My first steps in political dialogue: What will remain?

What remains of this initiative at the end of the project? Immerse ourselves in political dialogue – this was the first project of this kind for us and for Tramonti.

Tramonti on the road to participation?

For the project coordinators it was very enlightening. The main tangible results come from the results of the Youth Survey and the results of the Youth Conference.

The Youth Survey – How young people in Tramonti live

As this is the first survey of this kind, there are no similar results to compare with other contexts. At the time of drafting the project, we had three hypotheses about the current situation of young people in Tramonti, which will be answered here.

  • Young people have few places to meet their friends (they mainly meet at their or their parents’ homes).

We see this hypothesis confirmed. Young people mainly meet outside, in a bar or restaurant, or at their friends’ homes. Furthermore, 65% say they have few activities for their free time. When asked in more detail, they mention as the first space places for young people or a youth center, structured cultural experiences and activities, and more shops, bars, or restaurants. This strongly confirms our personal observation of the city, that there are few spaces and activities dedicated to young people, and the options they have are few.

  • Tramonti does not satisfy all the needs of young people (most of them intend to leave the city when they grow up to study, work, and live).

This hypothesis is perhaps the best-known in Tramonti. The results of this survey partially confirm this hypothesis. About 38% of young people intend to stay in the city in the next 5 years, while 62% intend to leave the city or are not yet sure if they intend to do so in the next 5 years. In this case, we must consider that more than half of the respondents were 12 or 13 years old, and the next 5 years include only the period of life up to the end of high school, when they will be 18 years old. As expected, this number is much higher among the age group between 19 and 35 years old. While young people can still attend university and commute from Tramonti, many of them will leave the city due to the lack of job opportunities diversity (the most cited reason for leaving the city, followed by university and leisure activities). The main reasons for staying in Tramonti are proximity to nature and family and friends.

This lack of representation is reinforced by the fact that young people feel they do not trust adults in general and even less politicians in particular (> 50% vs. > 15%) and that they associate Acarbio more with the defense of their interests (> 80%) than with the municipality (> 60%) (see 3.2.2 and 3.4).

  • Young people do not (yet) participate in democratic life (most of them).

This question offers the most peculiar results of the survey. A good number of young people participate in political life through discussions in their personal environment. Furthermore, a good number of them (17%) are able to get in touch with a politician (although these values could be overestimated for the entire population). However, this result corresponds to the authors’ observation that politicians in Tramonti are easily accessible and available. However, most young people would not know how to make themselves heard at all, and very few of them have entered the political field from civil society – while the majority of them would like to influence local politics. This supports a new hypothesis, that the process of political participation in Tramonti is not sufficiently structured at the level of municipal political participation and that the local associations sector lacks structure to involve young people. Politicians, in theory, would be willing to get in touch, but it seems that this is a potential dissatisfaction. This response is even more reinforced by the fact that this survey was completed by the most interested young people and the response in 3.2.2, where young people state that the reason they do not want to enter the decision-making process is that they do not know how to do it well.

Furthermore, young people show a rather low level of trust in adults in general and politicians in particular. This certainly reflects societal trends as a whole, however, it is quite devastating to see that this also holds true for young people. In their responses, young people mainly identified Acarbio as the institution that will advance the interests of young people in Tramonti, rather than themselves, the municipality itself, or their peers or parents. This could be linked to the fact that Acarbio organized this project as the first participation initiative in the area and was able to gain trust, or simply because young people associated the topic with the association when they responded.

It is interesting to see the results of this question and how they can provide insights into the political participation of young people in Tramonti. It seems that, although there is some level of engagement and contact with politicians, many young people still feel uncertain about how to make themselves heard and participate in the political process. The lack of structure and opportunities for involvement in associations and local politics could contribute to this sense of disconnection and underrepresentation. It is important for leaders and local organizations to take these results into account and work to create more opportunities for young people to participate and make their voices heard.

The Youth Conference – Writing the Youth Charter of Tramonti

What did the first Youth Conference in Tramonti bring? Young people set up the youth charter of young people in Tramonti. In 4 different areas, they asked for changes concerning spaces and activities for young people, mobility, youth participation and environmental impact. They asked for more spaces to be, especially in winter: sports fields, or a youth center. This fits the result from the Youth Survey, that young people meet a lot outside because of a lack of accessible spaces. They also asked for more events organized: game events, sport events. In mobility, the main problem is clear – they cannot reach other hamlets of the town. So a minibus would help with that. Also, more sharing services for e-bikes and e-scooters could give a solution to this. In regular meetings with the municipality, they would be able to fight more for their ideas or get more updates on what is happening in town.

The adults assisting the event were impressed. “I was impressed by how well the young people expressed themselves during the event. They quickly arrived at the point, and they had many important aspects under consideration” said Gioacchino Di Martino, representative of the Centro di Cultura e Storia Amalfitana who assisted the event. “The discussion on the round tables were amazing. The young people discussed concepts and issues, that I only treated once I was at university”, told us Adelmo Della Pietra who was part of the table “Environmental issues”.

“When discussing about youth participation, we often here 2 different arguments”, Cornelia Kramsall from the coordination tells us. ”The first one is, how important it is that young people are involved in their future It concerns them in the first place, they will inherit this world from us. And secondly that young people may not be competent enough, they miss crucial experience, they cannot be responsible for things that adults don’t manage themselves. And both voices are somewhat right. We have to pay attention to create a serious dialogue, and to carefully chose methods for this. Young people often see things clearer, but often it remains the adults, the politicians, responsibility to bring the change. This can be very fruitful, if taken seriously”.

And what about the young people? They were of divided opinion. Most of them enjoyed the event very much. They enjoyed being able to express themselves at the municipality, and they enjoyed discussing different points of views. They also considered their work very successful. For some of them the event took too long. Some of them have doubts about how much of their ideas will be implemented in real life, and this is a fair point. Let’s prove them we take their interests seriously. It’s up to us.


The results of the Youth Survey: Italian copy of Survey report – I miei primi passi nel dialogo politico

The Yourh Charter of Tramonti: Carta dei Giovani di Tramonti