Mlad.si (which translates to »you are young«) portal captures key information for the young people from the government departments, the youth sector and the non-governmental organizations - all in one place. In addition, all information on the portal is contributed by the young people themselves, i.e. “YOUNG PEOPLE FOR YOUNG PEOPLE”. At the same time, a communication network through social networks (FB, IG, TikTok) is in place and works in connection with the portal.
In the frame of the European Year of Youth, the aim of which is to promote youth dialogue and to empower young people, we have decided to update our mlad.si portal. The new portal brings together all key information for the young people in one place. Users can find everything they need for their life from birth to adulthood, including links to technical procedures, applications, entries, tenders and other information important for the life of a young person.
The portal is the first communication channel connecting the non-governmental and the governmental sectors with content for the young people. Since it is created by young people themselves, with the support of the Office of the Republic of Slovenia for youth and the editorial office, which is managed by the contracter - the office Mreža MaMa (Youth network MaMa), all the information is presented and given in a youth-friendly way.
In addition to key information on employment, education, housing, starting a family, young people can find a lot of information on how to get active, how to participate, how to find a youth organization or event in their region that they can attend.
The goal of the new portal is to attract as many young people as possible, with the aim of better informing them, greater familiarity with public affairs and examples of good practices that come from all over Slovenia. Young people can connect with each other, network, communicate, share their stories and learn along the way.
Many stakeholders benefit from the new portal. First and foremost, young people are users as well as collaborators which enebles them to learn from the experience. In the second place, it is the Government of the Republic of Slovenia and the non-governmental sector and youth organizations, which can daily publish all measures, plans, events, tenders and other information important for young people.
The editorial board of the portal and the Office of the Republic of Slovenia for Youth, as co-announcers of the portal, with the inclusion of all social networks and promotional activities anticipate young users to increasingly use the portal and accept it as a central communication and normative centre for themselves. Through the portal as during the Covid epidemic - we will intensively inform the young public about all online events that replaced live events. We expect that young users will receive all necessary information faster and in a more pleasant way thanks to the portal.
The project of the new portal was in the process of creation for almost a year, a wide group of people participated in it, both from the government and from the youth organizations as well as experts in communication and portals creations. The team took into account the key acquisitions of the former portal and upgraded it with modern technological features that guide young people without unnecessary time-consuming searches and too many clicks. It is designed very simply, without unnecessary "decorations", and the internal structure of the portal is more interconnected, as articles and categories are interconnected at every level. With the update, we have given each organization its own access which allows them to easily enter the content themselves.
As a comparison, we used an overview of similar EU portals, but we did not see the kind of integration that mlad.si has in any of them. The main method in the development of the portal was a dialogue with those involved, especially the youth, in order to find out what kind of portal the young people want. We accessed them through youth organizations with which the Office of the Republic of Slovenia for Youth cooperates.
With the preparations for the new portal, we also established a new concept of social networking and TikTok in order to reach as many young people as possible. For this purpose, we also allocated financial resources for the promotion of the most important publications.
What Makes Your Project Innovative?
There are many portals with content for young people, but they are all narrowly focused on a specific content. No portal in Slovenia covers all areas that affect the lives of young people from birth to adulthood. Only mlad.si is editorially conceived as a national portal that covers European, national, local and regional topics. The Office for Youth is the only government body that has such an extensive communication network for a specific population, which it addresses through its many communication channels, together with the official government website.
In addition, the portal is different from other portals because it encompasses all cross-sectoral policies and is a Junction – a Crossroad of Youth, as it brings together young people and those who decide on their future. Moreover, the very essence of the portal is that it is created by young people, who forward their voice. The portal has communication support on social networks, and with this we reach different young people.
What is the current status of your innovation?
Mlad.si is a crossroad of the formal - institutionalized organizations, such as ministries and municipalities, and the informal sector, which enables young people to be more involved in society. With this aim, the team of young people (young correspondents) are currently at the point where they themselves are creating the portal, preparing the content and inspiring other young people to actively participate in society and gain experience.
