Summit for Democracy Youth Cohort Launches Handbook to Inspire Participation to Strengthen Democracy

The handbook equips governments with ideas how to increase youth participation and provides inspiration for youth activists

San Jose, Costa Rica – With 50% of the world population under 30, global democracy’s survival heavily relies on youth support. However, many young people disengage from political and civic life after experiencing politics as inaccessible. In response to this challenge, the Youth Democracy Cohort – part of the Summit for Democracy’s Year of Action – has introduced the Youth Participation Handbook composed by the European Democracy Youth Network (EDYN) in cooperation with the European Partnership for Democracy (EPD) on the occasion of the Summit for Democracy. The Handbook is supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the European Commission, the International Republican Institute (IRI), the National Democratic Institute (NDI), and European Partnership for Democracy. It guides and inspires youth organizations and democracy advocates to empower young voices in democratic processes.

The Handbook contains 25 case studies from governments, intergovernmental organizations, and civil society across 30 countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Europe. The case studies showcase best practices on how to effectively drive youth political and civic engagement across different countries, socio-political contexts, economic conditions, and local needs. 

“The Handbook is an invitation for collaboration among youth organizations and aims to demonstrate youth’s potential and competence to drive change despite being underrepresented in decision-making. It provides examples and inspiration that can be replicated by other young democracy advocates who strive for a more inclusive, effective, and equitable democracy,” says Daryna Onyshko, EDYN President. She emphasizes that youth want to contribute to justice, prosperity, and peace within an enhanced intergenerational dialogue.

The Handbook also identifies key enabling factors that foster successful youth participation in politics and public life. Innovative policy solutions, in line with young people’s creativity, are crucial for creating an environment that empowers the active involvement of youth in public affairs. Evidence-based policies, interventions, and structures identified in the Handbook offer good practice for democratic governments seeking to overcome barriers to meaningful youth participation.

According to Jutta Urpilainen, EU Commissioner for International Partnerships, “This Handbook is not only a working tool to inspire new projects, it is above all a note of hope for democracy.”

Ellen Leafstedt, European Partnership for Democracy, the co-writer of the Handbook adds, that “The Handbook contains many examples of creative energy, which young people already have and often want an outlet to express, harnessed to inspire youth participation in democracy. With this deliverable for the Summit for Democracy, we are excited to showcase the full range of really inspiring stories of how governments, civil society organizations and democracy movements have helped make democracy work better for youth.”

The Youth Democracy Cohort of the Summit for Democracy is devised as an inclusive platform to take meaningful action toward implementing Summit for Democracy commitments on youth political and civic engagement through resources, expertise, research, activities, and achievements. The cohort is co-led by the European Commission, the Government of Ghana, the Government of Nepal, the Government of Costa Rica, the European Partnership for Democracy, the European Democracy Youth Network, Africtivistes and International IDEA. They have been joined by dozens of organizations throughout the world to work together for youth empowerment and inclusion.

For more information about the Youth Democracy Cohort and the Summit for Democracy’s Year of Action, please visit


European Democracy Youth Network

Štefánikova 6/A, 811 05 Bratislava 

+421 903932358

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