Rural Youth Project EYCA Youth Panel

rural youth phot canva1

Rural Youth represent a key demographic in the European landscape. Generally less engaged in youth programmes and projects than their urban counterparts, there is a need to build on already existing opportunities and identify new areas of action.

In this light, the EYCA Youth Panel has launched the Rural Youth Project – a year-long initiative that aims to answer the question “How can EYCA’s youth services better respond to the needs of rural youth?”. The ultimate purpose is to produce a roadmap for EYCA members (and other youth organisations) to better engage with rural youth. The method to reach this? Listening to & engaging with rural youth.

The Rural Youth Project is shaped around three phases: 



1. Surveys for EYCA members & rural youth 

In order to get a sense of EYCA’s current level of engagement in rural areas, in terms of programmes and discounts, a survey has been sent to EYCA members. From initial results, the level of engagement is very different across EYCA’s diverse membership, with local demographical trends being an important component.  

Likewise, a different survey gathered responses from 1700 young people in rural areas across 17 countries. The objective here is to understand the challenges they face, the actions they hold more importance for and their level of engagement in civic programmes and projects (that aren’t necessarily linked to EYCA). Once fully analysed, the data should indicate why some areas might be more prone to effective participation than others.

This quantitative data will feed into an initial report (end of Phase 1) that will steer the subsequent actions of this project.

2. Actions in rural areas 

In the autumn of 2023, the members of the EYCA Youth Panel will organise a series of events focussed on rural youth. Held in 11 different European countries, the ambition is for the Youth Panel to get a personal feeling as to what opportunities and barriers impact young people in rural areas. With a variety of formats, these events should reach a significant diversity of participants.

This qualitative data will also be integrated into the Phase 1 report to shape the rest of the project.



1. Social media campaigning

EYCA’s online networks will be used to collect ideas as to what services would be appreciated in rural areas. In addition to being integrated into the final roadmap and potentially implemented by EYCA’s members, these ideas will also be useful for competent authorities on the local and European levels.

2. Policy-level / experts’ event

An event will be organised to hear the views and feedback from EU decision-makers and experts. This will be an opportunity to present the findings from Phase 1 and include the suggestions from the participants to better shape the final roadmap.

Given the proximity to the European elections, this event will also serve as a reminder to European entities of the importance of engaging with rural youth.



1. EYCA Rural Youth Camp

The EYCA Youth Panel will organise a week-long camp (most likely in a rural village in Andalucía, Spain) to which 50 young people from rural areas across Europe will be invited. 

The primary purpose of this camp is to reflect on the information gathered in the previous phases and shape it into a workable roadmap for EYCA member organisations (and other youth organisations). The first-hand knowledge of the participants will be instrumental in producing a roadmap that allows for actions that effectively deliver on the needs of rural youth.

A second benefit of organising this camp in a rural area and for rural people will be to highlight the value of holding such initiatives outside of traditional templates.

2. Presenting the roadmap to EYCA members (and other organisations)

The final roadmap will be presented to EYCA member organisations during the EYCA Conference in June 2024. The EYCA members will then be able to integrate the ideas identified in the roadmap into their own strategies. 

In addition, the ambition is to make this roadmap public and share it with relevant youth organisations and public entities, to the project’s increase the reach and impact.

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