The Youth Empowerment and Innovation Project (YEIP) was led by young people from across Europe. It adopted a youth-led methodology by genuinely empowering youth in all participating countries to become peer researchers and guide, scrutinise and evaluate the project. A key feature of the project’s youth-led methodology was its standing Youth Advisory Board (YAB).

In particular, a team of young volunteers aged 18 – 26 from different backgrounds and circumstances were recruited and trained to lead on the project. The young volunteers were selected based on their prior knowledge or direct experience of issues and challenges faced by their peers, while they were able to demonstrate examples of them being interested in making a positive change for others. It was important that YEIP avoided replicating similar studies on online violent youth radicalisation. In the end, a total of 10 young people comprising the Youth Advisory Board (YAB) were directly involved in the research and project.

As one member said:

“YAB represents an innovative and extremely productive system of youth participation within social and cultural development. The built bilateral collaboration between institutionalised research and young passionate people is a unique way to break the walls of academic elitism, and therefore, it constitutes to a stronger and more aware strategy to deepen the contemporary issue of violent youth radicalisation. YEIP is a revolutionary project, which involves the core of the analysed social target group – young people – as direct and active promoters for change”.

The YAB supported desk-based research and fieldwork development. Moreover, they led the organisation and delivery of policy seminars attended by representatives of public authorities in all project countries, organised focus groups and supported the national research teams to conduct research in Universities, schools, youth offenders institutions and online. As co-evaluators, they also led in the quality assurance of all the materials designed in the framework of the project, addressed to young people.
Last, the YAB took the lead in developing YEIP’s brand identity and communications strategy, co-designing awareness campaigns and audiovisual material for young people.

Another YAB member said:

We are delighted to be involved in this important pan-european project. As a group of young people who are passionate about making a difference in the society, we will ensure that YEIP’s outcomes will be shaped by the voices of our peers. We want prevention policies to reach out to young people effectively, engage them in dialogue, foster mutual trust, restore their faith in democratic institutions and values.