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Youth participation in democracy

In the long run, the fact that young people are involved, have the right skills and knowledge on how democracy works is decisive for the survival of democracy.

When use of hate speech in social media and public conversations increases, when the principles of democracy and the equal value of all people are questioned - then it is important that we do not take democracy for granted.

Promoting democracy

In 2018, the Swedish Government highlighted the challenges facing democracy and set priorities for democracy policy for the years 2018–2021, in a renewed strategy and action programme (Strategi för en stark demokrati – främja, förankra, försvara). The strategy draws attention to the fact that in 2021 it was 100 years since democracy had its breakthrough in Sweden. Universal and equal suffrage was then introduced for both women and men.

Cooperation with municipalities and regions

The Swedish Agency for youth and civil society, MUCF, has an ongoing task to promote young people’s participation in democracy at the local level. Until 2025, MUCF runs an intensive collaboration with six municipalities and one region. The goal is to develop new methods for increasing young people's knowledge of and participation in local democracy. In the next step the goal is to spread information on these methods throughout the country. The focus is to especially promote inclusion of young people who in one way or another feel being excluded from society. By increasing the democratic participation of young people, we contribute to a strong democracy.

The participating municipalities/regions are Karlskoga/Degerfors, Kungsbacka, Lycksele, Skövde, Västerås, Växjö and region Gävleborg.

Mock school elections

Since 2002, MUCF has been commissioned by the government to offer an opportunity for schools to organise mock school elections (skolval) ahead of the elections for the National Parliament. Since 2014, MUCF has also organised school elections in connection with elections for the European Parliament. Mock school elections are aimed for students in years 7–9 of compulsory school and in upper secondary school. The aim is to promote young people’s interest in democracy and participation in political processes, and to stimulate political discussions in schools. During the latest school election in 2022, over 400 000 students voted. Voter turnout in total was 78% within the participating schools.

Democracy toolkit for schools

Schools have an important role in contributing to young people's democratic skills and competences. Through collaboration with various actors, MUCF has produced tools that in various ways can inspire and create commitment to democracy and human rights. The complete democracy toolkit is only available in Swedish. Two of the tools have been translated to English.

Talking politics is a manual mainly aimed at teachers and students in upper grades of compulsory school and in upper secondary school. The manual includes exercises for working with democratic conversations in school. The main theme is how to prepare, implement and follow up activities with invited political youth leagues.

The Democracy handbook - From engagement to influence is a manual aimed at both teachers and youth workers. The Democracy Handbook can be both read from cover to cover and used as a reference book. It contains examples and questions to guide the reader. The manual explains different ways for young people to engage in civic activities they are passionate about. Whether it is about changing the world, hometown, village, school or leisure activity, different ways for young people’s commitment are presented.