Active Citizenship through innovations: EYP events in 2021

The “Power Shifts – Reflecting Europe’s Energy” Project encourages #YoungEurope to explore and discuss European energy policy. By taking part in the project’s activities, participants learn ways of engaging and fostering the debate on energy in their communities, from a local up to the European level.

Each year, many #EYP volunteers organise events under the framework of the #PowerShifts project, through which they are able to innovate and experiment with new formats for our events. A number of such events took place in 2021 that introduced EYP to new innovative formats and brought together hundreds of young people to discuss energy policy through various domains and by doing so to strengthen active citizenship spirit of EYP.

Meet Marthe (NO), Njall (NO), Stefanos (CY) and Beka (GE) who helped make these events happen in their countries, engaging local communities as well as the entire #EYP network!

1. Please explain your project/event, and the innovations you brought with it.

Marthe & Njall: We were so lucky to organise the first physical session of EYP Norway since the pandemic started. With our event’s theme being innovation and sustainability, we tried to innovate in every aspect, with the highlight being our evening activity Innovation Hub, where we invited stakeholders in business to directly engage with the participants, explaining their plans for adapting to a green future, and to draw knowledge from one another. The pandemic also forced us to think outside the box at every step of the event’s programme and to ensure everyone’s safety and health – something we believed we succeeded in!

Stefanos: EYP Cyprus organised a think tank to discuss the issue of energy and decarbonisation specifically in Cyprus.

Participants were able to dive deep into the issue and analyse Cyprus’ National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP) and at the same time hold multiple discussions with experts around the issue. This new, innovative format allows participants to fully grasp the issue at hand through both their own work and discussions with experts, before attempting to put forth their recommendations.

Beka: Roundtable on Climate Change – #EYPinAction was an event that gathered active citizens from across #YoungEurope. both physically and digitally with the purpose of rethinking the main challenges in the field of climate and energy.

2. How do you think experimenting with innovative formats helps EYP develop?

Marthe & Njall: Experimenting with new formats is something that maintains EYP as an organic and constantly developing organisation. In order to keep up with our ever changing world, we need to keep up and try out different ways to do things so as not to stagnate. We also believe that not doing what has always been done can make EYP events more interesting, and potentially inspire more people to take part in what we do.

Stefanos: Experimenting with such innovative formats helps us create better, more effective and impactful events in which participants’ work truly provides a unique and new opportunity for education and growth. Through these innovative formats, we get to develop our ideas which can then be used in both “traditional” events as well as other new, bolder and more impactful ones.

Beka: On the first day of the roundtable, activists discussed various topics in workgroups, as for the second day they have cleaned polluted environment.

3. What would be your message to the other project managers who are inspired to try innovative projects?

Marthe & Njall: Definitely go for it! If you have a vision for a project that could change the way we experience EYP events for the better, big or small, why not try it out? You can create something great! But even if it fails, don’t worry – there is always wisdom and lessons to be learned from every experience, and having been project managers ourselves, we know that there is no better place to fail than in the EYP.

Stefanos: Trying something new is never easy – but think about why you are organising your project, what participants’ aims are and try to find new ways to reach them!

Beka: This kind of innovative format helps EYP to explore new perspectives and become part of an actual change. For the future, I would encourage other EYPers to challenge their creativity and shape the EYP event in as much innovative format as possible to make our experiences more interesting and diverse.