FAQ

  1. What is Ruuti?
  2. Do young people have the right to participate in decision-making?
  3. How does Ruuti work?
  4. How does Ruuti not work?
  5. What are the goals of Ruuti?
  6. Does Ruuti affect me?
  7. How can I make a difference through Ruuti?
  8. What are the activity groups?
  9. What is the Ruuti core group?
  10. Why stand for the Ruuti core group election?
  11. What has already been accomplished through Ruuti?
  12. What is Ruuti.net?
  13. What is RuutiExpo?
  14. What is Päättäjämiitti?
  15. What are the Lord Mayor’s Student Association Days?
  16. What are the Student Association Days?
  17. What is RuutiBudget?
  18. What is the history of Ruuti?
  19. What is the relationship between democracy and Ruuti?
  20. What is the most logical part of the decision-making process to hear young people out?

 

1. What is Ruuti?

Ruuti is a participation system for the young people of Helsinki. Ruuti ensures that young people’s voices are heard in the municipal decision-making of Helsinki. All the administrative branches of the city of Helsinki are committed to the system.

 

2. Do young people have the right to participate in decision-making?

Yes, they do. According to Section 8 of the Youth Act, “Young people must be given opportunities to take part in the handling of matters concerning local and regional youth work and youth policy. Further, young people shall be heard in matters concerning them.” In addition to the Youth Act, e.g. the Local Government Act obligates municipalities to ensure that the municipality’s residents, including young people, have the chance to influence the activities of the municipality.

 

3. How does Ruuti work?

In addition to hearing what young people have to say, Ruuti includes all the activities where young people or young people’s groups actively aim to influence issues on a larger scale. Ruuti is about creating change or preserving the status quo. Ruuti encourages young people to create their own style of looking after their neighbourhood and the whole city.

 

4. How does Ruuti not work?

Ruuti is neither about looking out for your own interest nor running existing activities if young people’s views are not taken into consideration.

 

5. What are the goals of Ruuti?

– To make sure that young people gain positive experiences in participation

– To support various forms of activity

– To create different forms of conversation between young people and the decision-makers

 

6. Does Ruuti affect me?

If you’re a young person living in Helsinki, Ruuti is designed for you. If you’re a city employee or a player in the political arenas, Ruuti makes sure that young people’s voices are heard in decision-making. If you’re an active adult working to make our communal city even better, Ruuti is a way to contact the young people making a difference in the city.

 

7. How can I make a difference through Ruuti?

– Collect 10 like-minded friends to support your idea and start promoting your issue.

– Join an existing group close to your interests.

– Take the initiative on the Ruuti.net website.

– Write a Guest Editorial blog post on the Ruuti.net website.

– Take part in conversations at the Päättäjämiitti or RuutiExpo.

– Participate in the activities of the student association at your school.

– Stand for the Ruuti core group election.

– Contact your nearest youth centre for aid and assistance.

 

8. What are the activity groups?

Activity groups consist of young people who actively promote an issue chosen by the group. Activity groups can e.g. focus on increasing sporting activities and putting up a legal graffiti wall or bring forth discussion on urine-soaked metro elevators and animal rights. The groups can be fully independent or receive support from adults working among young people. The groups can determine their own ways of functioning. The most important principle is that the activities of the group are focused on an issue chosen by the young people themselves.

 

9. What is the Ruuti core group?

The Ruuti core group consists of twenty young people between the ages of 13 and 17 who are elected annually. Their task is to work together with the Youth Department to make sure that the Ruuti participation system works effectively. All 13- to 17-year-old residents of Helsinki can stand for the core group election. The core group is elected through electronic voting, where all 13- to 17-year-old residents of Helsinki are entitled to vote. Find out more about the core group here …

 

10. Why stand for the Ruuti core group election?

The core group offers you a unique front row seat into municipal decision-making in Helsinki. The members of the core group make sure that the young people of Helsinki have their say on the decision-making of the city. The core group teaches and develops the knowledge and the skills needed in participation activities and teamwork. As a member of the Ruuti core group, you’re also actively making Helsinki a better place for “you, me and us”.

