The Guide

Today's generation of young people is the largest in history. Over 3 billion people - nearly half of the world's population - are under the age of 25.  It is crucial that we engage the young decision makers of tomorrow in the development decisions of today.  We hope that the Youth Participation Guide will contribute to this goal.

You can download a print-ready copy of the guide (PDF, 2.5Mb) here. However, this website allows you to browse the guide and a number of associated resources directly online, section by section. Select from the menu items above to start browsing the guide, or navigate by theme using the options below. 

Watch: Introducing the Guide

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We have used a three-lens model to identify the different levels of youth engagement explored in this guide. To access case studies and content according to the lens, select from the three options below.

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Acronyms and Key Terms

We've compiled a list of Acronyms and Key Terms that are used throughout this guide. You can search the glossary below.

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Case studies and content in the guide are also categorised by operational area. Select from the list below to browse different operational areas.

Foreword

Today's generation of young people is the largest in history. Over 3 billion people – nearly half of the world's population – are under the age of 25. Almost 90% of all young people live in developing countries. Young people are a valuable asset to their countries and investing in them brings tremendous social and economic benefits. They also face challenges – including violence and crime, unemployment and HIV/AIDS – that undermine their rights and create significant social and economic costs to society.

It is crucial that we engage the young decision makers of tomorrow in the development decisions of today. We hope that the Youth Participation Guide will contribute to this goal.

There is growing momentum on youth participation within the development community. Governments around the world are increasingly supporting youth ministries, youth policies and youth programmes, and there is now greater recognition that young people are the future of their countries’ development. But there is still a long way to go to realise this potential.

The Youth Participation Guide aims to help build and harness young people as assets. It has been developed through an innovative process led by young people, which itself has reinforced their capacity to participate and lead. The Guide challenges negative stereotypes of youth and demonstrates how young people can positively contribute to development in four operational areas: organisational development, policy and planning, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation. It also draws together case studies, resources and practical ‘how to’ guidance from around the world and draws on Sharing and Learning Networks established in two focus countries - Nepal and Uganda. The case studies that illustrate this focus on three thematic areas that are important to young people:

The process of developing the Guide has stimulated considerable interest in Nepal and Uganda and we hope that the Sharing and Learning Networks will continue there. Meanwhile, the resources and lessons will grow through the on-line guide and website http://www.ygproject.org.

Nemat (Minouche) Shafik

Nemat (Minouche) Shafik
Permanent Secretary
Department for International Development

Acknowledgements

The process of producing this guide has involved over 50 youth development advocates from across the globe. Many thanks for your support, suggestions and contributions:

Project team:

Sarah Huxley – Youth guidance project manager, lead writer 

Derek Oakley, Samrat Katwal, Samuel Kavuma, Barbara Soetan and Hannah Austin – Youth participation officers

Helen Gallagher – DFID consultant

Andrew Robertson – Editor, support writer

Sally Hartley – Consultant, support writer

Tim Davies – Website developer/coordinator

Maha Khan – Process evaluator

Amy Ridout – Proof reader

Department for International Development (DFID) and Students Partnership Worldwide (SPW) staff:

DFID - Rosamund Ebdon, Social Development Advisor (SDA), Rebecca Calder, SDA Nepal, Joanne Bosworth, SDA Uganda. SPW - Catherine Stevens, Eric Levine, Nik Hartley, Perry Maddox (SPW Uganda), Shalini Tripathi (SPW Nepal), Gill Drury, Natalie Newell, Ed Francis.

Project committee:

Members of the above plus: Helen Jones (Commonwealth Youth Exchange Council), Connie Wessels (United Nations Children’s Fund), Hannah Lyford-Jones (Save the Children), Sharon Moynihan (Plan International), Ollie Chevreau (International Alert), David Woollcombe/Emma Trickey (Peace Child), James Edleston/Emily Bishop (British Youth Council).

Sharing and learning network participants:

Uganda: Abigail Akirapa and Grace Olanyo (Volunteer Service Abroad), Amongin Jacquiline (Hope Foundation), Agnes Amooti (Youth Action Intern), Brian Kironde (United Nations Population Fund), Herbert Mugumya (US Agency for International Development), James Kotzrch (German Foundation for World Population (DSW)), Hope Kyarisiima/Geoffry Tumusiime (Youth Social Work Association), Simon Kasyate (European Commission), Lillian Bagala (National Youth Council), Patrick Ssebbowa (Plan International), Miriam Talwisa (Youth Plus Policy Network), Joseph Okema (Commonwealth Youth Programme Northern Uganda Youth Development Centre), Dr. Abeja Apunyo (Pathfinder Int.), Immaculate Gitta (UN-HABITAT), Emebet Wuhib-Mutungi (Young, Empowered and Healthy) and Sheila Gashishiri (World Bank). Rapporteur: Daniel Ssemakula

Nepal: Aradhana Gurung (UNFPA), Anuja Sharma and Piyush Shrestha (UNFPA interns), Sanu Lal Maharjan (Save the Children/AIN), Pushpa Pandey (GTZ HSSP), Reshma Shrestha (Association of International NGOs (AIN)), Khadga B. Pariyar (World Wildlife Fund Nepal), Shalini Tripathi (SPW Nepal), Prakash Sharma (EC delegation to Nepal), Dale Davis (Centre for Development and Population Activities/AIN), Gopal Biraji and Basanti Pariyar (DFID interns), Kabindra Burlokoti/ Deependra Chaulagain (Association of Youth Organisations, Nepal), Sabin Singh (Equal Access Nepal), Ram Thapa (Danish Association for International Cooperation Nepal), Anjali Pradhan (UNICEF), DB Subedi (International Alert), Dipendra Tamang (AfP), Narayan Adhikari (Youth Initiative), Charles Pradhan (Canadian Co-operation Office), Rojee Joshi (Helvetas) and Yashoda Shrestha (Danida Nepal Human Rights and Good Governance Programme). Rapporteur: Anjana Luitel.

Partners and advisors:

Prateek Awasthi (UNFPA), Victor Karunan and his team (UNICEF), Eirik Sorlie (UN-HABITAT), Tina Silberngal (GTZ), Jenny Perlman Robinson (Women’s Refugee Commission), Layne Robinson (Commonwealth Youth Programme), Ian Askew (Population Council), Mattias Lundberg (World Bank), Mohamed Al-Sharif (UNDP), Lyndsay McLean- Hilker (consultant); Gerison Lansdown (consultant).

Focus group discussion participants:

UK: Roda Aden, Jaevion Nelson, Tim Coles, Nick Arnott, Hannah Candassamy, Ival Cummings John, Emily Beardsmore, Chinyanta Chimba, Janet Jobson, Crystal Fiallo Scanlon, Jonathan Leith, Rithee Pandya, Amardeep Kainth and Tommy Wong.

Uganda: Geoffrey Tumusiime, Jane Nakawesi, John Kalanzi, Susan Mirembe, A. Kanaabi, Alex Nuwagaba, Emmanuel Kisoto, Mariam Talwisa, Ruth Bulyaba, Timothy Kinyara, Paddy Masembe, Hope Kyasiima, Esther Kyazike-Kawempe, Rebecca Birungi and Herbert Mona.

Nepal: Deepti Khakurel, Brabim Kumar KC, Pramod Rishal, Yagya Cheetri, Pooja Rishal, Rachana Rasaily, Mona Adhikari, Kritan Gautam, Minki Lama, Dorjee Lama, Sharon Annati, Aradhana Gurung, Basanti Parayar, and Gopal Biraji.

Introduction

Overview

This guide has been developed to assist donor agencies (multilateral and bilateral) and policy advisors in a range of organisations working with and for youth. It will also be useful for government, NGO and civil society partners.1

This guide aims to increase understanding of the growing importance of, and greater potential for, youth participation in development practice and to explore key issues and approaches. But it goes beyond the rhetoric of many policy advocacy papers, which simply argue for a focus on youth participation. Rather, this guide provides information on how to actually work with youth at a practical operational level in respect of policy and programming. It does this through the provision of promising practice case studies (and their associated resources), and a number of quality standards that will help organisations to get started.

Central to this guide is its focus on working with excluded sub-groups of young people, and the importance of building partnerships between adults and youth in a culturally sensitive manner. This is the foundation for all youth mainstreaming work. The guide has drawn on and synthesised the experience of a wide range of institutions, donor agencies and practitioners (see acknowledgements).

Increasing Youth Understanding (C) Student Partnerships Worldwide

Process, Objectives and Scope

Process behind the guide

Young people were part of the project team (as researchers and workshop co-ordinators) and the project committee, and were among the many reviewers. As a result, the resource created is unlike any other guidance on youth participation, and has in itself been a process of developing young people’s capacity to participate and lead. This was a highly collaborative project between donor agencies and civil society organisations in the UK, Uganda and Nepal2 that spanned over 18 months.

With oversight from the Department for International Development (DFID) Equity and Rights Team, production of the guide has been directed by Students Partnership Worldwide (SPW) and other members of the DFID-CSO Working Group on Youth, including the Commonwealth Youth Exchange Council (CYEC), British Youth Council (BYC), Plan International, UNICEF, International Alert, Save the Children and Peace Child International (PCI).

Objectives of the guide

To make the case for youth participation by highlighting the evidence base for it (including the case studies in Part Two).

To provide a strategic framework for approaching youth and a menu list of easy-to-use, practical tools and resources to help donor agencies to more effectively:

  • Learn from promising practice examples where youth participation has increased the success and sustainability of coalitions, policies etc;
  • Operationalise key strategies and country plans in a way that is appropriate for young people; 
  • Engage and support local government, private and civil society sector partners to initiate and sustain meaningful youth participation.

To equip donor agencies to successfully support and promote young people in relevant processes and initiatives, in order to ensure aid effectiveness and sustainability.

To publicise additional resources and support structures (Appendix 3) that donor agencies can draw on in their work relevant to youth and the thematic areas.

To document the process of producing the guide itself as an example of a project partnering with young people. This is a replicable model that can be adapted at a national level (Appendix 1).

“At the World Summit for Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, the Youth Caucus called on us to ‘see young people as a resource, not a problem’. How right they were. Young people are the most precious resource our planet possesses ... Providing for youth is not just a moral obligation; it is a compelling economic necessity. Study after study has shown the benefits to the young and to their communities of investing in education, reproductive health, job skills and employment opportunities for young people.” Kofi Annan, Former UN Secretary-General3

Scope of the guide

This guide aims to steer donor agencies through the key issues and approaches. It offers experience, standards and strategies, some of which may become formalised in organisations’ policy and procedures.

However, it is not within the scope of this guide to:

  • Provide an in-depth report of each case study;
  • Elaborate upon the divergent opinions amongst practitioners and academics alike as to the true definition of ‘youth’ or optimum nature of participation itself. Rather, it is to present possibilities, which must always be looked at given a specific cultural, social and political context; 
  • Present all information by all donor agencies and civil society organisations.
Building the future together - Photo © UN-HABITAT
  • 2. Nepal and Uganda were selected as countries from which contemporary case studies could be gathered through a series of workshops.
  • 3. Foreword in Woollcombe, D./ Schumacher (2007) ‘Youth Led Development – harnessing the energy of youth to make poverty history’

The three-lens approach

In 2007 the Youth Working Group of the DFID - Civil Society Children and Youth Network commissioned a youth mapping study.4 The study assessed current approaches to youth within DFID’s policy and programming, and found that both DFID staff at headquarters and at a country level were increasingly aware of the need to address youth issues. The study advocated that development assistance should work for the benefit of youth (as target beneficiaries), with youth as partners, and be shaped by youth as leaders (Figure 1). This is an assets approach to youth participation in development.

 

Figure 1: The three-lens approach to youth participation

Three Lens Approach - Adapted from: World Bank Development report 2007

Adapted from: World Bank Development report 2007.

Explanation of the lens approach

  • It is important for institutions and practitioners to consider all three lenses; they are not mutually exclusive. Youth participation in development is often a combination of all three (see Table 1 for definitions).
  • This approach is dynamic: depending on the local context and the development intervention one particular lens may be more appropriate or have more prominence/focus.
  • The different lenses may be used with different groups of young people during an intervention/initiative, i.e., young leaders may be reaching out to new groups of young people as targets.
  • It might appear that youth participation is just about young partners or leaders, and not young beneficiaries. However, participation must also develop from a foundational base.
  • The ultimate aim is to develop youth as partners and leaders in development. This is based on youth having agency: their capacity to act, their skills and capabilities and their ability to change their own lives.
  • Youth operating as partners and leaders are inherently beneficiaries too.


Table 1: Definitions of beneficiaries, partners and leaders
Working for youth as beneficiaries

Defined as the basics of a good intervention for young people:

 

  • Youth as beneficiaries implies they are a target group and are adequately informed
  • Explicitly focuses on youth issues through documentation; 
  • Can prepare the ground for working with youth as partners.

 

Engaging with youth as partners

Defined as:

 

  • Collaborative interventions, where young people are fully consulted and informed;
  • Implies mutual co-operation and responsibility;
  • Recognises that young people generally need experience working at this level before progressing to becoming leaders and initiators of development (if appropriate) – a progression which not all will want or be able to make.

 

Supporting youth as leaders

Defined as:

 

  • Enabling youth-initiated and directed interventions;
  • Opening up a space for youth-led decision-making (delegation) within existing structures, systems and processes.

 

  • 4. DFID/Maguire, S. (2007) ‘Youth Mapping Study – DFID’s Approach to Young People’

Structure of the guide

The guide provides practical support to donor agencies on three thematic areas:

  • Governance, voice and accountability 
  • Post-conflict transitions and livelihoods 
  • Sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR)

Part one – is a presentation of the rationale for working with and for youth

Part two  – gives strategies and case studies on four operational areas:
  • Organisational development 
  • Policy and planning 
  • Implementation 
  • Monitoring and evaluation.

Part three
– provides a set of getting started quality standards and some key steps to getting started with mainstreaming youth participation.
The different aspects that form the structure of the guide (see Figure 2) were developed through consultation with key partners including donor agencies, civil society organisations and young people over an 18-month period.


