Jeunes, faites bouger 1070! / Youth Action Plan in Anderlecht


Young People

Aurélie Marchand

In 2020 our Youth service decided to address the needs and interests of higher education students in Anderlecht in order to improve their wellbeing, their power of decision and participation, their sense of belonging to Anderlecht and their perspective of settling in the municipality. It was indeed noted that many students in Anderlecht do not tend to take part to many activities or infrastructures in the municipality and lack perspective of settling here. At the beginining of 2021, this project of an inventory/exploration of the needs and experience of young students was extended to the whole youth population (13-26 years old), as part of the Coordinating Youth Initiatives (transverse strategic plan of the Youth service in collaboration with the Prevention service) aiming to reach an observation and analysis of the needs of young people as well as the organizations working with them/bringing them together. In both of these processes, the final goal is to provide the young people/students the tools for them to be able to identify their needs and to detect and develop solutions, recommendations and proposals that shall be transmitted and presented to the municipality board (« collège communal ») leading to concrete decisions made to increase wellbeing in Anderlecht and a better inclusion of youth. It was all the more crucial to boost as soon as possible youth participation in Anderlecht, that the sense of discrimination and exclusion was becoming more and more important for many young people, for historical and socio-economical reasons : tensions between police and youth linked to police violence following small delinquence facts ; discrimination and stigmatisation of young people of Maghrebin origin, all of it intensified during the corona crisis… The gap between social classes and the mistrust of youngsters towards municipal figures /authorities has been dangerously intensifying, so it waq essential to show this audience that we were not letting them down and that their voices can count, be heard and actually have impact, be actors of change and democracy. It is also essential to recreate dialogue with young people, recreating trust with their mediators (youth organization responsibles) so that we can « work together » again. We have strongly felt a distanciation and distrust from some of the youth organisations reprensenting the people experiencing the most discrimination and exclusion, who did not feel enough involved.