try to ensure the involvement of young people goes through the creation of a contest for proposals for youth, in which a part of the budget is intended to implement the winning proposals (proposed and voted by young people, according to their needs and challenges).

Tips from the Youth Community Leaders

“First, it is essential to analyse the community to know its strengths and weaknesses. Sometimes, what works in a specific place may not work in your community…so it’s important to know the field and its inhabitants.

Then, remember that partnerships are essential. If you feel policy-makers can´t hear you, seek help from local youth associations, who can help you make yourself heard.

Above all, never give up…even if things don’t go well on the first try, even if not many people appear in the first events. Being persistent is the key and gradually you will see things starting to change.”

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