Figure 2 - Structure of the guide
Structure of the Guide

Part One

The rationale for working with and for youth

This section of the guide explores the rationale for working with and for youth

Reaching tomorrow’s leaders (C) Student Partnerships Worldwide

“Young people want to build stable democracies, sustainable economies and societies based on equity.” Inter American Development Bank, 2009

“They are both tomorrow’s leaders, parents, professionals and workers and today’s assets. Properly supported and given the right opportunities, girls and boys, young women and young men can play a significant part in lifting themselves, their families and communities out of poverty. Too often, however, youth are considered only or mainly as a problem to be contained; a threat to peace and security.” DFID/Maguire, 2007

Why work with youth

“By the year 2015, there will be three billion people under the age of 25. They are the future ... they are also the now.” James D. Wolfensohn, President of the World Bank (2003)

Young people should be seen and heard - Photo © Students Partnership Worldwide

The demographic imperative

the youth bulge

Nearly 50% of the developing world population is youth and children.5 There are 1.2 billion 15 to 24 year olds in the world and one billion live in developing countries.6

This is often referred to as the ‘youth bulge’,7 as young people constitute a high and peaking proportion of many populations. The youth bulge represents both a challenge and an opportunity for development. Its duration is a limited window in which to develop a larger and younger workforce who can drive economic development and play a significant role in the social development of their communities and society.8

For example, in Uganda the median age is 159 and roughly half of 15 to 24-year-old women have given birth at least once. It is estimated that the country needs to create over 600,000 new jobs per year for the next 12 years – equivalent to the total size of the formal employment sector at present. If this is not achieved, it will be impossible to reach the Millennium Development Goal targets, particularly on extreme poverty and hunger (MDG 1), child mortality (MDG 4), maternal health (MDG 5) and environmental sustainability (MDG 7).

These large numbers of young people are an opportunity; an investment. Youth participation in development:

  • Strengthens young people’s abilities to meet their own subsistence needs;
  • Prevents and reduces vulnerabilities to economic, political and socially unstable environments;
  • Promotes ownership and sustainability of interventions;
  • Helps gain entry into target communities and build up trust and social capital.
Creative SRHR education - Photo © YEAH Uganda
  • 5. World Bank 2010
  • 6. 2005 figures, UN Population Division, World Population Prospects, 2008 Revision
  • 7. Research undertaken by Henrik Urdal at the Uppsala Conflict Data Program, Uppsala University, 2007: high youth bulges indicate countries ‘at risk’ when combined with economic stresses, but they are not necessarily a predictor of conflict
  • 8. UNFPA 2007, NORAD 2005, DANIDA 2007, DFID 2007, World Bank 2007, UN 2007, and Africa Commission 2009
  • 9. 2005 figures, UN Population Division, World Population Prospects, 2008 Revision

Young people are assets

Preventing and reducing vulnerabilities and risks

Young people are assets. This is twofold: 1) Recognising that young people have assets i.e., not simply viewing them as lacking capabilities or being deprived by circumstances; 2) Recognising that young people collectively can be an asset to development; at local, national, regional and international levels.

Crucially for countries experiencing a youth bulge, where youth-led conflict or crime may be a perceived risk, involving young people in meaningful activities and programmes builds social cohesion and embeds them within their communities.10 Young people are innovative and creative in problem solving and solution finding: they are the key to helping communities meet their subsistence needs, and in doing so, improving local people’s long-term security and control over their own lives.

Yet at the same time, being young is a transitional phase of life, which carries with it increased vulnerabilities.

Box 1: Not just numbers
  • More than half of all youth survive on less than USD$2 a day.
  • More than 100 million adolescents do not attend school.
  • Fifteen million adolescent girls become mothers every year.
  • Among mothers under age 20, infant mortality rates average 100 deaths per 1,000. Live births; among mothers aged 20 to 39, the rate is 72 to 74 deaths per 1,000 live births.
  • Six thousand young people are infected with HIV every day.
  • Ratios of new female-to-male HIV infections among young people between ages 15 to 24 run as high as 8:1 in South Africa.

 

“These are not just numbers. These are the realities of young people at the crossroads. The gap between the MDG targets and the current state of affairs for young people leaves no time for questions. It is time for action.”

 

Source: UNFPA Framework for Action on Adolescents and Youth (2007)

  • 10. UNFPA 2005

Aid effectiveness

Enabling young people to engage with democracy, development and peace building:

Enables the exercise of citizenship: making claims and holding governments and donor agencies to account (Paris principle:11 “mutual accountability.”) Exercise of citizenship rights and duties in youth are durable and often determine political participation later in adulthood.12 Participation promotes learning, empowerment and greater control over lives, which enables a wide range of voices to be heard.

Makes policies and services appropriate for youth: Building young people’s commitment to the solutions (Paris principle: “ownership”).

Makes the MDGs a reality: (Paris principle: “managing for results.”) The World Bank, UNFPA and the Commonwealth Secretariat have identified youth as critical to reaching the MDGs (see “policy frameworks”).

Box 2: Youth engagement: Success stories
  • Young people and adults share joint responsibility on the advisory board to the UN-HABITAT Opportunities Fund for Urban Youth-led Development, targeting youth-led initiatives in slums and squatter settlements that are in urgent need of financial support (Case Study 5).
  • The Municipality of Rosario in Argentina undertakes a participatory youth budget which engages 1,000 youth annually from across its six districts to select representatives and decide upon budget allocations for youth services (Case Study 16).
  • In Bahrain, around 16,000 young people aged 15 to 30 (8.9% of the youth population) were engaged directly (through focus group discussions and surveys) or indirectly as part of formulating national youth policy (Case Study 6).
  • 11. The Paris Principles (adopted by the UN in 1992) relate to the status and functioning of national institutions for the protection and promotion of human rights.
  • 12. World Bank 2007

Human Rights

Rights-based approaches to development have been advocated and widely adopted by many bilateral donor agencies.13 Gradually, the scope of human rights as defined and ratified by states in the International Bill of Human Rights has extended beyond the strictly political and legal into more economic and social dimensions.

Young people are frequently in the position of needing to claim their rights the most, but enjoy them the least.

For under-18s, the right to express one’s views freely and have them taken into account in decision-making, in accordance with one’s age and maturity, is set out in the Convention on the Rights of the Child Article 12. The greater autonomy and participation rights of older youth (18 to 24-year-olds) are perhaps less visible, being dispersed across a number of civil, political, economic and social rights frameworks. However, participation in development “of the entire population and all individuals” is a theme of the UN Declaration on the Right to Development (1986).

Young people’s rights and actions are at the forefront of the pressing development concerns which are the focus of this guide: governance, voice and accountability; post-conflict transitions and livelihoods; and sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Young Leaders teaching their peers (C) Student Partnerships Worldwide

  • 13. Including DFID, whose position is outlined in ‘Realising Human Rights for Poor People’ (2000), which focuses on three cross-cutting principles: namely participation, inclusion, and fulfilling obligations.

Critical rights issues for young people

The following have been identified as critical rights issues for young people14:

Governance, voice and accountability

  • Young people aged under 30 years make up over 60% of the populations of developing countries, but their needs are being insufficiently addressed or resourced. Their demographic importance is insufficiently acknowledged.
  • The transition of youth to adulthood is being prolonged or blocked; young people are increasingly unable to attain the social and economic status of adulthood because of structural exclusion and lack of opportunities.
  • Increasing the diversity of young people involved in decision-making processes should be a priority. Donor agencies can lead the way in working more with communities, civil society and young people.
  • There is a need to increase accountability mechanisms within civil society so that they are not just responsible to the donor community but to the global community including young people and developing countries.

Post-conflict transitions and livelihoods

  • The face of migration is growing younger as young people face high unemployment rates: in 2005 young people were 3.3 times more likely to be unemployed compared with adult workers (above 25 years of age). In many countries, youth make up 25% of the working population but 47% of the unemployed.15
  • In many post-conflict countries the majority of former combatants are 15 to 24 years of age.
  • Young people can be better protected from conflict if they are engaged in emergency protection preparedness activities. Investing in the capacity of civil society to enable the participation and development of youth will save lives.

Sexual and reproductive health and rights

  • Almost half of all new HIV infections in the world are among people under 25.16 This is due to many factors, including lack of information, education, and inability to access healthcare services.
  • Young women are especially vulnerable to gender-based violence and risky transactional sex: in Kenya young women between 15 and 19 years are three times more likely to be infected than their male counterparts.17
  • Between 2002 and 2007 significant reductions in youth HIV prevalence (of between 22 and 34%) were recorded in Zimbabwe, Kenya, Thailand, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Cambodia, Namibia and Rwanda.18 This suggests that young people are driving positive behaviour change – but there is far too little research into how such results are achieved.
  • 14. These are based on the three thematic areas of the guide selected by DFID
  • 15. ILO (2005) Employment intensity of growth: trends and macro-determinants
  • 16. UNAIDS 2009
  • 17. UNAIDS/World Health Organisation AIDS epidemic update, December 2009
  • 18. UNGASS Country Reports 2008

Socially excluded youth

Social exclusion is a process whereby certain groups are systematically disadvantaged and discriminated against because of who they are, for example on the basis of their ethnicity, race, religion, sexual orientation, caste, age, descent, gender, disability, HIV status, migrant status or where they live.19 As a result, they are denied access to resources and services, and lack opportunities open to others. Social exclusion can be perpetuated by formal institutions (laws, policies, etc) and informal ones (traditional systems, cultural practices, social attitudes, etc). Social exclusion can include lack of access to employment, to justice and to markets and a lack of political participation. It is multidimensional and interactive.20 It is often the case that in poorer communities, the majority of young people operate at the margins of society, and are excluded from the mainstream aspects of life, i.e., ‘youth’ itself is an excluded category.21 However, gender inequality means that girls and young women are often doubly disadvantaged. Those from excluded groups are often more excluded and discriminated against than others. For example, in Bolivia both Quechua and Aymara-speaking indigenous girls are less likely to enrol in school and more likely to discontinue their schooling prematurely than non-indigenous girls or boys.22

Beyond the broad exclusion of youth, there are groups of young people who are more disadvantaged (see Box 3 for a national analysis). These include:

  • Young women 
  • Rural youth 
  • Youth from an ethnic minority or lower caste 
  • Youth with disabilities 
  • Migrant young people

In analysing social exclusion it is not enough just to look at one possible category of exclusion in isolation – rather it is necessary to analyse how a number of factors interrelate.

The 2005 DFID Social Exclusion Policy identifies how multiple forms of exclusion can be underlying factors in youth engagement in violence and conflict:

  • In Sierra Leone, social exclusion is now understood to have been a main cause of prolonged civil war, to a greater extent than either the diamond trade or political instability. Eight years of conflict helped provoke a revolt of the youth, who turned to guerrilla insurgency in reaction to their political, economic and social exclusion by powerful urban elites, rural chiefs and elders.
  • Young people who feel alienated from society and excluded from job opportunities and decision-making may turn to violence, crime, territorial or identity-based gangs (as for example in Central America and Jamaica). This can create urban no-go zones where residents become excluded on the basis of where they live.
  • It is important to avoid ‘youth’ becoming used as shorthand for ‘young men who pose a potential threat’. “Young women can be invisible and doubly disadvantaged, and are left out of many youth-focused interventions in part because they are not perceived as a threat.”23

 

Box 3: A snapshot of excluded youth in Uganda

Which youth in Uganda are excluded?

 

  • Rural youth who engage in farming, and work under poor conditions
  • Out-of-school youth including school drop-outs and unemployed graduates
  • Youth in slum areas who live in an unhealthy environment
  • Youth with disabilities
  • Young women
  • Those in remand homes and prisons
  • Street youth
  • Youth in refugee camps who lack access to social amenities
  • Unemployed youth
  • Youth living with HIV/AIDS.

 

 

Extracted from a Sharing and Learning Network (SLN) report.

  • 19. DFID 2005
  • 20. As demonstrated in the ‘Unequal Citizens’, a DFID/World Bank Study conducted in Nepal in 2005 which ‘examined gender, caste and ethnicity as three interlocking institutions that determine individual and group access to assets, capabilities and voice based on socially-defined identity’ (GSEA summary: 6). Illustrating that high caste women can at times have a greater degree of inclusion than low caste men.
  • 21. Honwana 2005
  • 22. Lewis, M. A, and Lockheed M.E (2006) ‘Social exclusion: the emerging challenge in girls’ education’.
  • 23. DFID/McLean Hilker and Fraser 2009

Identifying Youth

This guide follows the United Nations in defining ‘youth’ as persons of 15 to 24 years. This is helpful in capturing many of those who have finished schooling, are sexually active, and facing livelihoods/unemployment issues and the wider effects of structural poverty.

However, it is necessary to go beyond the age dimension, and additionally focus on the transitional experiences of being young.24 This means acknowledging localised cultural understandings of childhood and adulthood. On the one hand, these may construct youth as something which lasts well into one’s 20s – particularly if economic realities exclude young adults from work, home ownership or marriage. On the other hand, in many poverty situations, ‘adult’ care/working responsibilities begin before the age of 15.25

Identifying youth is not about artificial and potentially divisive classification of different age cohorts; it is part of ensuring that none of the population, young or old, is excluded from potentially unifying development processes.

  • 24. DFID 2007, 2009, World Bank 2007
  • 25. World Bank 2007, UN 2007

The diversity of youth

Youth are a heterogeneous group, and their life experiences, cultural background, education, gender, social group and economic status can be very different, depending on where they live. Understanding the dynamics of youth in every local context is therefore essential. Each generation of youth faces different challenges, and so when working with, and planning for youth it is important to ask: which youth?

However, there are some generalisations we can make:

  • Young people share some characteristics with both children and adults. As with all age groups they require continuous recognition and provision of their rights. They may require care and protection; they always need “support, autonomy, the provision of opportunities, responsibilities, training in marketable skills and empowerment as they emerge to become fully-fledged adults in society”.26
  • Segregation, silencing and (gendered) disadvantage of young people has been a feature of most societies, traditional and modern.
  • In their life history, a young person goes through multiple transitions: physical, emotional, cognitive and social. Without appropriate investment in young people in accordance with their rights, these transitions carry risks.

