Key Findings 2021:
Youth-related Challenges in Hungary

#CYF 2021 #youthEngagement #youthParticipation #youthLeadership #StandForSomething

We are proud to present the key findings from our (a) consultation process and (b) market research among students, young professionals and youth organisations in Hungary.

 

Our collective efforts to determine and then unpack youth-related challenges in Hungary ultimately culminated into the Changemakers Youth Forum more generally and (c) The Presidents’ Roundtable more specifically.

 

The contents of this press release is shared under the following sections:

(Tap on any of the above headings to jump straight to the relevant section)

 

(Click on any of the above headings

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Key Findings
Report 2021

A downloadable report on the

key findings is available here:

1. Background

At the beginning of 2021, the GiLE Foundation launched a six-month consultation process with several youth organisations in Hungary to determine the major challenges affecting youth today. We took into consideration the interests of both Hungarian and international youth who are living in the country. A snapshot market research survey was also conducted among hundreds of young professionals, recent graduates and students at Hungarian universities to gather their opinions, validate their needs, and determine their personal skills gap.

 

We knew from the very start that research provides compelling evidence for the global skills crisis and that it clearly indicates that far too many learning environments are not fit-for-purpose for the 21st century. It also seemed evident to us that young people are struggling more than ever to navigate through life nowadays.

 

However, we wanted to be 100% sure that the global research was equally applicable within the context of Hungary and the broader Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) region.

 

Through our consultation process and primary research, we managed to:

 

  • Engage directly with several youth organisations, youth leaders and hundreds of students in Hungary,
  • Document the facts and data about youth-related challenges in Hungary,
  • Established some of the root causes of youth-related challenges in Hungary,
  • Put together a list of clear recommendations and practical solutions to youth-related challenges in Hungary, and
  • Publicly engage young leaders in Hungary at The Presidents’ Roundtable, in front of an enthusiastic audience of young people and stakeholders, to discuss how to navigate through youth-related challenges and opportunities.

 

Our consultation process, primary research and Changemakers Youth Forum was successful and informative in many ways. As a result, the GiLE Foundation is in a much stronger position to respond with targeted solutions to youth-related challenges, in a manner that can empower a lot of young people living in Hungary.

 

At the same time, it is still important to mention that we require meaningful support from stakeholders, including the business community, to help us address youth-related challenges as further emphasised in my open letter here.

 

Only together can we make a much stronger and more sustainable impact when it comes to empowering youth and the next generation of leaders.

As the Chairperson of the Changemakers Youth Forum, I am proud to say that our strategic intervention is well on its way to empower a lot of national and international youth in Hungary and the broader CEE region. We are on track to realise the aims that we set out to achieve in the coming years, and there’s a lot of excitement regarding our next steps.

2. The Presidents' Roundtable

Key Findings 2021 - CYF
Key Findings 2021 - CYF
Key Findings 2021 - CYF

It seldom happens that young leaders from impactful youth organisations in Hungary have the opportunity to share a platform – together! This is exactly what happened when we hosted The Presidents’ Roundtable when inspiring young leaders engaged in meaningful and thought-provoking discussions.

The roundtable discussion focused on youth leadership, how to better support Hungarian and international youth, and how to navigate through youth-related challenges and opportunities.

Each leader elaborated on the specific youth-related challenges that they raised during the GiLE Foundation’s consultation process. The panellists discussed how various challenges directly impact their youth organisation, their members, and colleagues, as well themselves personally as a young leader. After having unpacked the various challenges, we then engaged on exactly how stakeholders can get involved to play a meaningful role to address them, and thus empower and support young people in Hungary.

Roundtable Participants: 

Daniel Al-Nuwaihi – President of AIESEC in Hungary

Lilla Bartuszek – Secretary-General of V4SDG

István Kárász – President of the Pact4Youth Association Hungary

Bernadett Pintér – President of the Erasmus Student Network Hungary

Tereza Suk – President of the International Diplomatic Students Association (IDSA)

Pál Weisz – President of the Simonyi Károly Szakkollégium

Moderator:

Craig V. Johnson – Chairperson of the Changemakers Youth Forum

3. Key Findings: Youth-related Challenges in Hungary

We are proud to present the key findings from our (a) consultation process and (b) market research and (c) Changemakers Youth Forum, all of which involved hundreds of students, young professionals and youth organisations in Hungary.

 

Our findings are discussed separately below under the following categories:

3A. Youth Engagement

Key findings:

  • Hungary has made tremendous progress in recent years in opening up and embracing international students and young professionals from all over the globe. There are also several national initiatives and programmes that support them, for example international students, during their stay in Hungary. At the same time, there doesn’t seem to be many international-friendly platforms in Hungary, and there is indeed no upscaled international youth forum in the country to successfully bring together Hungarian and international youth – that is to say, both European youth and youth from around the world.

 

  • It is important for youth around the world to be able to access a platform to share their ideas, exchange their experiences, and collectively discuss solutions to the problems that they all currently face as young people. This way, they can all contribute to the dialogue, and ensure youth participation in the decision-making process to help shape their own future.

 

  • The lack of inclusion of international youth in existing student organisations at Hungarian universities seems to be largely due to the language barrier.