 

11. What has already been accomplished through Ruuti?

A prime example of the accomplishments achieved through the Ruuti activities is the graffiti wall in Jakomäki that was opened in the spring of 2013. Other Ruuti projects include the extension of Roihuvuori Youth Centre and a city council initiative on introducing the work practice programme to upper secondary schools that was compiled in cooperation with a deputy member of the City Council of Helsinki. In 2013, the core group has e.g. issued a statement to the central administration of the city demanding more summer jobs for the young people of Helsinki.

 

12. What is Ruuti.net?

Ruuti.net is the website for Ruuti that brings together the activity groups of Helsinki, introduces the different aspects of young people’s participation activities and offers young people a direct channel for taking the initiative in municipal decision-making.

 

13. What is RuutiExpo?

RuutiExpo is a participation event taking place every autumn. RuutiExpo brings together different agents and presents direct possibilities to make a difference. It also offers a chance to express opinions, learn different ways of participation, meet various decision-makers and take part in workshops. The Ruuti core group election kicks off at RuutiExpo. Young people plan out the contents of the expo.

 

14. What is Päättäjämiitti?

Every spring, young people get together with municipal decision-makers at Päättäjämiitti. The idea behind Päättäjämitti is that the young people and the decision-makers work together to draw up common action plans based on the themes prepared by the young people. The decision-makers then carry the responsibility of taking the action plans forward. In the April of 2013, over 130 young people and about 30 decision-makers took part in Päättäjämiitti.

 

15. What are the Lord Mayor’s Student Association Days?

During the Lord Mayor’s Student Association Days, pupils, students and decision-makers come together at City Hall to discuss how to increase school satisfaction. Based on the comments from schools and institutions, basic education and upper secondary education formulate their own declarations. The Ruuti Project Funding also plays a role in the Lord Mayor’s Student Association Days as it can be utilised in schools and institutions to organise communal events and activities or to refurbish the physical learning environment. The Lord Mayor’s Student Association Days are organised every other year.

 

16. What are the Student Association Days?

At the annual Student Association Days, pupils from different schools introduce various ways and practices of school participation. The Student Association Days also monitor how the declarations formulated at the Lord Mayor’s Student Association Days are progressing.

 

17. What is RuutiBudget?

RuutiBudget is a pilot project for participatory budgeting that gives young people authority over the funds and the activities in the youth work areas of Haaga-Kaarela and the south-eastern part of Helsinki. The young people in those areas are invited to take part in the RuutiBudget by planning out leisure time activities for 2014 together with local youth workers.

 

18. What is the history of Ruuti?

On 13th June 2011, the City Board of Helsinki decided to launch the youth participation system Ruuti. At the same time, the City Board encouraged all the departments of the city to utilise the different functions of Ruuti while planning issues that concern young people. They were also encouraged to take young people’s views into consideration when making decisions. Young people and youth organisations in Helsinki were able to give their input when Ruuti was being developed.

The name Ruuti was chosen through a naming contest. Ruuti (gunpowder) represents sparkling power, insight, the beginning of a change and the change itself. Ruuti is an opportunity to change things.

 

19. What is the relationship between democracy and Ruuti?

Ruuti improves municipal democracy and its decision-making system while working within the system itself. Activity groups and other young people are heard in the preparatory stages of decision-making in matters that concern and interest them. Through initiatives and Päättäjämiitti, Ruuti encourages young people to become involved in direct democracy. Ruuti also supports young people’s own active participation. The Ruuti core group election is open for all the young people in Helsinki. Ruuti also has a strong emphasis on local and thematic democracy. Furthermore, one aspect of Ruuti is the participatory budgeting, which brings forth consultative democracy.

 

20. What is the most logical part of the decision-making process to hear young people out?

The core idea of Ruuti is to guarantee that young people have access to decision-making already in the preparatory stages. We believe that young people’s voices have better audibility when decision-makers take their views into consideration already while preparing decisions.

Ruuti focuses on supporting young people’s groups rather than concentrating on the representative model. This is because by supporting young people’s groups, the influence is more wide-ranging and the participation threshold is lower. Representativeness can also label politics as “other people’s business” and favour ethnic Finns along with young people who have received encouragement at home. Models like Ruuti present a way to provide experiences in participation to a diverse group of young people. At the same time, the participation models of representative democracy are being complemented.