“Many, even those who reach lower secondary levels, can hardly read or write and are unprepared to cope with the practicalities of daily life. In several African countries, half or fewer of all young women ages 15 to 24 can read a simple sentence after three years of primary school... Many young people do not know basic facts that could save their lives, such as what causes HIV/AIDS, at a time when many begin sexual activity. Knowledge about condom use is very low regardless of grade attained in both high- and low-HIV prevalence countries.” World Development Report 2007, World Bank

  • 26. Woollcombe D./ Shumacher 2007

Youth Participation: an overview

Defining Participation

Participation is a commonly used approach and concept within development. It has numerous definitions, for example, the World Bank has defined participatory development as:

“... a process through which stakeholders influence and share control over development initiatives and the decisions and resources which affect them.” World Bank, 1994, pi

DFID’s definition of participation is linked to a rights perspective as follows:

“... enabling people to realise their rights to participate in, and access information relating to, the decision-making processes which affect their lives.” DFID, 2000

There is increasing interest in youth participation, driven to some extent by the discourse on children’s rights.27 However, this has been limited, and is often only at a superficial level, in the sense that young people are often included in one-off discussions, where their contributions of ‘voice’ do not actually affect core structural policy decisions.

  • 27. See also Roger Hart’s ladder model of participation, ‘The theory and practice of involving young citizens in community development and environmental care’, Earthscan 1997 and Phil Treseder’s adaptation of it in ‘Empowering children and young people’, Save the Children 1997.

Youth as assets

an active approach

A shift in working with young people, and valuing them as assets: as advisors, colleagues and stakeholders is crucial if development policies are to be truly representative and effective. Youth participation: the active, informed and voluntary involvement of people in decision-making and the life of their communities (both locally and globally) is vital if this is to be achieved. In ascending order of responsibility, young people can participate in development as beneficiaries, partners and leaders (the DFID-CSO three-lens approach). Participation means work with and by young people, not merely work for them.28 Core values donor agencies should adopt to ensure participation are:

  • Advocacy for youth as assets to development;
  • Recognising young people’s agency and dynamism;
  • Building youth-adult partnerships and understanding local attitudes towards youth;
  • Prioritising excluded youth.
Box 4: Participation in practice

At an operational level, participation is about:

  • Information-sharing: people are informed in order to facilitate collective and individual action.
  • Consultation: people are consulted and interact with an organisation, which can take account of their feedback.
  • Decision-making: people have this role, which may be theirs or joint with others, on specific issues of a policy or project;
  • Initiating action: people are proactive and able to take the initiative.

 

(Adapted from Bhatnagar and Williams, 1992 for World Bank)

  • 28. Participation is seen to comprise different types and levels of engagement. Participation has often been characterised as a ladder (Sherry Arnstein, 1969 and many subsequent variations).

Participation is an ongoing process

Young people’s participation is about far more than gathering their views in surveys or listening to limited numbers of representatives (see Figure 3). Formal consultation and dialogue is useful to the extent that it a) guides decisions; and b) genuinely represents a body of opinion and experience (see Box 4). However, it should be part of a process whereby young people progress to greater rights and responsibilities (citizenship); from being the targets of outreach, to being actively engaged in the planning and implementation of development interventions.

Ultimately, organisations and individuals highly committed to youth participation may want to proceed to a position of co-management29 where youth are working with older adults, and are becoming development professionals or leading political actors themselves. This is a key aspect of the empowerment process at the core of youth-led development, which always acknowledges the importance of local contexts and cultural values and practices. We cannot simply start with the English term ‘participation’ and look for equivalents in other languages. Instead we should look at actual practices by and with young people, and try to understand them in their social and cultural settings.30 To be able to participate, young people need to be empowered.31 This involves supporting the development of skills such as working in a group, public speaking, and confidence to be able to communicate and interact with a range of stakeholders. The process of participation and empowerment is not about actions simply prescribed by others. Rather, it cultivates opportunities for young people to develop skills and competencies in a climate of mutual respect and understanding.32

Whilst formal consultation and dialogue may be the most visible form of youth participation, there is a range of less visible, but no less important forms, which involve young people as beneficiaries, partners and leaders.

Figure 3: Youth participation as an iceberg33

Visible and invisible Youth Participation

  • 29. Further literature on this can be provided by Peace Child International and see http://www.co-management.info
  • 30. Liebel and Saadi in Percy-Smith and Thomas (2010), ‘A handbook of children and young people’s participation.’
  • 31. Hart 1992, World Bank 2007, GTZ 2008
  • 32. GTZ 2008
  • 33. Developed by Andrew Robertson

Obstacles to youth participation

There are obstacles to youth participation which donor agencies should be aware of. They are:34

Poor education and training

Education systems often fail to prepare young people adequately to participate in decision-making. They do not develop the necessary analytical skills for critical thinking or problem-solving through participatory, active learning. In some cases young people are given the opportunity to participate in decision-making without ensuring that they receive adequate training or access to the appropriate information that would enable them to make informed decisions.

Weak infrastructure

In many countries, young people lack direct access to institutional systems and structures within governments, the media and private and civil society sectors. This severely impedes their ability to advocate for their rights. In the rare cases where young people have been able to influence or make decisions, barriers within complicated infrastructure have tended to limit implementation. This destroys young people’s confidence and trust in such mechanisms.

Inequality and exclusion

Addressing inequality and the social exclusion of particular groups of young people is a big challenge within the youth sector, even for youth organisations. Creative mechanisms, such as the use of radio to reach out (to rural illiterate youth in particular), must always be strived for and reviewed.

Cost

It is wrongly argued that involving young people in decision-making at all levels is more expensive than involving adults. The positive financial repercussions of allowing young people to determine something that may have an impact on their own lives and others, and may be more readily accepted or practical, are usually overlooked.

  • 34. Adapted from UNICEF 2009

Overcoming Obstacles

As a starting point, donor agencies should always consider using international and national frameworks which enshrine the rights of young people to participate in development as a mechanism for overcoming the above obstacles (see policy frameworks). In doing so, it is also crucial to speak out for the rationale for engaging young people, who represent a growing proportion of national populations and are increasingly affected by development issues.

Many of the above obstacles can be overcome by challenging the perceptions and values of colleagues, key stakeholders, and gatekeepers for youth (see Figure 4) through dialogue. Transforming and negotiating values for working with and for youth is crucial to fostering an enabling environment for youth participation in development. Youth participation is action orientated – a process rather than an end in itself, and therefore is embedded in managing relationships effectively.

When working with young people it is vital to consider and acknowledge the decision-making (or power) dynamics of any given situation, because young people are often in situations where decisions are being made for them, and exerted over them by older adults and institutions.

There are instead more positive forms of decision-making relations to consider. These are:

Working with young people: Through collaboration and collective action, implying mutual trust, joint learning and collaboration (youth as partners).

Empowering young people: Through supporting the development of their personal capabilities and feelings of self-worth and confidence (creating youth as leaders and initiators of development).

Realising young people’s right to participation is the responsibility of a wide range of actors. Each actor (as well as collaborating with others) represents a potential arena for participation – be it an institution or social group:

Networks which bring together these different stakeholders can help to identify and address obstacles to participation, e.g., sharing and learning networks (see Appendix 1) and youth working groups.

In the next section we turn to policy frameworks for working with young people.

Figure 4: Key stakeholders for youth35

Key Stakeholders for youth - Adapted from CYP 2007 p. 14

  • 35. Adapted from CYP 2007 p. 14

Policy frameworks

In this section we explore the policy frameworks for working with young people. 

Dialogue - (C) Student Partnerships Worldwide

Key Policies

International policies include useful concepts and resources to draw from, and national policies often highlight the nuances of youth issues and the attitudes to young people in a country. They will convey the extent to which youth policy is mainstreamed across sectors/departments, and indeed whether it exists at all.

Key National Policies

  • (National) youth policy
  • Poverty reduction strategy papers
  • Education strategy
  • Adolescent sexual and reproductive health strategy
  • Employment strategy – in particular national action plans for youth employment
  • Rights framework (such as the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child)
  • Gender policy

Part two of the guide provides information on how to involve young people in the policy process (see case studies 6-9). See also the Youth Guidance Project blog36 for two country-specific examples of youth-related policies (from Uganda and Nepal), which also provide an overview of the key issues affecting youth in these respective countries.

Key International Policies

There has been a growth in policies from bilateral, regional and multilateral agencies, specifically discussing youth in developing countries. They offer a rich source of information on the situation facing youth and how the issues of young people can be strategically managed. These policies have been used as a basis for the literature review of the guide, and include:

  • NORAD (2005). ‘Three billion reasons – Norway’s development strategy for children and young people in the south’.
  • Swiss Agency for Development and Co-operation Youth Policy (2007).
  • UNFPA (2005). ‘The case for investing in young people as part of a national poverty reduction strategy’.
  • Commonwealth Secretariat (2007). ‘The Commonwealth plan of action for youth empowerment 2007-2015’.
  • Danida (2007). ‘Children and young people in Danish development co-operation’.
  • United Nations (2007). ‘World Youth Report 2007 – young people’s transition to adulthood: progress and challenges’.
  • UNFPA (2007). ‘Framework for action on adolescents and youth: opening doors with young people: 4 keys’.
  • World Bank (2007). ‘World Development Report 2007 – Development and the next generation’.
  • Africa Commission (2009).37 ‘Realising the potential of Africa’s youth – report of the Africa Commission’.

The two tables on the following pages highlight some important recommendations and frameworks derived from these international policies.

  • 36. http://blog.ygproject.org/2010/02/01/policies-relating-to-youth-in-uganda-nepal/
  • 37. All reports are easily available online

Agency Frameworks and Tools

Table 2: Agency frameworks and tools
Agency Framework
World Bank ‘Phases of Life’ of a young person: learning, working, staying healthy, forming families and exercising citizenship. Investment and policy to address each of these areas will enable youth to fulfil their potential.
Provide a set of indicators to measure progress towards youth goals. They stress the importance of evaluating the situation facing youth and also assessing youth strategies and programmes to establish what is effective.
‘Youth investments in the World Bank Portfolio’ (2009) A summary of World Bank interventions targeting youth during fiscal years 1995-2007. (Available here)
UNFPA (2007) Present ‘4 Keys’ for engaging youth: 1) Supportive policy making that applies the lens of population structure and poverty dynamics analyses; 2) Gender-sensitive, life-skills-based sexual and reproductive health (SRH) education; 3) Sexual and reproductive health services; and 4) Young people’s leadership and participation.
UNFPA/FHI (2008) Youth Participation Guide – assessment, planning and implementation. Illustrates how to increase the level of meaningful youth participation in reproductive health and HIV/AIDS programming at an institutional and programmatic level. The target audience includes senior and middle management, programme managers, staff involved in implementing activities, and youth. (Available here)
NORAD Outline a checklist for governments and donor agencies to use when they are developing new policy to ensure that they are considering children and youth and including them in any new policy. (Available here)
CYP/Commonwealth Secretariat Mainstreaming of youth across sectoral programmes. Provide ‘Government Action Points’ with indicators. For an adapted gender mainstreaming framework see ‘Policy and Planning’ and case studies 9 and 13.
CYP/UNICEF Youth participation toolkits (four parts). Together, the booklets provide a comprehensive framework for participation that can be adapted for various social and cultural environments. Roles adults can play in enabling youth participation; fitting participation into the life-cycle of a project or intervention and practical tools for making participation happen. (Available here)
UNICEF ‘Child and Youth Participation Resource Guide’ (2006), Resources on child and youth participation from Asia, Europe, North America, Latin America, Africa, Australia and the Pacific. (Available here)
 GTZ ‘Get Youth on Board!’ (2008) A toolkit for stakeholder collaboration and youth promotion based on an integrated and participatory approach. (Available here)
UN Programme on Youth ‘World Youth Report’ (2009) (To be published in 2010 and available here) The UN Programme on Youth is part of the Social Integration Branch within UNDESA.
World Programme of Action For Youth: 15 priority areas in three clusters: 1) Youth in the global economy; 2) Youth and their well-being; 3) Youth in civil society.
National Youth Agency (UK) Hear By Right: a tried and tested standards framework for organisations across the statutory and voluntary sectors to assess and improve practice and policy on the active involvement of children and young people. (Available here)

Key recommendations from international policies

Table 3: Summary of key recommendations from international policies
Policy Issue Recommendations Agency
Governance, voice and accountability Political will and capacity at national level is critical. Youth ministries in many Commonwealth countries have engaged peak youth organisations in formulating national youth policies; in order to effect change and achieve accountability to young people, these policies need to be multi- sectoral and use a mainstreaming approach to engage the main actors (heads of state, large ministries such as finance, planning etc). CYP, World Bank
Intensive advocacy by young people and youth practitioners is required to change perceptions and win commitment to the idea of young people as assets to national development. CYP
Build intergenerational partnerships (both within organisations and at community level) to improve receptiveness to youth voices. UNFPA, UNICEF
Post-conflict transitions and livelihoods Emphasise continuing education beyond primary level, vocational skills and enterprise education for decent work. Africa Commission, UN, YEN
Engage young people in social dialogue and rights education for long-term conflict prevention (Commonwealth “Respect and Understanding” agenda). CYP, UNAoC, UNICEF, UNDESA
Sexual reproductive health and rights Engage young people living with HIV/AIDS in decision-making throughout programme cycles. IPPF, UNAIDS, UNFPA
Acknowledge the bigger social picture including intergenerational factors of HIV transmission (transactional sex with older adults etc). UNAIDS
Social exclusion Address gender within any youth strategy – assessing issues where different genders are excluded and the need to adjust programmes to address this. NORAD, UNFPA, UN
Invest in protective factors throughout adolescence. Use a research-based approach to goal-setting, monitoring and evaluation in youth programming (Youth Development Index). UNICEF, CYP, UN
Explain young people’s position as inheritors and drivers of cultural and economic change, multiple identities and globalisation. UN, UNDP, UNAoC
Engage young people in poverty assessments and poverty strategy consultations, integrate with youth policy and macroeconomic policy. UNFPA, World Bank, CYP

In the next section we turn to sharing promising practice from different organisations’ experiences of youth participation in the form of a series of case studies and lessons learned for replication.

