Acceptance of the trainer’s work as a civic engagement doingAcknowledges and asserts the fact that working as a trainer is an engaged civic actBeing civically engagedConnecting [youth] policies and educational programsDemonstrates the ‘political’ dimension(s) of the work

Unpacking civic engagement

This is a video that explains in short the concept of civic engagement, the actions you can take to be civically engaged and how does it benefits you if you are civically engaged.

Civic engagement is active participation in the public life in the community and it means that your actions are informed, committed and constructive, and they benefit the community. The video stresses the importance of the “community” as the center of civic engagement. It also mentions the reciprocal relationship with your community i.e. what do you gain from your community and what do you contribute with?

The examples of possible ways to be civically engaged, shown in the video are:

  1. To volunteer and to serve in the local community, NGO, Governmental agency or public school;
  2. Service-learning or academic-based research that addresses community issues;
  3. Learn about issues that are important to you and advocate for policies that affect those issues;
  4. Vote on elections for the representatives that represent your values and the public interest;

These are only a few of the forms that you can be civically engaged. The video also shows that civic engagement and academic achievement are linked. Young people that are civically engaged have higher grades and are more likely to pass exams and to stay in school. They also have more confidence and faith that they can overcome a difficulty. Young people that are civically engaged have a larger social network and greater social support. They also have a higher appreciation of diversity and a sense of belonging. Lastly, young people that are civically engaged have a higher sense of identity, meaning, direction and purpose.

Why did I choose this tool?

This tool is a simple way for beginners and young people to understand civic engagement as a concept. It doesn’t only give them examples of actions, but also links the civic engagement to the academic achievement of the students, and also asks questions for reflection. It is short but it gives relevant insight into civic engagement.

Suggested Reflection Questions

What are your reflections as a trainer? Do you recognize your role as a trainer, as a civic engagement act? Where do you see your role in the civic engagement in your local community? How often do you talk with young people about civic engagement in their community?

Take few moments to think about the community in which you belong. The community you are in can be your family, friends, neighborhood, a student club etc. Are you taking any action in that community?

What do you think it can be improved in those communities?

What actions can you take to make a difference?

Other Ways to Practice

You can use this video to reflect on your own civic engagement, or you can use it with a larger group of people. All information and questions asked in the video are useful to work with a group of young people and to guide them in their process of learning and personal discovery on civic engagement topics.

Exercise:

Use this video with a group to reflect about the ways of their participation. Discuss and identify which of the actions were political or non-political (refer to this article: https://www.trainerslibrary.org/political-vs-non-political-civic-acts/)

Antonio Jovanovski

Antonio Jovanovski has extensive experience of training and facilitating diverse groups all over Europe. His training and facilitating experience started during his AIESEC years (www.aiesec.org) where he served as President of AIESEC in N. Macedonia and France. Currently, he is a director of a youth environmental NGO (www.gogreen.mk) where he works on the topics of climate change, youth eco-activism, greening of economy, greening of education and jobs. He is also a member of the Pool of trainers of [email protected] partnership on employability and entrepreneurship (www.youthatworkpartnership.org)

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Unpacking "Civic Engagement"

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