Youth Work in Latvia

The Youth Law defines – the Ministry of Education and Science ensures the development of a single national policy in the youth field and its coordinated implementation, including the cooperation of involved institutions in the implementation of the youth policy. The development and the implementation of the coherent youth policy and the participation of young people in decision-making and in public life is facilitated by the Youth Advisory Council – an advisory body established by the Cabinet of Ministers, comprising delegated representatives of public administration, local governments and youth organisations. However, in everyday practice the youth policy is decentralised in Latvia – each of the involved institutions is co-ordinating the activities of the specific area, but the Ministry of Education and Science defines the overall objectives and actions to be achieved. Line ministries and subordinate institutions define and implement sectoral policies (health – the Ministry of Health, social affairs – the Ministry of Welfare, employment – the State Employment Agency, etc.). The implementation of Latvian, the European Union and other international programmes, projects and initiatives for youth work is provided by the Agency for the International Programmes for Youth (under the authority of the Ministry of Education and Science). The Agency gives young people the opportunity to elaborate projects, disseminates interesting and useful information to young people about their opportunities, facilitates exchanges of experience and provides advice on project writing. The everyday practical work with young people is carried out by local governments, setting up an institutional framework for the youth work at local level – appointing a responsible institution, recruiting youth affairs specialists and other employees, establishing a youth centre and performing other activities. 109 out of 119 municipalities of Latvia have at least one employee for youth work, 87 have at least one youth centre, 51 have elaborated a document for youth policy development, 43 have a youth council, 29 have an advisory committee for youth affairs. Non-governmental organisations are also an essential resource for the youth work. 79 of 119 municipalities of Latvia have at least one association delivering youth work. Information collected by the Ministry of Education and Science shows that the total number of non-governmental organisations involved in youth work is about 200, but not all of them are regularly active.