Part Two

Strategies and Case Studies

Introduction

This section of the guide concerns practical action in respect of youth participation. We use case studies to explore, via the three-lens approach, the different roles that young people can adopt. They are ‘how-to’ models, selected to help donor agencies investigate and learn from the experiences of others.

Importantly, these models are presented both as a learning process and also for replication. Note that they are not meant to be taken as standard because of the need for flexibility in implementation – they will require adaptation in different social, economic, political and cultural contexts.

This part of the guide is split into the following areas:

Case study development

Most case studies in the guide focus on Africa and Asia, with some being sourced through the learning from the Sharing and Learning Network (SLN) pilot countries Uganda and Nepal (see Appendix 1). Others have been sourced from partners and contacts within the Youth Working Group network via desk-based research in the UK. Case studies represent promising practice and have all been reviewed37 by the project committee and members of the wider network to ensure an informed level of quality. They do not represent a complete set of examples for youth participation but they are a solid foundation to begin with, and improve work with and for youth. The expectation is that this guide will promote youth participation, which will in turn provide more case studies in the future. The related resources for all the case studies are listed in Appendix 2.

Case study structure

The case studies are also identified by thematic area:

You can select the 'Case Studies' option below to access a full list of the case studies, or you can browse by theme and focus area using the links above and on the front page. 

What emerges from the case studies?

Added value of working with youth

  • Youth participation is a necessity for many development interventions, the relevance of which depends on the growing age group of 15 to 24 year olds. Societal change, including behavioural change, is often driven by young people.
  • Organisations report better results and greater awareness of young people’s needs, capacities and aspirations.
  • Young people have successfully advocated for greater respect for their rights, for example, in relation to early marriage, access to education, ending discriminatory practices and exploitative conditions of work.38
  • Young people consistently cite the acquisition of skills, enhanced confidence and self esteem, and greater awareness of their rights.
  • Parents report improved capacities and the positive benefits to local communities.
  • Young peer researchers can build a greater rapport with research participants, uncovering issues often hidden to adults.

Key issues to consider

  • Youth programmes are only part of the picture: supportive, co-ordinated legal and policy frameworks are key.
  • Tokenistic participation projects will only reinforce negative perceptions of piecemeal youth engagement. Programmes should clearly define accountabilities for making services accessible to excluded groups, and be backed by adequate budgets.
  • We have grouped the case studies to emphasise participation at each point in the intervention cycle with the aim of encouraging initiatives driven by participation at every stage (see Figure 5).
  • For lessons learned in each thematic area see Table 5 on the following page.


Figure 5: Youth participation and the intervention cycle39
Figure 5: Youth participation and the intervention cycle
  • 38. See also UNICEF 2004
  • 39. Adapted from CYP/UNICEF 2005

Lessons learned from the case studies

Table 5: Lessons learned from the case studies
Thematic area Lessons learned
Governance, voice and accountability

Youth structures and leaderships can benefit from cross-party or non-party support. However, too much isolation from mainstream political discourse (or government initiatives) can reduce their impact.

Youth mainstreaming is an ambitious proposition in most countries, but there are no clear alternatives given the cross-cutting nature of youth issues.


Young people can be successfully involved in executive decisions, e.g., budgeting, programme design and management, that go far beyond consultation.


Young people need to be skilled, experienced communicators in order to engage with older decision-makers in government and communities.

Post-conflict transitions and livelihoods

Programmes should address psychosocial needs and protective factors for conflict-affected youth.


There is demand for legal/political literacy work including voter education.

 

Vocational skills for displaced youth must proceed from a thorough market assessment.


Financing of livelihood interventions for conflict-affected youth has been successfully linked to clients’ outcomes (employment).


Violence prevention work addressing economic, political and cultural factors is also necessary in non-conflict regions such as the Caribbean.

Sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR)

Young people can make significant improvements to monitoring (methods and data collection), suggesting more appropriate/creative methodologies/indicators.


Gender-aware work in some countries is now addressing young men’s identities.

 

Community leaders can be successfully mobilised on the issue of adolescent SRHR.


Appropriate broadcast media campaigns can reach a third to over two-thirds of a given youth population.


Peer educators can more effectively communicate with their peers (particularly relevant when young people are disproportionately affected by SRHR issues).

Social exclusion40

Development partners are operating with various understandings (paradigms) of youth development, many of which fall short of an assets-based or participatory approach.


Involving young people in policy, planning or situation analysis creates an obligation to involve them in implementation, and to deliver concrete assistance.


Expectations of young people and government alike need to be managed. It can help to commit to minimum outcomes/quality standards at the beginning of a process.


Social exclusion issues call for understanding of the cases of exclusion, cultural sensitivity and imaginative outreach in appropriate languages.

 

Youth as a sector is itself marginalised; mainstreaming is the appropriate response.

  • 40. This thematic area has been added because it is a cross-cutting theme for youth participation.

Organisational Development

Defining organisational development

Organisational development refers to improving an organisation’s structures, systems, and processes; in particular how they work with young people. This is achieved through processes of negotiation, reflection and learning. This section of the guide presents case studies about preparing for working with young people and making the first steps.

The added value of working with young people

In order to support participation externally, organisations need to practice it internally, demonstrating accountability to young citizens. That means bringing younger people into the organisation and its core networks and collaborating with them to make subtle adjustments to working culture where necessary. Young people can bring new, creative and dynamic suggestions to the table, which can help catalyse improved organisational values and systems. This can be achieved by involving young people as volunteers, interns and staff, and ensuring their representation on boards, committees and task teams (with guidance and training as necessary).

Initial steps

Some of the key questions to ask when considering how young people can become more involved in your organisation:41

  1. What are we aiming to achieve?
  2. Where have we got to so far?
  3. What will young people get out of it?
  4. Are we prepared to resource it properly?
  5. Why have we not done it before?
  6. Are we prepared to involve young people from the start?
  7. Are we being honest with the young people? (Have we managed their expectations?)
  8. What are our expectations?
  9. Are we prepared to give up some power? (To listen and follow through on some of their suggestions)
  10. Are we prepared to take some criticism?
  11. Do we recognise this as a long-term commitment?
  12. Are we prepared to build in changes long term and not just have a one-off event?

For many organisations, these questions can only be fully resolved by committing to a mainstreaming approach, whereby young people are targeted and engaged within organisational development, policy and planning, implementation and monitoring and evaluation.

In order to advocate for governments to mainstream youth, it is important to begin with your own organisations and gain experience. Resources for mainstreaming as applied to government are appended to case studies 9 and 13; much of this material is applicable to other partners also.

Leading youth-focused change © YEAH Uganda

  • 41. National Youth Agency 2007

Overcoming the barriers

Barriers to youth participation within organisational development

Below are some of the key barriers you may face:

  • Overcoming scepticism and ambivalence within your office is a substantial challenge. Young people are often excluded from contributing to organisational development because there is still a lack of confidence about the meaning, value and methodologies of participation with young people.
  • Limited knowledge and capacity among colleagues of how to work with young people.
  • Ensuring adequate financial resources are directed towards working with youth.

It may be helpful to keep in mind the simple four-step model of planned change:42

  1. Diagnosis: analysing the current situation and identifying the desired goal and the problems faced in attaining it;
  2. Unfreezing: reducing the forces that maintain the status quo or that perpetuate undesirable behaviours or attitudes within the organisation;
  3. Moving: taking action to shift behaviours and attitudes to the desired state; and 
  4. Refreezing: stabilising the new situation so that it becomes the norm in the organisation (until the next cycle of change).

Overcoming the barriers: building partnerships

Working with youth networks

To build staff capacity and prepare for effective action, it is crucial to examine the expertise and resources around you, build alliances and draw on knowledge networks. Relevant actors43 include:

  1. Political youth organisations: 
    • Youth organisations/wings of political parties 
    • Student associations 
    • Independent political youth wings
  2. Civil society organisations (non-religious):
    • NGO affiliated e.g., Youth Red Cross
    • Independently initiated and supported by adults e.g. the Commonwealth Youth Exchange Council, Scouts
    • Self-initiated (by young people) e.g., SPW 
  3. Religious organisations 
  4. Youth centres 
  5. Youth councils
  6. Virtual – online forums (often advocacy and resource related)

Funding organisations should ensure that any partner:

  • Has skilled and enthusiastic staff, proven organisational effectiveness and sound accountability systems in place;
  • Understands the importance of gender equality and targeting excluded youth as a priority;
  • Recognises the importance of building strong youth-adult partnerships;
  • Is aware of, or integrated within, youth networks.

Working with youth on boards

Another way to overcome barriers is to engage young people on decision-making boards. In this way colleagues and partners will see firsthand the positive contributions that young people can make.

Youth boards/advisory groups, or youth participation on existing boards represent sustainable and effective ways of integrating youth perspectives into your organisation. It may be part of determining strategy and operations concerning youth. Reflect on what structures your organisation already has in place that young people could become a part of – it is not always necessary, efficient or effective to set up parallel structures.

Some examples:

  • The World Bank works with youth advisory groups.44
  • Young people representing national youth councils are involved in governing the Commonwealth Youth Programme through their seats at the Commonwealth Youth Ministers Meeting and its preparatory regional advisory boards (for Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific).
  • Young people serve on boards of UNICEF, the International Planned Parenthood Federation, the Women’s Refugee Commission (case study 11) and others.
  • Young people are trustees of the Commonwealth Youth Exchange Council and the UK National Youth Agency.
  • See case study 5 on UN-HABITAT, where young people are leading on the allocation of funds for youth-focused initiatives.

Working with young people in professional roles

Volunteering and internships still have a role in many organisations. Yet to enable young people to fully contribute to an organisation it is important to move beyond short-term/unpaid positions and consider the professional roles they can play (particularly for over-18s as demonstrated in case study 4). There are particular considerations when hiring young people. These include:

Getting the balance right: between hiring those with some existing development and work experience, and realising the full potential of less experienced individuals.

Finding strong applicants: it is always important to advertise positions using a variety of media, such as radio, television, print media and the internet (including social networking sites) to make sure that you reach as wide a target audience as possible.

Checking motivation and commitment: avoid applicants who are mainly interested in status and privileges.

Support and training: provide the right level of induction, support, supervision and training to ensure that young people are able to succeed in the role.

A DFID young reporter interviewing the DFID Permanent Secretary, Dr Nemat (Minouche) Shafik

Case studies in this section

We now turn to five case studies that demonstrate youth participation in organisational development:

  • Connecting the organisation with young people’s realities on the ground (case study 1);
  • Diagnosing how far youth have been integrated in the organisation (case study 2);
  • Accessing youth human resources (case study 3 and case study 4);
  • Putting young people in control of financial resources through a youth board (case study 5).
  • 42. Based on the model originated by Kurt Lewin (Huse and Cummings, 1985), which is still relevant today. Other relevant strategies include soft systems approaches.
  • 43. GTZ 2008
  • 44. Ishii A. (2008) ‘Youth Advisory Groups’ HDNCY No.6

1. Adviser Field Visits (DFID Tanzania)

Adviser Field Visits

Field visits enable a diverse range of community members, including community leaders, youth club members and young women to express their viewpoints to decision-makers.

In 2007 DFID Tanzania’s key advisors were brought into direct contact with target beneficiaries. The two-day ‘reality check’ consultations and visits were an important part of assessing local government accountability mechanisms, building on the aims of the DFID Tanzania Country Assistance Plan 2006-10.

Problems addressed

  • Development policy and practice can end up being based on inaccurate or dated understandings of the reality of poor people’s lives and circumstances.
  • Donor agencies and governments have minimal contact with the evolving realities for young people and their communities on the ground. This case study will be useful for organisations where this is not yet ongoing standard practice.

Objectives

  • To gain direct connection between decision-makers and poor/excluded groups;
  • To gain understanding of the success and challenges of implementing policies on the ground, particularly for policy development and implementation;
  • To learn of implementing partner and local government practices in order to assess the reforms needed.

Youth as beneficiaries

  • Young people feature as residents in the localities visited by participants in the programme, with the opportunity to share their experiences. Policies improved, which in turn benefited young people.

Youth as partners

  • A ‘partner’ approach would involve young people co-facilitating and conducting the visit.

Process

  • Reality checks are planned and organised with the theme agreed in advance. For this example, government accountability mechanisms was the requested thematic area to be checked. The implementing partner, Students Partnership Worldwide, then began the process of engaging local government authorities, local NGOs and service providers, local councillors, and citizen groups.
  • A draft timetable was designed and fed back to the relevant DFID representative, discussed and agreed, after which SPW led the process of consulting and sensitising participating government personnel. The reality check itinerary included meetings with the above groups, project site visits, and focus group discussions with citizens:
    • Meeting with village executive officer, ward executive officer and village chairperson;
    • School visit and interaction with community action group member;
    • Interaction with young people (volunteer peer educators);
    • Community festival and youth centre visits.

Results

  • DFID advisors were better able to understand local government operations, which enabled a more effective government accountability strategy to be developed.
  • Increased personal motivation and commitment to development for the poorest.
  • Clear communication of the co-operative intentions of large institutions regarding the role of poor people in development processes.
  • Increased accountability for effective utilisation of resources and implementation of high-level policies and strategies.

Lessons learned

  • Visits should take place where organisations are already working in order to achieve the objectives.
  • Time and care must be taken to ensure that the visit is culturally sensitive and not a token consultation. This can be achieved by involving and consulting local community members in design, as appropriate.
  • Delegations should meet with local citizens both together and separately from their local leaders.
  • Target groups should be briefed and debriefed in order to clarify expectations.
  • Partners should ideally have a pre-existing relationship with the donor agencies in order to maximise impact.
  • Particular costs to consider: refreshments for local community participants.

Potential challenges

  • Urban location of government/donor agency staff and their distance from isolated rural areas where host communities reside.
  • Without careful attention to setting, cultural formality and politeness may impede the ability of citizens to communicate openly, especially young people.

