The research from the Institute of Public Affairs released in 2018 suggests that the youth between 16 and 19 years old are unhappy with the current political situation in the country and are highly distrustful of the democratic institutions. According to the report from Konrad Adenauer Foundation from 2019, 52,7% of young Poles point to the lack of proper competences as a reason for their lack of involvement in civic activities. We will address these problems by organizing debate workshops in 50 schools. Research from the University of Padua has shown that debating has a positive impact on the young people, helping them build their sense of self-worth and confidence, and decreasing radical and hateful attitudes towards others.
Thanks to our project we will boost our participants’ confidence related to public speaking, we will intrigue students with debates as a format allowing for merit-based discussion, and we will develop sensibility for the culture of debate, well informed argumentation, and the diversity of opinion. The participants will acquire basic debate competences, such as constructing an argument, active listening, and asking questions. The participants, aided by us, will organize at least 35 debates at their schools on issues that matter to them. Participation in the project will increase their sense of agency and involvement in the local community. We will recruit for the participating schools primarily in smaller towns, where these sorts of initiatives have not been introduced before, as well as in municipalities that deem themselves to be the “LGBT-free zones.” Our priority is running a project in places where the youth is receiving very little of the civic education, has low sense of agency and influence over the current issues and is more prone to radicalization. Materials created during the project (brochures, lesson scripts) will be made available for interested teachers across the country.