Implementing the European Youth Work Agenda in Lithuania

Stronger recognition, a developed digital youth work system and better mental health support - Monika Paulauskaitė shared with us on the vision of youth work in Lithuania and how the European Youth Work Agenda supports realising it.

The Situation of Youth Work in Lithuania

COVID-19 pandemic

Youth work in Lithuania is recovering from COVID-19 pandemic, the pandemic created a lot of change. Much of the face to face youth work shut down and many activities and youth work approaches were transferred to online. Now in the aftermath of the pandemic youth work is finding its way forward.

This is not an automatic return to opening youth centres and expecting everything to return to how things were pre-pandemic. A lot of work is still needed to find ways forward for the youth workers and young people.

War in Ukraine

On top of recovering from the pandemic period, Lithuanian youth work is now facing a crisis in how to react to the war in Ukraine and its impact on young people. Lithuania, as well as all the other neighbouring States, have received huge numbers of young refugees throughout 2022 to the present time.

Many youth organisations are working on ways to integrate young refugees into their regular programmes.

Some of these young people were involved in youth work back in Ukraine, though most have never had any connection to youth work. Regardless of this background many of these young people are looking to youth work in Lithuania to support them as young people.

Many youth organisations are working on ways to integrate these young people into their regular programmes. There are also refugee youth workers whose experience it will be invaluable to link into the Lithuanian youth work field.

Capacity Building

In general, the national youth work focus is on strengthening the capacity of youth workers, especially in the area of individual support and consultations, advice and information.

One of the priorities at the moment being to develop the services provided by open youth centers that work using one stop shop principles. There is also a move to develop the competences of Youth Affairs Coordinators in municipalities.

Bonn Process Implementation in Lithuania

Lithuania is currently working towards a national priority that is inline with one of the Bonn Process priority areas; ‘a common direction for the youth work community of practice’.

A Strategic Framework for Youth Work Development

The Lithuanian National Agency is actively involved in developing a strategic cooperation project in the network of National Agencies of the EU Youth programmes (SNAC) on the subject; ‘supporting mental health as a priority in the youth field’.

The strategic cooperation includes a training activity dimension that provides youth workers and youth work trainers with the space to explore, exchange, and build on examples of good practice on a particular theme. In this instance the concept is for a space to create mental health support methodology for youth workers, and implement training courses accordingly.

Part of the Bonn Process strategy is to encourage a coordinated approach to learning, sharing, supporting, and building on youth work development and good practice. This strategic cooperation project is a good example of this happening in the sector at both national and European level.

Beyond the Youth Work Community of Practice

In 2022, the Lithuanian National Agency was part of a group of organisations and institutions that worked on another priority area of the Bonn Process; ‘beyond the youth work community of practice’.

It is important to communicate the value of youth work to other sectors.

2022 was the Year of Youth. As part of the year, the “6th Scientific-Practical Conference, ‘Youth Year in Lithuania: Visible - Invisible Youth’”, was organised. The conference brought together: Vilnius University; Mykolas Romeris University; Vytautas the Great University; the Lithuanian Center of Social Sciences; the Network of Youth Researchers; the Agency of Youth Affairs (Lithuanian National Agency); and the Council of Lithuanian Youth Organisations.

The interdisciplinary scientific-practical conference, gathered youth field practitioners, researchers, young people, youth policy makers, higher education professors and staff, social workers, and social scientists.

The conference is a good example of an activity putting this Bonn Process priority area into practice. Such conferences support the means of communicating the value of youth work to other sectors and provides space for engaging effectively with them. In order to strengthen the collaboration between youth field researchers, policy makers and youth workers it is important to develop strategic and operational approaches and cooperation at both cross-sectoral and horizontal levels.

Youth Work in Lithuania in 2025

There are four potential areas for youth work to see development over the next couple of years. It is foreseen that the Lithuanian youth field will be generally stronger and more recognised at both national and local levels. The whole digital youth work system will be much better developed, where youth work will be smoothly taking place on and offline and in hybrid formats.

It is foreseen that the Lithuanian youth field will be generally stronger and more recognised at both national and local levels.

It is envisaged that the funding mechanisms for youth work will also undergo change at the national level. Linked with the development of the strategic cooperation project mentioned above,

Lithuania wants to see better mental health practices in youth work, with the support work being seen as a regular aspect of youth work rather than a specialised rarity.

Monika Paulauskaitė

Monika Paulauskaitė

Monika works at the Agency of Youth Affairs, Lithuanian National Agency for Erasmus+ youth and European Solidarity Corps and has the role of the National Bonn Process Contact Person in Lithuania.