For further information contact:

Students Partnership Worldwide, www.spw.org or DFID Tanzania

Youth in the community - Photo © Students Partnership Worldwide

Additional Resources: 

1) Internal guidelines adapted from Action Aid's Training Manual on Action Aid – Immersion trips

2) Resources on the following website: www.planotes.org

Youth Engagement Lens: Beneficiaries
Operational Area: Organisational Development

2. Youth Audit (UNFPA/UNCT Nepal)

Youth Audit

By conducting a youth audit, donor agencies are applying a mechanism that will enable them to track and evaluate the ‘value added’ of working with and for young people over time. This internal data is often not recorded.

In 2009 UNFPA Nepal began the process of developing their country-level strategy for young people. This began with making an assessment of how they are currently engaging youth, both through their programmes and also within the organisation. The Youth Guidance Project (YGP) team assisted with this initial audit by developing a questionnaire. The UN Country Team (UNCT) and UNFPA then assisted the Nepal United Nations Youth Advisory Panel (UNYAP) to develop a more detailed assessment tool, referred to as a youth scorecard. The UNYAP is advocating use of the youth scorecard as a standard guideline for UN country teams in Nepal to develop a co-ordinated country youth action strategy.

Problems addressed

  • Organisations seeking to deepen their work with youth need to assess their own internal systems as well as their programmes.
  • There is currently a lack of audit tools for assessing the status of youth and youth issues within UN organisations, which is crucial in a country where one third of Nepal’s population is aged 10 to 24.

Objectives

  • To enable organisations to understand and analyse their current efforts with young people.
  • To involve staff in reflection about the potential for youth engagement.
  • To start viewing youth as a cross-cutting issue for the organisation, and to consider mainstreaming.

Youth as beneficiaries

Audit findings indirectly impact on all young people reached by the organisation’s work.

Youth as partners

Twelve young people between the ages of 19 and 29 (from UNYAP) helped to design, review and pilot the scorecard, making shared decisions with adults. Young women were included on this team, including those from underrepresented ethnic groups.

Process

  • The scorecard was developed by UNYAP and the UNFPA youth programme officer. It was based on IPPF standards, the YGP questionnaire and UN gender scorecard.
  • To ensure the practicality of the tool, in November 2009 UNFPA supported two UNYAP members to conduct a district level pilot in Dang, a district in midwestern Nepal.
  • In Dang they visited 10 village development committees and interacted with the young girls from UNFPA’s Choose your Future classes, young people and peer educators from local youth clubs/organisations and the youth wing of the Family Planning Association of Nepal.
  • The young evaluators also visited local children from child clubs that are supported by UNICEF’s Decentralised Action for Children and Women Programme and residents who have been trained by and benefited from UNDP’s Micro-Enterprise Development Programme in Dang.
  • Findings will be presented to UNCT for endorsement of the tool as a standard guideline, and to feed into UNFPA’s annual workplan process for 2010.

Results

  • UNFPA Nepal felt this was an effective way to assess the organisation’s current youth efforts and start the process of developing youth strategies.
  • Local level government: acknowledged the audit as “an effective way to gather youth opinions from the grassroots level.”
  • Perceptions of young people were changed, particularly among district and local government officials.

“The assessment triggered our thoughts and reflected the true level of youth engagement in UNFPA Nepal’s work. This assessment also helped us reinforce the message of meaningful youth engagement in our work by making us rethink the notion of youth participation and its position within the organisation.” Aradhana Gurung-Shrestha, UNFPA Nepal

Lessons learned

  • Different organisations are engaging young people at varying levels, which necessitates the use of different audit tools. UNFPA found it useful to use the YGP questionnaire to conduct a quick broad assessment, and then go on to understand the more detailed picture of their engagement with youth through the youth scorecard.
  • It is useful from an advocacy point of view to have young people implementing the scorecard, and for staff at senior levels to commit to it.
  • The scorecard is a useful mechanism for supporting organisational change processes, where there is commitment and value placed upon using a participatory approach.

Potential challenges

  • Securing adequate staff time for reflection and response; this necessitates support at senior levels.
  • Getting staff to be honest and open about their efforts, successes and challenges.
  • Ensuring organisational commitment to act on findings and recommendations.

For further information contact:

UNFPA Nepal, http://nepal.unfpa.org/en/index.php

Developing youth strategies - Photo © UNFPA Nepal

Additional Resources: 

1) The YGP Questionnaire; this offers advisers a quick analysis mechanism in order to assess how their agency is working with and for youth. View the YGP Quick Questionnaire (Doc).

2) The United Nations Youth Advisory Panel (Nepal) UNYAP Terms of Reference (Doc).

3) The United Nations Country Team in Nepal’s Youth Score Card (Doc) (November 2009). This is a more involved audit process, which is more comprehensive than the YGP audit. Depending on your organistaional set up one may be more relevant than the other.

4) IPPF, ‘Setting the Standards for Youth Participation’: http://www.bit.ly/due9DN (Website)

5) Family Health International’s ‘Institutional and Assessment Planning Tool’ see p. 37 of: http://www.bit.ly/bmvfb8 (PDF)

6) The Commonwealth’s ‘Putting Youth Engagement into Practice’ see page 15 of: http://www.bit.ly/a3qMP7 (PDF)

Youth Engagement Lens: Beneficiaries, Partners
Operational Area: Organisational Development

Resource: The Youth Scorecard

This represents an overview of the five main sections in the scorecard. Staff and young colleagues are encouraged to go through each of the five sections and rate performance accordingly. The scorecard will provide the basis for the development of a log frame and strategic action plan on youth.

A. Shared values

  • All staff/volunteers work towards the common goal of ensuring the wellbeing of all young people;
  • There is a common understanding and vision of youth participation.

B. Organisational capacity

  • Youth-specific policies including mission statements, constitutions, bylaws, strategies and operational guidelines are in place;
  • Youth representation in decision-making and policy-making bodies;
  • Resources are allocated to facilitate and support youth participation;
  • Systems are in place for co-operating with other youth organisations (as well as for co-operating within the organisation).

C. Selection, recruitment and sustaining

  • There is a system in place for the recruitment of new volunteers (both adults and young people) that promotes youth participation in governance and decision-making;
  • There is a system in place for the recruitment of staff (both adults and young people) that promotes youth participation;
  • There is a system in place to sustain youth participation;
  • There is a system in place for training and orienting young people on the agency’s goals and vision.

D. Roles and responsibilities

  • The roles and responsibilities of young people who participate in governance and decision-making are clearly stated and understood;
  • There is a transparent organisational structure (governance and administration) for monitoring the roles and responsibilities of young people in participation.

E. Youth-focused programming

  • Programme addresses the needs and wellbeing of young people from excluded and disadvantaged groups;
  • Programme ensures the participation of young people in the planning, implementation and monitoring and evaluation stages.

Each of the five areas is then further developed and rated, for example:

F. Youth-focused programming

This section focuses on the UN programme’s procedures on how agencies incorporate youth issues into their programmes. Does the agency recognise the diversity of young people? How much do young people get involved in its programming procedures?


1. UN programme addresses the needs and wellbeing of young people from excluded and disadvantaged groups

  Yes, sufficient Yes, but not sufficient Not addressed
a. Is comprehensive information on target groups, particularly excluded groups available?      
b. Are project staff sensitised on the needs and rights of young people and do they have the capacity to deal with these issues appropriately?      


2. UN programme ensures the participation of young people in the planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation stages

  Yes, sufficient Yes, but not sufficient Not addressed
a. Do young people engage in structured discussion during the planning stage?      
b. Do young people develop work plans in collaboration with adults?      
c. Do young people give feedback and comments to develop the work plan?      
d. Do young people lead the activity?      
e. Do young people contribute and have influence on the outcomes?      
f. Do programmes have opportunity of BOTH youth-youth communication and youth-adult communication?      
g. Are decision-making roles shared among young people and adults?      
h. Are young people involved in selecting indicators to be tracked and organising how they are monitored?      
i. Are young people involved in gathering information, analysis and reporting?      
j. Are young people involved in review meetings of activity progress?      


Log frame for action plan: Youth-focused programming

Which standards are we not addressing well? How are we going to address them? When? Who? Resources?
         

3. Youth Fellowships (UNFPA)

Youth Fellowships

“We need you and your ideas, because the difference between our world today and our world tomorrow rests with you. You are the future, and more so, you are the present.” Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, UNFPA executive director.45

UNFPA’s Special Youth Programme (SYP) addresses the need to engage youth at various levels of the organisation: as trainees, advisors, and consultants. Young fellows have brought many new ideas. Guidelines place emphasis on recruitment from excluded groups.

Problems addressed

Young people are often given token roles to play within organisations, and many unpaid intern positions devalue and reinforce a superficial level of youth engagement.

Objectives

  • To sensitise UNFPA staff on the need for working with young people and prove young people’s ability to contribute;
  • To engage youth in policy development and programming;
  • To help build the capacity of young people and strengthen their leadership skills in addressing population, gender and SRHR issues.

Youth as beneficiaries

As trainees, fellows undergo orientation on the following themes related to UNFPA’s work, such as gender, SRHR, and population issues.

Youth as partners

They can also review country annual reports, advise on policy improvements, and develop national youth profiles of their own national country (to inform strategy).

Process

  • Six fellows from developing countries are selected to join UNFPA for a remunerated internship for a nine-month period, based on their programme experience in development work.
  • A training plan for young fellows is established, depending on their needs.
  • They spend four-and-a-half months at UNFPA Headquarters, beginning with two weeks of orientation.
  • This is followed by a four-and-a-half month fellowship in the UNFPA country office in their own country.
  • Mentors monitor the fellows’ professional development and provide regular feedback.
  • Fellows take up (or follow on from) projects they are interested in, such as setting up a youth advisory panel or starting an e-course for young people. They also give the office representative and staff feedback on the youth-friendliness of their programmes and practices.
  • A presentation acknowledging the young fellows’ work is key to forging the youth-adult partnership model of the fellowship.
  • Former fellows are encouraged to continue their engagement with UNFPA through offering guidance to new recruits and participating in an online forum.

Results

  • UNFPA has now hosted five groups of fellows, a total of 26 fellows from 25 countries.
  • A survey showed that SYP has shaped fellows’ aspirations, empowered them with invaluable knowledge and encouraged them to use it to benefit their countries.
  • Through their input, the fellows have contributed to UNFPA’s advocacy, policy and programme work at a global, regional and country level, which has included inputting into the strategic global and regional plans for 2008-2011.
  • The 2009 fellows also contributed to the development of an advocacy toolkit to involve youth in PRSPs.

“This fellowship strengthened the capacity of our partners (ministries as well as NGOs) in the area of youth participation and partnering with youth; the fellow also contributed to their increased knowledge in regard to the problems and challenges faced by our country’s youth.” UNFPA country office supervisor

Lessons learned

  • Fellows have been described by UNFPA staff as having creativity, resourcefulness, flexibility, the capacity to generate innovative ideas and the desire to learn.
  • Acknowledgment of the efforts made is the best way to further motivate the young.
  • Gender balance and social diversity of fellows may require affirmative action.
  • To reach excluded youth without access to computers, UNFPA partners and country offices need to assist such young people in filling out applications.
  • The Special Youth Programme works on the youth-adult partnership model: this requires regular open communication channels.
  • Particular costs to consider: medical/insurance cover.

Potential challenges

  • Lack of staff commitment if the fellows’ activities are not built into overall organisational planning.
  • Working in a multicultural environment requires strong communication skills and an understanding of collective and individual working dynamics.

For further information contact:

youth@unfpa.org or http://www.unfpa.org/adolescents/participation.htm

Fostering learning and innovation - Photo © Students Partnership Worldwide

  • 45. 2007 Fellowship report
Additional Resources: 

1) UNFPA Selection processes for fellowships (Word document)

2) UNFPAs Youth Fellowship Report (2007): http://www.bit.ly/bw4TuF (PDF)

3) Junior Professional Positions at the UN: http://www.bit.ly/amZSy1 (Website)

Youth Engagement Lens: Beneficiaries, Partners
Operational Area: Organisational Development

4. Young Consultants (Save/Ministry of Youth, Nepal)

Young Consultants

“Young people are often more provocative and can bring fresh new research methodologies or steer an unforeseen but highly informative avenue of a research project.” Rebecca Calder, Social Development Advisor, DFID Nepal

Involving young people in research can allow a greater depth of information to be gathered, and builds their skills. The Ministry of Youth and Sports, Save the Children, the Association of Youth Organisations Nepal (AYON) and Nepal Planning Commission carried out a situation analysis of young people by young people in the newly emerging post-conflict country. The case study was discussed and recorded by a Youth Guidance Project46 workshop. Young professionals can act as role models for other youth, and participants of the study aspire to be like the researchers.

Problems addressed

  • How to conduct research in such a way that youth feel open to express their ideas and opinions.
  • How to develop and support young people to fulfill professional roles in the organisation.

Objectives

  • To gather information that reflects the situation on the ground.
  • To recruit, train and support young people to be effective researchers.

Youth as partners

Six young people (20 to 29 years) trained to design and carry out research (consulted and informed).

Youth as beneficiaries

Five thousand young people participated as respondents, including youth from remote rural villages in Nepal. Ultimately, this report should benefit all young people in Nepal.

Process

  • Calls for applications via ten partners and youth networks;
  • Competitive selection, requirement of previous field experience of working with young people. Gender balance was also considered, as well as ensuring there was representation of the different caste and ethnic groups;
  • Group discussion involving 15 candidates, enabling young people to demonstrate their skills through a series of tasks including design of research methodology;
  • Technical/pastoral support from representatives of the partners, an independent research consultant and two academic advisors;
  • Young researchers broke down areas of inquiry and developed guidelines for focus group discussions, key-informant interviews, questionnaires and dialogue workshops;
  • Tools were piloted and reviewed;
  • Young people carried out research and compiled brief district reports;
  • The report was finalised by the research consultant.

