Article 12 guarantees the right to have your voice heard about things which affect you. It might be difficult to think of ways to have your voice heard, especially when you’re too young to vote! However, voting in a national election isn’t the only way you can have your voice heard.
Here’s eight ideas for how you can shape your local community, country, or the entire world!
1. Become a Member of Scottish Youth Parliament (MSYP)
Young people aged 14-25 can stand as a candidate in Scottish Youth Parliament (SYP) elections. SYP elections are held in Scotland every two years. MSYPs work on campaigns and develop policy to influence Scottish Parliament and how society works.
Find out more about the Scottish Youth Parliament.
2. Get involved in your local Youth Forum
Most councils in Scotland have one so have a Google and see what you can find. Youth Forums work to influence what is happening in your local area.
3. Join a youth project or group!
Our Get Involved page is always being updated with new opportunities and projects, including opportunities with Young Scot through #YSHive. Our Co-design team support groups of young people to work with organisations like Scottish Government, SQA, NHS Scotland, and others, to influence services and policy affecting young people.
Your Local Authority might run a youth council that you could sign up to. Youth councils represent the voices of young people to the council and give you a say in decisions in your local area. Have a search online to find your local one.
Youth groups and other organisations like Girlguiding, Scouts, the Boys Brigade and Girls Brigade can provide opportunities for members to have a say about things which are happening in Scotland or locally.
4. Take part in a survey to tell decision makers what you think
Our Get Involved page has lots of surveys you can complete, and the Young Scot Reward page has surveys you can get Reward points for completing too.
5. Respond to a consultation
Scottish Government often ask the general public what they think about big issues. These are called consultations. Anyone can fill in a response to a consultation on the Scottish Government website.
6. Write to you Member of Scottish Parliament (MSP) or Member of Parliament (MP)
Find your MSP or MP and then send them an email about an issue you care about. You could write a real-life pen and paper letter and post it to them too, and most elected representatives have times when you can meet them in person to discuss issues. These are called constituency surgeries or clinics.
7. Join a social movement and demonstrate, campaign, or protest!
This can take many forms, like the school climate strikes, Amnesty International’s Write for Rights letter-writing campaign, or marching for International Women’s Day. You can even connect with others who are passionate about the same issue as you and create a new campaign! See our tips for how to start campaigning.
8. Support a charity
There are thousands of small charities around Scotland who do vital work locally and nationally. You can volunteer, raise money or become an #IWill Champion!
Read some ways to have your voice heard at school.
Visit the Activate Your Rights homepage to find out more about your rights.