In distance but not apart: The case of COVID-19 crisis management in youth field in Estonia


It’s been a while now that the world does not seem to be the same anymore.

Like everybody else also young people have faced the need to reorient their everyday life. How do young people cope with it and how do they feel about it? I believe these are the key questions to everybody involved in youth work and youth policies. And that is still the „same old“. Good contact and trustful relationship with youth to be able to know the needs of young people have always been at the heart of youth services, despite the circumstances.

For more than two decades Estonia has dedicated to develop an evidence-based and engaging contemporary youth policy. In October 2019 Estonia was awarded the Future Policy Award 2019 for youth civic engagement and participation for sustainable development and peace by the World Future Council. The jury noted that the current Estonia’s Youth Field Development Plan presents a comprehensive policy plan aiming to ensure that each young person has ample opportunities for self-development and self-realisation. This award was continuation of positive recognition of Estonia’s youth policy approach in international level. In 2018, the OECD’s report “Youth Stocktaking Report” highlighted Estonia as one of the few OECD countries where the trust towards the government is higher among young people compared to older generations. According to the OECD, as one of the reasons, it can be linked to extensive development of youth field as it is in Estonia. Clear vision and strategy are needed to empower young people and support them to gain essential competences for their own well-being as for their role as active citizens, the report noted. Word. But how do you make sure that no one is left apart, especially in times of social distancing?

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