The board game to change Europe?
Structured dialogue was expected to be the way of expressing opinion concerning the current issues of young people, by the youth themselves. Every 18 months, the current presidency of the European Union establishes a subject that is passed to the Dialogue’s regional consultant. The data is gathered and the final results are presented during the European Youth Conference.
Many surveys are created with questions that are hardly understandable by the young people. Questions reach a small group of people and the conclusions are often made on the basis of short or limited amount of people being tested or questioned. The solution is easy. If the Dialogue is to be suitable for the youth, the questions should then be in an appropriate form.
The way to figure it out
The same problem was noticed by the Dialogue consultants from Krakow. Barbara Moś, the representative of Europe4Youth Society that is in charge of Dialogue in Malopolska, describes the problem they are dealing with: “As usual in the case of the EU, the questions aren’t simple. For instance – how do you see the role of work with the youth in its empower to the participation in democracy? These types of questions require understanding and elementary knowledge. Conversations in this form are non-effective, non-interesting and boring”.
Europe4youth Society, the project authors of the Malopolski Dialog Mlodziezy invited the youth to work on a common and totally new tool. Together they designed “FigureITout” – a board game in which the players suggest solutions to social problems that are the focus of interest of the EU.
“FigureITout” consists of 14 problems to solve: from the emigration of young people, discrimination of women in the labour market, to youth radicalisation. Each game undertakes one problem – obviously you can’t deal with all of them at once. The game is intended for groups consisting of at least 20 persons, that are divided into smaller groups. Each sub-group has a task to find a final solution to a given problem. During the game, players acquire so-called “sector cards” they might find useful. They present how suggested solutions may be beneficial to the business representatives, social organisations and educational systems. Players may also use the “library cards” that provide more information of the given problem, while other cards allow them to see the current progress of the opposing group. The final solution should satisfy the representatives in the highest possible number of sectors.
The games are currently being held by volunteers in upper-secondary schools of Malopolska during the physical education or social studies lessons. Informal groups of youth are also invited to participate in the game. A crucial fact is that the game is free of charge and the consultants are present in the place where the game takes place.
The idea of the game appears to tickle the youth’s fancy. “The game was really great” say the students of a gymnasium in Sułoszowa.
It is not just a board game
The game is not finished yet. The solution suggested by the players is saved on tablets, and the information goes to the consultants of the Structured Dialogue. What happens next?
“The organisers draw results for the needs of the national report on the Structured Dialogue that are going to be transmitted to the European Youth Conference. As a result, Europe-wide youth recommendations are being created and passed to the Council of the European Union” – Barbara Moś emphasises. Final results are achieved from both local and European level straight from the school classes:
“The results are publicly available at www.rozgryzto.pl. The youth councils, self-governments or schools can use them in the local dialogue with local government” – adds the consultant.
Solutions through education and fun
The youth were really involved in the game and not only because “FigureITout” takes place during the scheldued school tests. Teachers value the project because it shows the youth how to work in groups and the problems that concern the subjects are also broached during lessons.
“Our students are very satisfied with the game, they volunteered to participate in it. We, the teachers were watching the game inquisitively” – says one of the teachers in Sułoszowa gymnasium.
It looks like the Dialogue, at least in Malopolska, has been bridled.