Results

  • An effective way to bring youth participation into professional roles in the organisation;
  • Young people were able to establish strong bonds with local NGOs;
  • Beneficiaries were able to express themselves more openly to their peers and to a gender-balanced team.

“The young researchers are more flexible, more inquisitive and full of zeal hence they are easy to work with.” Robin Sitaula, executive director, Samriddhi Foundation/ research consultant, Status of Youth in Nepal

Lessons learned

  • Adults may hesitate to recognise young people as researchers; young people should be supplied with a detailed letter of introduction, outlining contacts and the training they have received.
  • Positions should be advertised by means appropriate to young people (including several modes of media);
  • In addition to technical skills, training for young professionals should include checking and discussing expectations and commitment. This should include talking about personal conduct in the field;
  • Particular costs to consider: team building prior to deployment.

Potential challenges

  • Post-conflict settings carry risks that should be understood and managed by all parties.
  • To manage the mobility of young people (e.g., the possibility they may enrol in education) the time frame of the research should be kept short, or contributions should be clearly mapped out and discussed from the start.
  • Young people may have expectations to work full time with the organisation after project or intervention completion. Staff should be open about whether this is possible from the beginning.

For further information contact:

Save the Children Alliance Nepal, http://www.savethechildren.net

Charting new ideas - Photo © Students Partnership Worldwide

  • 46. Sharing and Learning Network (SLN)
Additional Resources: 

1) ToR for Assessment in Nepal for the young researchers in Nepal

2) Save the Children (1999) Involving Young Researchers: http://bit.ly/9BeC6j  

3) The National Youth Agency UK: Young Researcher Network: http://bit.ly/bV3ySx 

4) Young Advisors ToR, adapted from the UK National Youth Agency.

5) The YGP SLN discussion in Nepal on research and M&E: http://bit.ly/c2Z4Xf  

Youth Engagement Lens: Beneficiaries, Partners
Operational Area: Organisational Development

5. Allocating Urban Youth Funds (UN-HABITAT)

Allocating Funds

Donor agencies can play a lead role in demonstrating young people’s capabilities in allocating resources, enhancing the capacity and interest of local and national governments to address youth issues.

Young people and adults share joint responsibility on the advisory board to The UN-HABITAT Opportunities Fund for Urban Youth-led Development. Established in 2009, the fund will award between USD $5,000 and $25,000 to organisations led by young people, aged 15 to 32 years, over two years (from the end of 2009), targeting youth-led initiatives in slums and squatter settlements that are in urgent need of financial support. The initial funding has been provided by the Norwegian Government.

Problems addressed

  • While many organisations partner with youth on various initiatives, few provide direct seed funding to youth organisations. UN-HABITAT recognises young people as active participants in the creation of sustainable human settlements.
  • Today’s youth are already conceiving, designing and implementing successful community initiatives in some of the most marginalised regions of the world.

Objectives

The special fund will support youth-led initiatives within the following areas:

  • Mobilising young people to help strengthen youth-related policy formulation;
  • Building the capacities of governments, nongovernmental and civil society and private sector organisations to ensure a better response to the needs and issues of young people;
  • Supporting the development of interest-based information and communication-oriented networks;
  • Piloting and demonstration of new and innovative approaches to employment, good governance, adequate shelter and secure tenure;
  • Sharing and exchange of information on best practices;
  • Facilitating vocational training and credit mechanisms to promote entrepreneurship and employment for young women and men, in collaboration with the private sector and in co-operation with other UN bodies and stakeholders;
  • Promoting gender mainstreaming in all activities of urban youth.

Youth as partners

Shared decisions with adults: elected young people form the advisory board, reviewing applications and allocating funds.

Youth as leaders

Some grant recipients are youth-initiated and directed projects.

Process

  • During the 21st session of the Governing Council at the UN, UN-HABITAT’s executive director was called upon to set up a special fund to support youth-led urban development initiatives. The operational guidelines, structures and application guidelines for the Opportunities Fund were set up through the following processes:
    • Consultation with global youth networks, and collaboration with the UN-HABITAT Youth Advisory Board;
    • A review of the Opportunities Fund during the 2009 Dialogue on Investing in Youth-Led Development. This brought together more than 60 grant makers, researchers, practitioners and youth to discuss how to best support the initiative.
  • A first call for applications (youth networks and media) was launched in March 2009. By June 2009 1,116 applications had been received from youth-led organisations in 86 countries.
  • Eligibility checks isolated 315 eligible projects. A majority of applications failed due to not being youth-led, operating in rural areas, or not being related to the objectives of the fund. Quality assessment was conducted and applications were scored on ten criteria. Many applications scored weakly on the quality of project design and sustainability.
  • More than 30% of shortlisted projects were from developing countries. An effort was made to include a balance of applications from different sub- regions, different size of grants and different categories of projects.
  • The Youth Advisory Board is overseeing the fund. It comprises 12 advisors, two per UN-HABITAT region, and will include one youth observer (representing young people with disabilities). In addition, there will be two observer members: one youth representative from informal settlements; and one external advisor, appointed by UN-HABITAT. Advisory board members are elected at the World Urban Youth Assembly to serve for a two-year period.

Results

  • The overwhelming response to the Youth Opportunities Fund (over 13,000 application form and information downloads) is a strong demonstration of the scale of need among youth in the developing world for the resources to realise their potential.

Lessons learned

  • Processing applications thoroughly is time consuming. In the period from 1 June to 1 September 2009 the secretariat of the fund spent a total of 330 workdays on different tasks related to processing the applications. Consultants, interns and volunteers were successfully recruited to support this.
  • It is crucial to conduct periodic reviews of youth boards (and the initiatives they oversee): such as in May 2009 which was conducted by a delegation including the Inter-American Development Bank, World Bank, and USAID.
  • Particular costs to consider: travel to the field to support the projects; training and capacity building; running a help desk for application processes.

Potential challenges

  • There are capacity barriers for small youth-led organisations in completing the application process for funding, these include lack of staff education, lack of access to adequate technology and lack of infrastructure or accreditation.
  • There were fewer applications received from regions where English is not commonly spoken. It is critical that all information related to such funds be translated into relevant language groups in order to facilitate access for all youth.

For further information contact:

Partners and Youth Section UN-HABITAT, Nairobi. Email: partners@unhabitat.org

Photo © UN-HABITAT

Additional Resources: 

1)  World Bank Youth Advisory Groups – checklist

2) UN Resolutions on engaging with urban youth:  http://bit.ly/cDKdC8

3) UN-HABITAT Global Campaign on Urban Governance: Youth, Children and Urban Governance:  http://bit.ly/91Anvh

Youth Engagement Lens: Partners, Leaders
Operational Area: Organisational Development

Policy and planning

Defining policy and planning

Policy and planning refers to the national and regional level development planning processes (e.g., supporting and formulating national development plans, poverty reduction strategies) that donor agencies and advisors have a key role to play in managing. In most developing countries young people make up the majority of the population and development issues disproportionately affect this group. Therefore, they are important stakeholders in planning processes and should be included in every stage. This section explains how donor agencies can ensure young people are included as leaders, partners and beneficiaries in local, regional and national decision-making structures.

What policy areas can young people contribute to?

Policy areas that participatory youth consultations would benefit include:

  • Sector specific policies, such as youth (case study 6) or SRHR (case study 13)
  • Country assistance plans (see part three)
  • Poverty reductions strategy papers/national development plans (case studies 8, 9)
  • Funding allocations (as we saw in case study 5)

Added value of working with young people

Young people can improve policy processes by bringing to it their knowledge, experience and commitment:

  • Young people are often most affected by urgent development issues (such as HIV/AIDS and unemployment) so they have an important role in sharing their on-the-ground experiences to inform policy.
  • Only young people themselves can express and convey the ever-changing nuances of the issues that face them in their everyday lives.
  • Consulting young people on policies that affect them will result in their long-term commitment to development processes.
  • Engaging young people in post-conflict countries in policy making can be important to minimise youth engagement in civil unrest. 
  • Young people can provide a link to local communities and the socially excluded.

Supporting and educating young people - Photo © Students Partnership Worldwide

Overcoming the barriers

Barriers to youth participation in policy and planning

Below are some of the key barriers to involving youth in policy formulation:

  • Current policy dialogue, consultation and formulation may take place in very formal environments only, excluding diversity.
  • The final stages of decision-making may only be made by a few very senior colleagues behind closed doors.
  • Youth and civil society consultations may be artificially separated from each other.

Much has been written on the importance of consulting youth as a human right; as well as an instrument to improve the effectiveness of policy and programming.47 Yet token consultations remain the biggest barrier to effective engagement. The important point is to think through: which youth, why, where, with whom and when it is relevant to consult. These are some of the common pitfalls to avoid:

Quick fix: the rushing in and out of real commitment by one-off interactions, which do not sustain the culture and processes of meaningful participation.

Lack of follow-up and ownership: participants should always be informed as to why and how any of their input may be used.

Conflict with organisational culture and procedures: i.e., it may be appropriate to incorporate youth participation into existing consultative mechanisms (as long as they provide a youth friendly space). Not every youth consultation needs to be highly informal and interactive.

Exclusiveness: make sure you are not focusing only on involving the youth ‘superstars’ who have already become a part of the system.48

Creating a policy that is disconnected from other policies, budgets and political champions.

Any consultative process towards developing a new national policy or plan, including sector-wide approaches, civil service reforms, or poverty reduction strategy papers should be checked for any potentially harmful effect on excluded populations, ensuring that they do not increase the number of those already excluded.49

Overcoming the barriers: consultation and dialogue

We believe that effective consultations are based on the premise of valuing diversity.

How does a youth consultation differ from other types of dialogue and policy consultation?

  • They can be more informal and participatory;
  • They should be based on shared values. Several governments have recognised this, including the UK government through its Hear by Right youth participation agenda. They are:
  1.  
    1. Young people’s involvement is a visible commitment that is properly resourced.
    2. Young people’s involvement is valued.
    3. Young people have an equal opportunity to get involved.
    4. Policies and standards for the participation of young people are in place, evaluated and improved.50

Overcoming the barriers: support for youth mainstreaming at a national level

All policy areas that touch upon young people can benefit from taking a ‘youth mainstreaming’ approach (see key terms), which is aimed at the following objectives:

  1. To assist government and non-state partners to implement youth and human rights commitments (World Plan of Action for Youth, Commonwealth Plan of Action for Youth Empowerment, Convention on the Rights of the Child etc);
  2. To build a network of organisations and individuals capable of making change;
  3. To create a policy framework that brings youth into national development planning, dialogue and debate;
  4. To meet young people’s practical needs: livelihoods, post-conflict transition, health and SRHR services;
  5. To meet young people’s strategic needs: gender equality, post-conflict transition, overcoming subordinate positions with regard to assets (land, property and credit), and voice in governance.

Political commitment at the highest level is essential for youth mainstreaming. The responsibility for change cannot be placed entirely on young people themselves, NGOs or the lead agency/ministry; the latter itself may need capacity building to increase its level of political status and influence. On the following page is a summary of actions that donor agencies can take in support (government action points are adapted from the Commonwealth Gender Management System (GMS) framework).

Case studies in this section

We now turn to five case studies that demonstrate youth participation in policy and planning, at:

  • 47. UNCRC; Save 2004; UNICEF 2009
  • 48. National Youth Agency 2007
  • 49. See UNICEF 2007
  • 50. National Youth Agency 2007

Action points for youth mainstreaming

Table 6: Action points for youth mainstreaming
1 Feasibility study/stakeholder analysis, including assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the enabling environment.

Donor agencies may carry out the study themselves if if the government lacks capacity.

 

Pooling resources with gender sector may be appropriate.

 

Age-disaggregated data is important for lobbying, as is donor agency commitment to implement findings of the study.

 

Donor agencies to insist on minimum standards for youth participation at an early stage.

2 Feasibility study report tabled in cabinet. Provide resource persons to answer cabinet queries and objections.
3 Review of national youth action plan – integrate a mainstreaming perspective into the plan in consultation with key stakeholders, and seek approval at cabinet level. This is an entry point for donor agencies to build state and civil society (including youth) capacity.
4 Youth mainstreamed into the national development plan (see resource for case study 9) by implementing mechanisms identified in the national youth action plan (including social appraisals). Ensure linkage with all relevant national and donor agency policies. Provide high-level national and international exposure for the initiative.
5

Setting up of mainstreaming structures: Youth management team – with representation from:

 

  • Youth focal points/inter-ministerial steering committee
  • Youth caucus in parliament 
  • Youth commission/council (civil society)

 

Ensure that civil society and youth participation in preceding stages is institutionalised within and through the youth commission/council.

 

This body provides a direct link between civil society and government. Should have an equity and rights brief; may report to a wider equality/human rights council concerned with gender, minorities and other issues.

6

Establishment/strengthening of linkages between the lead agency and other state and non-state stakeholders:

 

  • Parliamentarians
  • Youth NGOs
  • Academic institutions
  • Private sector
  • Media, etc.

 

Provide spaces in which stakeholders can interact. Share good practice from other countries and from gender sector.

 

Provide professional development pathways for youth and youth practitioners.

7 Strengthening the lead agency. Rationalise clustering of youth ministry with other ministries. (E.g., detach from sport or culture? Group with human resource/enterprise development, planning and gender?).

Leverage resources available for public sector reform. Articulate the linkages with equity and rights, growth, post-conflict transition, SRHR etc.

 

Ensure young people’s own knowledge base is harnessed, and that of youth practitioners.

 

Break out of ministerial ‘silos’ through consultation and technical assistance.

8 Development of a youth mainstreaming training programme in collaboration with higher education/ training institution(s) at the national or regional level.
9 Building of youth analysis/planning expertise in the different sectors in government, to influence sector plans.
10 Establishment of monitoring and evaluation, and reporting mechanisms.
11 Development of a programme of public awareness through the media that disconfirms negative stereotypes of young people. Ensure that communications are part of two-way social dialogue, and contribute to inter-generational solidarity (joined up advocacy agendas).

