SALTO Participation & Information

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In 2018, the European Commission set up a SALTO Centre for Participation & Information based in Estonia. Since then, the Centre has promoted active participation and civic engagement. What was initially established within the youth sector will now be extended to the areas of education and training.

The overarching goal of the 11 SALTO Resource Centres («Support, Advanced Learning & Training Opportunities») is to provide National Agencies with resources to improve the quality and impact of the Erasmus+ programme and European Solidarity Corps − for example by providing the expertise and teaching the skills. In line with the introduction of the transversal priority of «Participation in democratic life» in the Erasmus+ programme generation for 2021−2027, a SALTO centre was also created in this area. 

SALTO Participation & Information supports National Agencies, the European Commission and other stakeholders in the fields of youth, education and training with the strategic implementation of participation, information and communication processes across Europe. The Erasmus+ ja Euroopa Solidaarsuskorpuse agentuur, the Tallinn-based Estonian National Agency for Erasmus+ and the European Solidarity Corps, is in charge of the Resource Centre.

Thematic focuses

Why participation and information? The Resource Centre incorporates these two terms in its name because the two areas are closely interconnected; participation, after all, would not be possible without information. The focus is therefore on exploring trends and forms of participation. SALTO also brings together expertise and organises training programmes. The main topics are media and information literacy, digital transformation, communication skills and youth participation.

Developments in the higher education sector

The transversal priority «Participation in democratic life» will gain momentum and be put into practice in the Erasmus+ programme thanks to the extension of the tasks of SALTO Participation & Information to the field of education and training. In future, higher education institutions will have access to communication and information material, participate in events and find inspiration from examples of projects in the database. They will also benefit from the overarching strategies that provide guidance.

Kathrin Herres
EU04 – Erasmus+ Policy Support

In an interview with the NA DAAD, the SALTO team discusses current activities at the Resource Centre.

(This is an abridged version of the original interview.)

What are your plans for the first year?

In January 2023, we started to operate as a cross-sectoral SALTO, covering all areas of youth, education and training, including higher education. In our first year, the priority will be to get a better understanding of the field of education and training. Since the team was set up in 2018, we have focused on the area of youth in the Erasmus+ programme and European Solidarity Corps. One of our first actions will therefore be to get to know actors and organisations in education and training and start creating links with the different networks that are already active in the fields, which can support the transversal priority «Participation in democratic life» in the Erasmus+ programme.

Portrait of Interview partner Joana Freitas

Joana Freitas

What long-term goals are you pursuing and which specific activities have you planned?

Our efforts to improve communication of this priority is in synergy with the objectives of the European Commission. We want to increase the visibility of current activities that support the fields of youth, education and training, such as the SALTO Awards and the database of inspirational projects. 

We will also work to adapt existing resources and tools used in youth and non-formal education to the higher education sector and promote these tools. They include: 

  • the Participation Resource Pool, which contains diverse evidence-based content that can be valuable for higher education actors;
  • the Youth Participation Strategy and Youth Participation Toolkit, which will be revised to help actors in education and training to promote participation in their work and institutions; and
  • the Communication Hub for National Agency communication officers and Eurodesk officers, which will be expanded to include education and training stakeholders. 

Are you planning activities that could be of interest to the higher education sector?

At the end of November 2023, we will help organise two major conferences to build bridges between the youth and education sectors: one in the context of the long-term activity «New Power in Youth», focusing on cooperation between non-formal and formal education fields to foster participation, which will be hosted in Latvia; another will be organised by the French National Agency in southwest France for 200 participants.

To what extent does the SALTO Participation & Information Resource Centre help strengthen participation in democratic life?

Fostering and strengthening participation in democratic life is the core of our mandate. In 2021, when the new Erasmus+ programme was launched with «Participation in democratic life» as one of the four transversal priorities, we developed the Youth Participation Strategy along with the Youth Participation Toolkit to support the practical implementation of the priority in the Erasmus+ programme and European Solidarity Corps. 

In 2022, we set up the Co-Steering Group of the Youth Participation Strategy, which monitors implementation of the strategy and shows how young people can be involved in decision-making, since youth representatives make up half of the members. 

In 2024, we intend implementing another Participation Forum to foster and support quality participation in the fields of youth, education and training.

How can youth participation be promoted?

We believe that youth participation cannot happen in a qualitative way unless opportunities for participation, but also the rights and duties of young people towards their communities, are communicated in an appropriate way. This is why we help train communication officers in National Agencies to improve their competencies as communicators of the programme objectives, priorities and participation opportunities.

Nowadays, misinformation and inability to distinguish between different sources and discern what is true or not have become key issues in people’s lives, particularly in terms of fostering participation and promoting media and information literacy (MIL). This is why we are developing actions such as the MIL Project Lab, which took place in May 2023. It aims to improve the media and information literacy of young people, youth activists, youth leaders and youth workers, and increase the number of quality MIL projects within the EU youth programmes. 

What other challenges does SALTO Participation & Information address?

With digital transformation becoming an increasingly important issue in people’s lives, we launched the training course Digital Transformers. This focuses on digital awareness, ethics and rights as well as on emerging technologies, with inclusion and participation as structuring topics so that youth workers and other people working with young people can lead the change.

Finally, with the SALTO Awards, which were developed with the support of the whole SALTO Network, we provide a platform that recognises people and organisations that have created outstanding and inspirational projects focusing on the priorities of the EU programmes for youth and education – including participation in democratic life. The winners of the Youth Participation category in 2022 were members of an NGO from Georgia who set up a youth centre in their community through a large self-funded and self-directed campaign. They proved that it is possible to support youth participation even with limited resources. By acknowledging this achievement, SALTO Participation & Information also aims to promote the exchange of good practices and encourage new projects with a focus on participation.

Interviewed by Kathrin Herres.

The SALTO Participation and Information Team

Joana Freitas is the Participation Coordinator at SALTO Participation & Information for the areas of education and training.

The full team is formed by:

  • Brigita Medne, Participation Coordinator for the Youth Field
  • Kadri Maripuu, Coordinator for Digital Participation
  • Louis Biasin, Coordinator for Strategic Communication
  • Kelly Hrupa, Coordinator for Media and Information Literacy
  • Katrin Kaaver and Raili Ots, Administrative Specialists

Further information

Information on SALTO Participation & Information:


Information on participation in democratic life on the NA DAAD website:

Author: Kathrin Herres, NA DAAD