The case of Telšiai

photo taken during a study visit, Telšiai, 27-29 August 2019

Telši, Lithuania

Telšiai city is in the centre of Telšiai County and Telšiai District. . It is in the northwest of Lithuania.

The municipality is a public authority established by the Government of Lithuania. It is divided into 11 elderships. Its major activities cover education, culture, environment, social issues, construction, and sports. The Municipality employs about one hundred people (including teachers, police officers, etc.). It is governed by the Local Council, consisting of 24 members. To date, the Municipality administration has implemented a number of projects financed by different EU funds, including the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund, the Cohesion Fund and other EU programmes. It was a lead partner in at least 5 projects. The value of 70 projects in the last programming period totalled 35 million EUR .

Within the last two years, the Municipality and its Educational Department, in particular, have become leaders in organizing youth involvement events, organizing and mediating discussions between young people and either the municipal administration and/or Local Council members. As a result of numerous meetings, young people and school community have become much more open, brave and pro-active. They suggested ideas, solutions, identified problems which can only be solved by the municipality or other institutions outside their own schools.

the process – a description of undertaken actions

First Round Table discussion, 12 June 2018

The Telšiai Youth Core Group establishment meeting was organized together by Telšiai Municipality (Partner 4) and Samogitia Community Foundation (Partner 3). The meeting was hosted by Telšiai Municipality.

The purpose of the meeting was rather clear, yet pretty ambitious – to present the SB YCGN project, to explain the need for a Youth Core Group in Telšiai and, if possible, to establish one.

At the discussion, young people were asked of their motivation to take part in the YCG, and why he or she should be selected as a core member. Some of them said, they had been active in their daily life and at school or had been involved in NGOs or some volunteer activities, and because of young people in Telšiai, their skills and/or missing skills to better advocate youth on the local level – not only in their communities but also on the municipal level.

Young people also described several cases when they had to talk to Telšiai Municipality Council members, and when they asked for their support: an additional bus to a suburb of Telšiai, where many schoolchildren live and where there was no school bus for their commuting to school; the improved infrastructure of playgrounds and a school sports hall, etc.

First public hearing– 29 August 2019

During study visits to Telsiai, young people and participants of the project had the opportunity to personally hand over the results of the project to the City Mayor.

Second Round Table discussion, 25 September 2019

The purpose of the meeting – to discuss the importance of democratic processes and youth involvement in local government decision-making processes – Local Council meetings, in particular, and to identify some issues that are of critical importance for participants – young people.

The topic of the Round Table discussion was identified in cooperation between several parties – YCGN project representatives, municipality administration, the head of Youth Council and several members of the Local or Municipality Council. The selected topic is pretty general since according to all parties involved in the preparation of the discussion agreed that there was no general understanding of the importance of youth participation in the Council meetings, and not sufficient knowledge among potential participants about Council meeting overall processes.

Young people presented conclusions and recommendations from the round table to decision-makers second public hearing, 15 October 2019.

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