3B. Youth Leadership

Key findings:

  • Being a leader of any organisation is generally challenging and demanding. It is no different for leaders of youth organisations or student organisations. There are a lot of talented young people in Hungary who are motivated to (a) support young people, (b) improve their organisation, (c) personally develop themselves as leaders, and (d) ultimately make a positive impact in their local community or university. They dedicate a lot of personal time, often for free, and they usually try to manage everything between their studies and perhaps work too. However, many of them lack a leadership support system and network.

 

  • Such a situation ultimately serves as a limitation on the social impact their youth organisation could otherwise achieve. In many instances, too, young leaders may not be able to unlock their full potential when creating positive changes in their local community or university.

 

  • Many young leaders also want to professionalise their youth organisation and the way they do things so that they can be more effective and efficient. Many youth organisations and student organisations have a high turnover of members and volunteers. Managing this rotation and ensuring continuity is generally challenging for most of them. This includes managing leadership transitions, especially among student organisations.  One of many negative consequences of this is that many members of the incoming leadership somehow end up reinventing the wheel with several aspects of this being due to inadequate handover processes.

3C. Skills Development & Motivational Factors

Key findings:

  • At the beginning of 2021, the GiLE Foundation conducted a snapshot market research survey among youth organisations, student organisations, youth leaders, students and recent graduates in Hungary.

 

  • There were 283 respondents in our survey which was conducted over a period of 2-3 months. There are plans under consideration to roll out larger and more comprehensive surveys in 2022.

 

  • Regarding the demographics of the survey respondents, 36.4% are Hungarian and 63.6% represent international youth. Furthermore, 56.5% were aged 18 to 24, whereas 39.2% were aged 25 to 34.

3D. Career Planning & Labour Market Integration

Key findings:

  • In Hungary, there is a Youth Guarantee Programme (Ifjúsági Garancia Programme) that is aimed at enhancing the integration of young people into the job market. As part of this programme, employers are entitled to a non-refundable subsidy from the State if the company employs an employer under the age of 25 who is registered with the competent government office.

 

  • However, there are many challenges that make young people’s transition into the labour market tough. For example, (a) most jobs either require the level of experience that young people and students do not have, or they are given to internal colleagues who seemingly have already earned the trust of their employer. Additional reasons are that (b) young workers can, in many cases, be made redundant free of charge following a trial period of 3 months, and (c) many young people are not fully aware of their rights, so employers dismiss them even if it breaches the national labour code, with no consequences.

 

  • At the beginning of 2021, the GiLE Foundation conducted a snapshot market research survey among youth organisations, student organisations, youth leaders, students and recent graduates in Hungary.

 

  • There were 283 respondents in our survey which was conducted over a period of 2-3 months. There are plans under consideration to roll out larger and more comprehensive surveys in 2022.

 

  • Regarding the demographics of the survey respondents, 36.4% are Hungarian and 63.6% represent international youth. Furthermore, 56.5% were aged 18 to 24, whereas 39.2% were aged 25 to 34.

3E. Funding

Key findings:

  • Non-profit organisations generally rely on the goodwill and generosity of others to volunteer their time or otherwise provide donations or grants to cover the costs of their activities. However, not only are the traditional sources of funding becoming increasingly insufficient, rising costs and the consequences of COVID-19 are also taking a toll on many NGOs in Hungary and around the world.

 

  • When the activities of NGOs and youth organisations cost more than the flow of income, say through grants and donations, then such organisations are generally forced to compromise on the quality of their work. The education sector, the business community and various other stakeholders all have a vested interest to have non-profits organisations achieve financial stability.

 

  • There are many NGOs and youth organisations that lack skills, training, or the capacity to write professional grant proposals. Many such organisations are not even aware of the various funding opportunities that may be available to them.

 

  • We recognise and appreciate those Hungarian universities that award  scholarships to students for an extracurricular activity or to the leaders of student organisations. However, we are also aware that the underlying activities of student organisations are generally not funded, especially those who are not part of the national students’ union.

3F. Public Recognition of Volunteering Work

Key findings:

  • There are many passionate young people who pour a lot of time and energy into supporting NGO’s, student organisations and young people in their community. Most do so free of charge. However, their involvement in those organisations and their accumulated learning and development is not always recognised or supported by the private sector or, at times, even the university itself.

 

  • We recognise and appreciate those Hungarian universities that award  scholarships to students for an extracurricular activity or to the leaders of student organisations. However, we are also aware that not all student organisations are treated fairly and equally in this regard. We also recognise that more could be done to recognise young people’s dedication and service to others.

 

  • More generally, though, there is a strong misconception in Hungary and Central Eastern Europe about what volunteering is (it is not only about walking dogs and painting walls, for example). Skills-based volunteering is not the norm in Hungary, and it is not thought of as a valuable means to give back to a community.
4. Acknowledgments

On behalf of the GiLE Foundation and as Chair of the Changemakers Youth Forum, I want to first express my gratitude to all the original co-creators and strategic youth partners of the forum, and by extension every organising member. Thank you for sharing your views and opinions on youth-related challenges, as well as your contributions to planning and organising the CYF. Your time, patience and enthusiasm are appreciated.

 

I would also like to thank (a) those who completed our market research survey, and (b) everyone else who provided inputs during our consultation process leading up to the CYF.

In closing...

We are always searching for new social responsibility partners, sponsors, grant providers, collaborators and personal development trainers.

 

If you or your your organisation is in a position to support our youth forum, in any shape or form, then I encourage you to please get in touch with us at:

 

[email protected]