'Largest youth participation event ever' wins ‘Klein Duimpje’ award
‘Debattle’, the largest youth participation event ever organized in Flanders and Brussels, has won this year’s ‘Klein Duimpje’ award. The distinction is awarded yearly by the Flemish Youth Council in recognition of a person or organization’s social contributions for and by children and young people. "Debattle mobilized young people in Flanders in an unprecedented way
In more than 130 cities and towns, youngsters each in their own way, engaged their politicians in debate about the issues they find most important," praised Lander Piccart, a member of the jury.
Karuur vzw, the organization behind Debattle, stimulates involvement and participation of children and young people in local government. One way they do this is by supporting youth councils at the municipal level. In the run-up to the local elections in 2012, ‘debattles’ were held in numerous villages and towns.
Young people were challenged to organize events, to query other youngsters and compile a list of concerns and suggestions to present to local policymakers.
Karuur vzw is currently preparing ‘Debattle Part Two’. “The city council is run by elected officials. But young people still have a responsibility to speak up and let their voices be heard. A solid youth policy is an absolute priority," said Karuur.
The Flemish Youth Council announced the winner of the ‘Klein Duimpje’ award on 12 August – International Youth Day. Past winners include the suicide prevention website Stopzelfdoding.be, former Child Rights Commissioner Ankie van de Kerckhove and the VRT youth project ‘De overname’.