6. Bahrain’s National Youth Policy (UNDP)

National Youth Policy

To involve youth in policy formulation increases the chances of its success and uptake. Cross-sectoral youth policies are more effective: engaging different ministries in the process, such as education and health, enables the youth ministry to be mainstreamed. The consultative process develops young people’s skills so they are able to contribute more effectively to future policy initiatives.

The Government Department of Youth and Sport (GOYS) in Bahrain, supported and funded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) undertook a comprehensive 18-month nationwide process to assess the situation, needs and aspirations of Bahraini youth in order to inform the country’s first National Youth Policy (created in 2004).

Problems addressed

  • The consultations were designed to address a national lack of strategy and policy on working with and for youth.
  • The participation in national policy processes of young women; encouraged via a comprehensive outreach campaign (involving the use of radio call-ins, face-to-face street and remote online surveys to canvass their views).

Objectives

  • To build on the imagination, energy, opinions and talents of all young Bahraini women and men through their active participation in all phases of formulation of the strategy;
  • To develop a co-ordinated and holistic national youth strategy leading to an action plan for 2005 to 2009;
  • To build the capacity of young people, youth practitioners and others formulating the strategy

Youth as beneficiaries

Around 16,000 young people aged 15 to 30 (8.9% of the youth population) were engaged as respondents through focus group discussions, surveys, or as part of the consultation exercise and outreach for the Youth Voice Campaign.

Youth as partners

Over 100 young people were recruited and trained to co-ordinate the Youth Voice Campaign, taking an active role in conducting and promoting the research. Young people sat alongside civil servants and ministers on nine intergenerational committees (assigned, consulted and informed).

Process

Research took place over a nine-month period in 2004 to 2005 across nine thematic areas: education; health; employment; culture; information and communication technology; social security; environment; sports and leisure and civil and human rights. The process was divided into five sequential stages:

  1. Creating thematic working groups and conducting youth trainings;
  2. Information gathering through face-to-face surveys and focus groups;
  3. Outreach via community talk radio, website;
  4. Review and finalisation; involving UNDP technical staff, GOYS and youth working groups;
  5. Approval and promotion.

Results

  • An Implementation action plan, comprising five major strategy programmes, was drafted incorporating 96 of the 136 recommendations made in the strategy document. These included the formulation of: a national youth parliament; a national youth commission; a national youth development fund; and an inter- ministerial committee for youth affairs.

“I don’t know of any other exercise in the world that engaged youth at such a massive scale ...It’s certainly something other countries can learn from.” Peter Kenyon, project manager

“The participation of youth, in large numbers and from diverse backgrounds, was the number one achievement of the process.” Amal Al-Dossary, GOYS project focal point

Lessons learned

  • Large and complex processes require clear, transparent agreements between implementing parties at the outset to avoid delays and divergent expectations.
  • Sufficient time and resources should be allocated to ensure that all targeted youth (both in and out of formal education) are equipped to participate in consultation activities.
  • Training: not all young people respond to the same stimuli or means of communication. Good initial mapping of target audience and piloting will inform the right diversity of means to facilitate maximum participation.

Potential challenges

  • Globally, successes in national youth policy formulation, including participatory processes, have often been followed by failures in implementation, monitoring and evaluation. Some civil society groups in Bahrain have criticised the level of implementation of the action plan.

For further information contact:

UNDP Bahrain, registry.bh@undp.org 

Giving youth a voice - Photo © PANOS

Additional Resources: 

1) Bahrain Survey Questionnaire 

2) ‘Operations manual for the formulation of the Bahraini National Youth Strategy and Action Plan’ (including example surveys, timelines and project management materials):   http://bit.ly/buQujP

3) A 2009 profile of Bahrain’s youth policy with extensive reference to progress made in executing the Youth Strategy, as prepared for the International Association for National Youth Service (IANYS):  http://bit.ly/brmeEq

4) Making Commitments Matter: A Toolkit for Young People to Evaluate National Youth Policy (UNDESA):  http://bit.ly/ahQl2l

5) Get Youth On Board Toolkit on Youth Policies and Action plans (GTZ, 2008):  http://bit.ly/90yJFl

Youth Engagement Lens: Beneficiaries, Partners
Operational Area: Policy and Planning

7. Research Institutions and Social Dialogue (Government of Brazil)

Research Social Dialogue

Participatory research can help build grass roots capacity for understanding how public policy is created and can be influenced, resulting in a more informed public. Combined with reputable research institutions, it can have a powerful and convincing impact on governments.

In 2005, the Brazilian government sought the expertise of research institutions to lead on a series of policy dialogues with young people. The institutions commissioned were the Brazilian Institute of Social and Economic Analysis (IBASE), the Polis Institute, the Canadian International Development Research Centre (IDRC), and the Canadian Policy Research Networks. The Brazilian Youth Dialogue was an 18-month study51 that surveyed young Brazilians about their views on democracy and their role in society.

“Our goal is to share our data and analysis from this exercise with other countries and continents. Through this sharing, we hope to prompt ideas about new, more sensitive, rapid, and effective research methods which can address what is diverse, what is singular and what is universal. Above all, this research yields findings and discoveries that can denaturalise social injustices, not just for young Brazilians, but for the vast population of poor youth seeking better conditions of life in a profoundly unequal world.” IDRC 2009

Problems addressed

  • Young people account for nearly 33 million inhabitants in Brazil and 80% live in urban areas that lack access to basic services. The study was designed to engage these young people in identifying their needs and diagnosing the challenges they perceive need addressing in their localities in order to inform public policy and statutes on youth rights.

Objectives

  • To enable a cross section of young people (both inside and outside of the formal educational system) to support creating a national framework and strategy.
  • To identify the issues and policy areas to be addressed within a national policy on youth.

Youth as beneficiaries

Eight thousand young people (aged 15 to 24) responded to surveys as target beneficiaries. Twenty-seven per cent were school leavers and from the wider labour market. Their survey responses have impacted policy, which indirectly has positively impacted youth in Brazil.

Youth as partners

Nine hundred and thirteen young people took part in dialogue groups; helping to shape the areas for discussion.

Process

The Brazilian government discussed and agreed the parameters of the study with the research institutions. The research institutions then led the process of data collection including:

  • Quantitative Surveys: A questionnaire was administered to 8,000 young people between 15 and 24 years of age, asking 46 questions on topics such as education, family, work, media and perception of participation in politics. This provided the quantitative portion of the study. 
  • Qualitative focus/dialogue groups: Sub-set of respondents selected for qualitative study based on the ChoiceWork dialogue methodology (see following page). Two practitioners from the Canadian Policy Research Network were engaged to help adapt this to the Brazilian context and design the process.
  • Thirty-nine ‘dialogue days’ were organised by the Brazilian Institute of Social and Economic Analysis (IBASE), which engaged almost 1,000 young people, nongovernmental organisations and universities.
  • Dialogue participants were asked two questions: ‘What can be done to improve education, work, and cultural and recreation activities for young people in Brazil?’ and ‘How ready are you to participate in making those improvements reality?’
  • A full report was later compiled and published documenting the process of collaboration, accompanied with a successful media strategy.

Results

  • Outreach to a high number of youth including excluded groups (rural, women), through NGO networks.
  • A firm academic evidence base from which to form policy. The legacy of a ‘dialogue network’ incorporating individuals and various institutions across sectors.
  • According to the Canadian teams, there is “good potential for the dialogue results to bear fruit in terms of policy change (especially within the public education sector)" MacKinnon and Taschereau, 2006.
  • Impact on the newly created National Youth Policy, National Youth Secretariat (reports to the Secretariat-General of the Presidency of the Republic); National Youth Council (an advisory board fostering studies and proposing guidelines); and National Youth Inclusion Programme (an emergency programme for 18 to 24-year-olds excluded from both school and the labour market).

Lessons learned

  • The lead donor agency should oversee the partnership with research institutions to ensure good working relationships.
  • Research institutions require a core research team with long-term commitment, and infrastructure and staff to co-ordinate multiple dialogue groups.
  • Most of the participants expressed a desire to participate in politics, but did not know how. Education on political processes was identified as a key area for government and civil society to engage on.
  • Particular costs to consider: travel and accommodation for young participants and funding for research personnel leading the process.

Potential challenges

  • Logistics: co-ordination of large-scale research and participatory activities requires significant planning and clear demarcation of roles and responsibilities.
  • Communication: clarifying expectations, regular communications, dissemination and feedback are vital in terms of keeping young people engaged over a period of more than a year.

For further information contact:

International Development Research Centre (IDRC), http://www.idrc.ca, or the Brazilian Institute of Social and Economic Analyses (IBASE), candido@ibase.br

Photo © Izabela Habur

  • 51. Funded by a Canadian research grant. Undertaken in seven metropolitan regions of Brazil and the Federal District of Brasilia. Co-ordinated by Ibase and Polis Institute and carried out by a network of NGOs and universities.
Additional Resources: 

1) “Choicework” Choice work Methodology

2) For the report of the Dialogue see: http://bit.ly/dcFvtC

3) Democracy, Citizenship and Youth (2009):  http://bit.ly/cql0AV and  http://bit.ly/beW07R

4) For further information on working with leading research institutions see ODI:  http://bit.ly/9ju3Ci

Youth Engagement Lens: Beneficiaries, Partners
Operational Area: Policy and Planning

Resource: ChoiceWork discussion methodolgy

Teamwork – young people working together - Photo © Christopher FutcherChoiceWork is a methodology for discussion. In the above case study it was applied in the context of participatory research dialogue days, scheduled after more conventional documentary research. Beginning the ChoiceWork process implies that someone wants to work through a particular issue. This may be an individual organisation, a consortium, or a collective group of activists. First, the group co-ordinating the ChoiceWork effort should have a broad issue in mind. The group must also be clear about the objective of the process. The goals could be one or more of the following:

  • To encourage community residents to deliberate on an issue;
  • To motivate community residents to take action on their own;
  • To help ensure that NGOs’ own programmes are more community-driven;
  • To gather information from residents for the co-ordinating group to use in advocacy efforts to affect policy change.

The eight-step community ChoiceWork process involves commitment from many people. First, the leaders of the NGOs and CBOs involved need to give full support to the participatory process and acknowledge that while it may take a long time, the benefits of having a public voice are stronger than moving forward with a plan of action without public support. Specifically, the co-ordinating group should be willing and able to commit staff time to co-ordinate, facilitate, network, and convene meetings, as well as provide administrative support to publicise events, take notes during meetings, and write reports.

It also should agree to act on the public recommendations produced through the ChoiceWork process even if they are likely to result in action that is different from what was originally intended. A good first step to get started is to hold a workshop with a consortium of organisations and individuals who are dedicated to solving a particular problem. This workshop will allow for an introduction of the ChoiceWork tool and provide an opportunity for participants to apply it to the problem of interest.

Groups of young people from metropolitan areas in Brazil were asked to discuss their participation in public life as individuals, and the major concerns facing them. Each group worked through the following steps:

Task 1: Mapping and identifying concerns

Outcome: list of concerns related to issue at hand and a tentative naming of the problem

Task 2: Grouping like concerns and perspectives

Outcome: clusters of concerns grouped into three or four approaches

Task 3: Recognising the tensions

Outcome: agreement on tensions among choices

Task 4: Listing actions

Outcome: list of actions for each approach

Task 5: Outlining the benefits and drawbacks of each approach

Outcome: list of benefits and drawbacks of each approach

Task 6: Naming the problem

Outcome: a statement that describes the common problem.

For this tool in full and a longer example of the ChoiceWork process applied in a different context see: Academy for Educational Development, ‘Citizen Deliberations on HIV/AIDS issues’

http://www.aed.org/Publications/upload/ChoiceWork.pdf

8. Poverty Reduction Strategy (Government of Vietnam)

Poverty Reduction Strategy

Poverty reduction strategy papers (PRSPs)52 provide opportunities for government officials to learn how to work with and for young people. The Vietnam Government, in developing their poverty reduction strategy, commissioned an NGO (Save the Children) to conduct three consultations with children and young people in particularly poor urban areas over the course of five years. The purpose of the consultations was to feed into the formulation of the strategy, and to provide opportunities for young people and children to review the implementation of the strategy.

The first assessment in 1999, before PRSPs existed, was to inform national development planning and the World Bank’s Vietnam Development Report on poverty. The second consultation in 2001 sourced feedback on the interim PRSP and policy for the PRSP. The third consultation in 2003 was part of a review of progress on the implementation of the country’s first PRSP.

Problems addressed:

  • The lack of long-term assessments/studies on how children and youth can contribute towards national PRSPs;
  • A youthful perspective can highlight unrecognised/unseen areas, leading to significant positive policy changes.

Objectives:

  • To provide data and evidence to feed into the development of a poverty reduction strategy;
  • To consult children and young people (ages five to 18) in urban areas on their experience of poverty;
  • To track progress of the poverty reduction strategy through gaining feedback from children and young people.

Youth as beneficiaries

Four hundred and sixty-five young people (six to 18 years) from three poor districts of Ho Chi Minh City acted as survey respondents and participants.

Youth as partners

Two young people drawn from HIV/AIDS peer education acted as facilitators.

Process

  • This was a mixture of discussion groups, interviews and participatory workshops.
  • The first consultation acted as a baseline assessment of poverty in the area.
  • The two subsequent consultations incorporated an element of monitoring against past objectives and tracking the progress of government efforts in the area.
  • Some participants were also invited to form part of the facilitation team during the third consultation, introducing an element of peer education to the process and building the capacity of those individuals.
  • The children and young people’s input ran alongside consultations with a wide range of adult community members, but the children and young people’s process was conducted separately to ensure children and young people felt comfortable expressing themselves and their views were heard independently of adults.
  • Consultations took place in areas where Save the Children does significant work; staff could feel confident they were not engaging young people in consultations that would lead nowhere.

Results

  • The PRSP has greater reference to young people. The government is thinking about the impact of poverty on children and young people, and declarations in the PRSP make it easier for communities to hold the government to account for its action on such issues.
  • The research was used by Save the Children as part of the expansion of their activities.
  • By the third consultation in-depth analysis was developed on causes and consequences of poverty; the level of depth would not have been possible with a one-off consultation.
  • Local officials were able to learn from the process of children and young people’s participation and were able to directly apply that learning in their wider work.
  • Participants highlighted the plight of the growing number of migrant families in the capital who are not registered by the authorities and who have major problems accessing healthcare, education and social welfare services. Their information helped change procedures to allow unregistered migrants access to services more quickly. This was a major step forward in a city where up to a third of the population of some wards are ‘hidden’ unregistered migrants.

