The partnership of EMPYRE investigated several empowering youth work methods and anlysed them with BIKVA -method

BIKVA EMPYRE methology (PDF)



In EMPYRE project two articles were composed in close contact to the project activities  

Please read and learn! 

Active Global Citizens as Adolescents and Adults | Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Global Public Health 
by Anna Jarkiewicz, Department of Educational Studies, University of Lodz and Mariusz Granosik, Department of Social Pedagogy and Social Rehabilitation, University of Lodz 

And in the book COVID-19 and Climate Change: Development Perspective  

ISBN978-93-5529-083-0  , pg 131-152 The Trajectory of Anti-Discriminatory Work 

in the COVID-19 Lockdown by Mariusz Granosik, Anna Jarkiewicz and Aleksandra Sobańska 


If you want to investigate methods of youth work and their impact as empowering methods  

  • you can use the following criteria developed in EMPYRE -project. 

Criteria helpful in indicating empowering youth work in our desk research 


Empowering youth work can be indicated in the way the organizations/ institutions/ projects:  

  1. define aims of their practices 
  2. indicate themselves (who they are, whom they represent, etc) 
  3. define rules in their work ( in relationships between workers and youth) 
  4. select / create forms of their practices  
  5. describe their service users. 


A) Indicators of empowering accents in youth work practices in the way  organization/institution/project define its aims

  • Youth work organizations/institutions/projects  seem to offer empowering practice when: 
  • they declare a wide scope of changes they are aiming at (e.g. they declare aiming at a change on a group or/ community/ or society level , not only on individual level).  
  • they declare aiming at overcoming external barriers (structural, cultural, discursive, class-based, existing in social consciousness, institutional, etc) not only to initiate internal/ endogenic changes (in their service users attitudes, motivations, skills, recovery, etc.). 
  • they declare to raise pressure on authorities of different kinds: institutional, community, governmental) to make these authorities focused on enhancement of better conditions for development/ equal life chances of particular category/ies of young people  
  • they promote youth participation in decision making at any level (institutional, community, governmental)  
  • they declare their assistance in getting the level of social participation of young people higher, where social participation is normatively understood- participation in expected social roles (students, parents, workers, etc)  or prevent poor fulfilment and/or dropping out of these roles.  
  • they promote enhancement of citizenship (raising youth voice, participation in voting, expressing their rights and ideas, becoming volunteers, etc) 
  • they declare they are devoted to an idea/ some ideas  (excluding any discriminating, othering ideas as empowering ideas support democratization of the society)  
  • they aim at building/ creating the community ( to empower individual actions or to support its participants, to become the point of reference in their participants’ identity work, etc.)  


B) Indicators of empowering accents in youth work practices in the way identities of people who work/participate in organization/institution/project are defined

Youth work organizations/institutions/projects  seem to offer empowering practice when: 

  • participants define themselves as people who experience some forms of unequal treatment  (e.g. they are silenced in a public discourse, they suffer from discrimination in distribution of resources in the city, etc.)  
  • participants define themselves as social advocates of  groups suffering from marginalization, etc.   
  • there are participants involved who are not connected with an organization by their educational backgrounds (e.g. volunteers, hotheads, „infected by involvement”, “donators of time and money”, etc.)  


C) Indicators of empowering accents in youth work practices in the organizational forms of  organization/ institution/ project

Youth work organizations/institutions/projects  seem to offer empowering practice when: 

  • youth presence/involvement is voluntary (not obligatory) 
  • there are some forms of self- governance working 
  • codecision and co-creation of rules is present 
  • there is an openness to bottom-up activities  (being proactive not only fulfilling the managerial staff plans; spontaneously created projects are present, etc.)  
  • status hierarchy is flexible/formal and/or informal/ 
  • both parts staff and youth are being evaluated 


D) Indicators of empowering accents in youth work practices in the forms of practices offered in organization/institution/project 

Youth work organizations/institutions/projects seem to offer empowering practice when: 

  • they offer innovative/alternative practices (in comparison with these typically designed for a particular category of service users, e.g. activities resulting from active research, learning or experiences collected in the course of international projects, experiences, etc)   
  • they rather work through the use of collectivization of actions not through designing tasks for individuals (practices are based on groups, which activities are aiming at development of groups influencing social change ; there might be examples of case works, however  collectivization has been emerged in the end of unification of individuals who joined by sharing the same problems, trait, etc)  
  • they use alternative set of roles (projects of peer led education, peer leadership, peers evaluation, participatory practices, among others.  
  • they use participatory evaluation / introduction of changes (of different scope- from the organization, through town, district, up to influence on law)  


Indicators of empowering accents in youth work practices in the way youth and their problems are being indicated/described by organization/institution/in a project  

Youth work organizations/institutions/projects seem to offer empowering practice when:  

  • in the justification of their practices their raise questions/issues that encourage questioning ‘the taken for granted’ (they critically refer to  “typical”  ways of treatment, the webpage discourse is somehow provocative, sensitizing, making the readers do reflect, etc.) 
  • in the description of service users/ participants of organization there is an accent on strengths/ potentials of users and they  (presentations of youth , their families as struggling subjects / coping with barriers, overcoming them/ not in terms of deficits, weaknesses, negative aspects /e.g. we help youth from problematic families, etc/; notions used don’t show patronizing attitude of the staff towards young people) 
  • in a webpage language there are expressions of collective identity (words as: „us” / „we” not „them”/ “for them”).   

One of the methods of empowerment of youth is Adventure pedagogy or adventure therapy.
The partnership of EMPYRE found this paper very useful in their work  


Adventure Therapy with Youth at Risk  

If you want to study the state of art of employability of young people, please read an article recommended by the partnership of EMPYRE -project.
A systematic review of current understandings of employability