In response to changes in society, we had a launch of the first podcast in September, as we are aware that the young people read less and less, but like to listen more. We upgraded the portal in the direction of the digital content, but still kept the power of the written word so that young people will recognize the importance of reading and obtaining information. We are at the point of gaining regular readers through posting more content on the portal and on our social media platforms.
Collaborations & Partnerships
Young people were involved in the innovation process of mlad.si as a central communication portal and they themselves established the content structure and matrix of the portal. The portal was designed based on responses of the young people through the field work, who expressed the need for all the information gathered in one place. The portal was designed by young people and its content is also being created with the support and editing of the non-governmental organization Youth network MaMa.
Users, Stakeholders & Beneficiaries
- Innovation affects young people, as they get the necessary information from the portal.
- Secondly, it influences decision-makers who, with increased flow of the information and the continuous communication with the young people, are more aware of the young people’s voice.
- Thirdly there are the civil society organizations, especially those which work for and with the young people, because in this way their work is significantly more recognised by the young people as well as the decision-makers.
Results, Outcomes & Impacts
We monitor the growth of views, users and followers on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. With the innovation itself, views of the portal increased by 30%. In 2021, we recorded an average of 1,900 users and 15,000 views per month. The methodology we use for monitoring and recording is Google analytics and Social Networks.
Since the launch of the renovated portal we have noticed an increase of interest from the young people to create content and collaborate as correspondents, thus realising the value of the portal when it comes to gaining valuable and meaningful work experience as well as informing their peers about the many opportunities available to them.
The main effects of the portal will be seen mainly in the increased awareness of the young people and the use of the portal as a central information and communication portal. The MaMa network, as a network organization of 90% of youth centers throughout Slovenia, has insight into the field, and we will measure the response directly.
Challenges and Failures
We encountered no challenges with the innovation, as the portal has been in existence for more than 10 years and was under the mentorship and the commitment of the young people; the innovation came into life without any problems. The challenges we encountered were mere of a technical nature, which we solved together with the team of programmers.
Conditions for Success
The success of an innovation such as this requires, first of all, human and financial resources, as well as the personal mission and values of those who work and create the innovation. Dedication, motivation and clear ownership of the people involved is also a basic requirement as well as the research of the media and a thorough understanding of the social networks operations.
With this aim, we include young people from the field of communication and journalism in the concertation of the portal. This way we enable them to strengthen themselves and acquire skills in their profession, with the guidance of experts in the field.
Our innovation can be used by smaller agencies, organizations or the government, to either find, contribute or disseminate information on the local, regional and national level, because we offer reliable information for the young people and the decision-makers in one place.
Since the portal and its content is created by youth from all over Slovenia, decision makers can use it to gain insight into the needs of youth in Slovenia, and can provide opportunities for youth, as well as shape youth policies based on the information gathered.
On the Crossroad of Youth, we create a story behind which young people stand We are a portal that survived for 10 years through creation by young people and under mentorship, also with the support of civil society and organizations that work for young people.
The experience we would like to share is that, when creating a portal for the young people, it is crucial to involve them in every step of the process. In this way, not only you create something based on their needs, wants and habits, , but you give them a meaningful experience where they can learn about the innovation process, gain new skills and feel empowered, because their voices are taken into account. Above all, consistency, research of other (similar) portals and media space is important.
The most important experience with innovation is that young people are included in all spheres of societies, organizations and work processes, so synergies are created and formed between young people and the elderly, and in this way new intersections of the youth are created. We achieved this by involving young people in the co-creation of the portal, as well as creating new opportunities for the young correspondents to be involved in the portal.
Youth voices matter, and not just in the European Year of youth, it is important to listen to and acknowledge the needs of youth, as well as involving them in all steps of the process. Only in this way can we make sure that the innovation truly serves them, and that from using it they can gain information as well as opportunities.
- Evaluation - understanding whether the innovative initiative has delivered what was needed
26 January 2023