Presentation of the HEBE project to the Direcció General de Joventut de la Generalitat de Catalunya.

On April 24th, at the headquarters of the Direcció General de Joventut of the Departament de Treball Afers Socials i Famílies, the Observatori Català de la Joventut organized a work session with the technical staff of the Agència Catalana de la Joventut around the concept of youth empowerment. The aim was to discuss this concept and the implications of its practical application in work with young people.

The day began with a welcome and initial presentation by Francesc Poch, director general of the Agència Catalana de la Joventut. This was followed by a first presentation by professor Louise B. Jennings, from Colorado State University. Jennings synthesized the work they carry out with their team from the concept of “Critical Youth Empowerment (CYE)” and commented each of the six essential dimensions that base this approach:

1) Provide a safe and welcoming environment.

2) Provide meaningful participation.

3) Provide a power-sharing environment between young people and adults.

4) Establish a commitment to critical reflection on interpersonal and socio-political processes.

5) Participate in socio-political processes that affect change.

6) Integrated empowerment (community and individual).

This was followed by the presentation of the HEBE Project. First, Pere Soler, principal investigator of the project and professor at the UdG, presented the concept of youth empowerment and synthesized the pedagogical model of youth empowerment that has been built from the analysis of the spaces, moments and processes of empowerment that have been formulated. They insisted on the idea of not limiting this process to the development of young people’s personal capacities. The role of public policies must also be considered in a determining way, insofar as the environment, the context, is a limiting or empowering determining agent.

Xavier Úcar, professor at the UAB, continues the presentation of the HEBE Project and presents one of the lines of the research and the design of a rubric that should allow the evaluation of projects and processes of youth empowerment. They present the nine dimensions with which youth empowerment has been materialized and the development of these dimensions in 27 indicators that are rubricated to facilitate their analysis and subsequent assessment by educational teams that want to deepen youth empowerment.

Manel Jiménez, professor at the UPF, ends the presentation of the HEBE Project by presenting the work carried out through the audiovisual pedagogy workshop as an experience of youth empowerment and as a space for the creation of an interactive documentary (webdoc) in which a group of young people share their experience about processes, spaces and moments of empowerment throughout their youth.

At the end of these presentations, a question and debate session is opened in which some doubts are resolved. They continue to deepen the sense that youth policies should have to really aim at empowering young people.