Lessons learned

  • Young people can raise important issues often overlooked, such as the impact of family debt and divorce on social development.
  • Strategies and policies developed on the basis of evidence and research are more likely to be effective and targeted at those most in need.
  • For young people to hold governments to account, mechanisms should be in place for information sharing with young people, and complaints/ feedback mechanisms for young people. The more sustainable and durable these are the more effective their impact.

Potential challenges

  • Longer term consultations can be more costly (but benefits also can be greater).
  • Maintaining a productive partnership between the government/donor and the independent contracted agency.
  • Governments and donor agencies need to be willing to be open to new ideas: the evidence collected can sometimes be surprising or at odds with long-standing beliefs.
  • Although over half of the researchers were government staff and the methodology had been approved and used twice before, the third consultation met with a critical response. The government claimed that the research, which identified 30 to 50% of households in the two targeted districts as poor, failed to recognise the success of the government’s poverty alleviation programme.

For further information contact:

Save the Children Vietnam, (part of US): twebster@savechildren.org
Photo © Students Partnership Worldwide
  • 52. Poverty reduction strategy papers are the replacement for structural adjustment programmes, and are documents required by the IMF and World Bank before a country can be considered for debt relief.
Additional Resources: 

1) ‘Practical Implications of Participation in the PRSP Process’ Extracted from Children and Young People Participating in PRSP Processes – Lessons from Save the Children’s Experience’: http://bit.ly/b85IDc

2) ‘Putting Young people into Poverty Reduction Strategies’ (UNFPA): http://bit.ly/dBTxA5

Youth Engagement Lens: Beneficiaries, Partners
Operational Area: Policy and Planning

9. Uganda's National Development Plan (DFID)

National Development Plan

“By involving a large number of national youth in NDP processes, we are creating a large base of the public that will be able to support, engage with and promote national development.” SPW

The social development advisor at DFID Uganda was acutely aware of the growing youth bulge in the country, and the need to engage more actively with young people in order to minimise the risk of youth apathy or violence. DFID Uganda commissioned a civil society organisation, SPW, to lead and organise a two-day national youth consultation at the request of the National Planning Authority in June 2009. Young people’s recommendations were listened to and clearly documented as part of the formulation of the National Development Plan (NDP).

Problems addressed:

  • The consultation was designed to address the lack of youth input and involvement in the development of Uganda’s Five-Year National Development Plan (2009 to 2014), especially regarding the key issues affecting young people, such as unemployment, education, health and poverty.

Objectives

  • To ensure young people across Uganda have the opportunity to learn about and feed into the NDP process;
  • To engage youth creativity and expertise to identify policies and programmes required to achieve NDP objectives;
  • To provide an opportunity for face-to-face discussion between young people and decision-makers; so decision-makers can better understand the barriers to employment and prosperity facing young people across Uganda;
  • To ensure effective dissemination of consultation findings.

Youth as partners

Fifty-two young people (providing national representation for Uganda’s districts and youth-led organisations), were recruited from youth NGOs, student associations and youth disability groups. This group discussed the key thematic areas of the NDP and formulated recommendations for the government. Key members of the staff team responsible for the consultation were also young people.

Process

  • National newspaper advertisement inviting contributions via SMS;
  • Participants representing official youth structures, NGOs, disabled and student groups;
  • Introduction to SPW and the NDP; 
  • Training for participants on strategy analysis;
  • Tools included a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) analysis and spider diagram/mind mapping;
  • Four groups created strategies in the key areas of education, employment, health and population, and gender and social development;
  • Twelve key strategic recommendations were agreed;
  • Two young people presented the recommendations to the National Planning Authority and Ministry of Children and Youth;
  • Consultation outcomes disseminated across all key ministries and decision- makers in Uganda.

Results

  • Draft NDP mentions youth entrepreneurship (USD$5m earmarked for start-ups); vocational skills for out-of-school youth with attention to quality and moral aspects and youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health and rights. There is an emphasis on vulnerable youth in the sections on gender and social protection.
  • Government considering follow-up regional consultations, and youth participation in M&E of the plan.
  • World Bank Uganda seeking young people to participate in Country Assistance Strategy (2010).

Lessons learned

  • Capacity building during or ideally before the consultation can equip/empower youth to discuss and prioritise key issues in a more effective manner.
  • Media involvement created a wider coverage, collected views and recruited participants. Rural youth can be contacted via SMS, radio or newspaper announcements.
  • Face-to-face orientation and training between adults and rural youth, practitioners and donor agencies enabled them to connect with each other’s realities.
  • Government officials and policy advisors should contribute by: overseeing and participating in the consultation, and ensuring follow up and dissemination of findings internally.
  • The implementing partner organisation should organise the following:
    • A core management team
    • Member of senior staff responsible for developing the relationship with donor agency and government official(s)
    • Overall management of consultation and logistics
    • Staff member(s) who liaise with young people
  • Particular costs to consider: travel, accommodation and food for all the young participants. Where appropriate i.e., for those under 18 years of age, a chaperone should be provided. Officials’ travel costs if appropriate.

Potential challenges

  • Reaching and securing the participation of key authority figures;
  • Ensuring a fair and thorough representation of diverse young people.

For further Information contact:

Students Partnership Worldwide, http://www.spw.org

Engaging the world’s youth - Photo © Students Partnership Worldwide

Additional Resources: 

1)  Mainstreaming Youth (adapted from Commonwealth)

2) For further information on national consultations see ‘Children and Young People: Participating in Decision-making’ (UNICEF): http://bit.ly/asGm2N

3) UNICEF ‘Child Youth Participation Resource Guide’: http://bit.ly/awY4t2  

4) ‘So You Want to Involve Children in Research?’ (Save the Children): http://bit.ly/a3aDNf

Youth Engagement Lens: Partners
Operational Area: Policy and Planning

Resource: Mainstreaming youth in the medium-term development plan (MTDP)

The table below is adapted from the Commonwealth Gender Management System (GMS) framework, and illustrates the action stages that can be supported by donor agencies in relation to youth mainstreaming (drawing from exisiting gender frameworks).

  Government action stage Donor agency support
1 Cabinet approval of approach and timetable The need for promoting intergenerational justice and partnership through the MTDP should be explicitly stated. Ensure that participatory and central planning processes talk to each other.
2 Preparation of initial macro framework Using available age- and gender-disaggregated data to assess recent socioeconomic trends, prospects for the medium and longer term, and their implications for government expenditure targets. Ensure this is viewed against social needs and pressure points (e.g., social exclusion of young people) that could cause political and economic turbulence.
3 Macro issues paper to be considered by cabinet

A short paper to:

 

  • Brief cabinet (and senior officials) on the economic and social situation, and the comparative position of young women and men.
  • Present alternative scenarios for the country’s economic performance over the MTDP, with corresponding scenarios for public expenditure to address youth in development.
  • Identify main macroeconomic and sector policy issues that the next MTDP needs to address.
  • Mainstream strategic youth interests into these cabinet reactions to the macro issues paper are reflected in drafting youth-sensitive guidelines for sector papers.

 

Maximise predictability of aid flows.

 

Promote and adhere to aid effectiveness principles.

 

Promote co-ordination with debt management, trade processes.

 

Promote long view: conflict prevention, decent work agendas.

4 Sector issues papers to be considered by cabinet To be prepared by the sector sector concerned including but not restricted to the youth sector. Papers should be very short, alerting cabinet to the main sector issues, impact on youth and important trade-offs that must be considered.
5 Detailed macro framework paper with expenditure guidelines In the light of reactions to Stage 4, this proposes overall economic and public expenditure projections and sectoral allocation of resources for the MTDP period. This paper should address inequalities and promote youth-sensitive planning. Facilitate knowledge management. Input to the process, allowing reciprocal government input into donor agency planning. Refer back to sectors if youth analysis is missing.
6 Preparation of draft chapters, expenditure proposals and proposed projects. Drafts to be prepared initially by the sector ministries.
7 Preparation of consolidated expenditure programmes. Co-ordination between central resource agencies (planning, finance, personnel) in reviewing sector proposals. To be co-ordinated with annual budget preparation. Ensure that tools are built in at this stage to monitor and evaluate impact of the programmes on youth.
8 Approval of full draft by cabinet. Overall editing by planning agency and submission of full draft to cabinet for final approval. Ensure youth issues are among the criteria against which cabinet will assess the proposals.
9 Presentation to parliament. MTDP submitted to parliament for full debate and approval. Support understanding and debate of the proposals among parliamentarians, media, youth and broader civil society.

10. SRHR Needs Assessment,(UNICEF, Sierra Leone)

SRHR Needs Assessment

UNICEF Sierra Leone commissioned a partner civil society organisation (SPW Sierra Leone) to undertake a needs assessment with young researchers. The assessment focused on out-of-school children, i.e., those who have dropped out of school, those who never attended school, or those who have participated in non-formal school programmes. The information collected was used to produce a set of guidelines for life skills programmes delivering non-formal HIV education.

Problems addressed:

  • The study was designed to address a national lack of cohesion regarding efforts targeting out-of-school children in Sierra Leone.
  • Out-of-school children have limited accessibility and community structures to learn about life skills. Most life skills education for the prevention of HIV/AIDS undertaken by many organisations is targeted only at young people in school.

Objectives

  • To generate accurate, gender-disaggregated information on the situation and needs of out-of-school youth using recognised research methods (as three times as many girls are out of school than boys);
  • To identify current strategies, opportunities (partners and structures), and challenges to reach out-of-school youth;
  • To provide transferable skills and experience for the young people involved;
  • To inform and generate a more unified programme approach.

Youth as partners

Twenty young people (18 to 22 years) were given the skills to directly implement research in 20 communities: focus group discussions, 64 interviews, consultative meetings, piloting and producing questionnaires.

Process:

  • Agreement was discussed and made by UNICEF and SPW regarding the parameters and objectives of the project and the data to be collected. Target groups for the research included street children, child sex workers, child labourers, child-led households, school dropouts and child miners.
  • Young researchers were then selected and research methods developed.
  • This was followed by the training of young researchers (on methods and confidentiality).
  • The research and data collection was then conducted over a period of ten days, and the study information analysed.
  • Finally the report was presented to a delegation of UN agencies, NGOs and other civil society groups.

Results

  • A cost-effective way to collect information and ensured a wide geographical coverage.
  • UNICEF was better able to design programmes for out-of-school children.
  • Young people developed skills and experiences, realising their own potential to undertake professional research.
  • Out-of-school children remarked that they found it easier to talk to young people than to adults.

Lessons learned

  • Adequate training and support for the youth is essential; hire experienced implementing partners and M&E personnel.
  • Ensure roles, responsibilities and expectations are clearly outlined during the recruitment process.
  • Personnel need time to think through and deliver how data and analysis will be disseminated after project completion to ensure influence.
  • Particular costs to consider: training costs, travel to the field, and food/accommodation for the young people.

Potential challenges

  • Getting young people with limited experience to undertake professional research requires intensive practical training.
  • Children’s sexual and reproductive health and rights issues are highly sensitive for individuals, families and communities.

For further information contact: 

SPW Sierra Leone, http://www.spw.org

Teaching and learning through dance - Photo © Students Partnership Worldwide

Additional Resources: 

1) The SPW Sierra Leone Out of School Study Final – SPW SL on their Needs Assessment

2) DFID Zimbabwe draft DFID Zimbabwe Youth Scoping Study Draft 21-04-08 on the situation of youth in the country.

3) Pacific Regional Youth Mapping Exercise power point

Youth Engagement Lens: Partners, Leaders
Operational Area: Policy and Planning

Implementation

Youth engagement in implementation

Implementation refers to the delivery of development interventions through government, civil society or other partners. Young people have an important role to play in the implementation of development programmes and initiatives. The roles young people can play include: acting as peer educators in areas such as sexual and reproductive health and rights, citizenship and democracy, and designing programmes. Taking up these roles can also dramatically improve their own lives, for example through developing skills to increase employability.

How can donor agencies help?

Donor agencies can support youth-focused implementation in a number of ways:

  1. Forming and strengthening groups and coalitions, in preparation for actions of increasing scale;
  2. Being informed of the problems young people face at the local level;
  3. Directing funding towards youth-led implementation;
  4. Providing mechanisms to encourage/support youth-led/youth-focused organisations to gain funding.

Added value of working with young people

Young people’s input can improve programme delivery by:

  • Increasing the effectiveness of communication strategies with target peer groups (see case study 15 on voter education) and hard-to-reach groups;
  • Creating a more accurate picture of current issues, such as local market demands (see case study 11 on displaced youth);
  • Building the next generation of decision-makers through actively learning about development processes;
  • Engaging young people who are often more flexible and less fixed in their ideas, reinvigorating policies and procedures;
  • Establishing a pool of willing volunteers, who are often adaptable and have the ability to work in rural or remote areas.

Entry points

Governance, voice and accountability (See case studies 15, 16, 17)

There are some crucial entry-points for youth participation within existing governance structures and processes, such as elections (see case study 15) or participatory budgeting (case study 16). However, care should be taken to ensure that the youth sector is not ‘politicised’ i.e., that youth services are insulated from partisan/political competition and resources are distributed according to need. Donor agencies should also consider gaps in the institutional framework and the need to recognise and support youth-led partners (case study 17).

Post-conflict transitions and livelihoods (See case studies 11, 12, 15)

The recent emphasis of the international community on youth participation “has been particularly strong in post-conflict settings. Peace processes appear as a window of opportunity for promoting a higher degree of youth participation.”53 To some commentators this may seem opportunistic, but the consensus is that initiatives focusing on youth livelihoods (such as in case study 11 and case study 12) are a key entry point for youth participation and central to sustainable peace building. Such initiatives are about more than skills transfer, they also relate to governance, voice and accountability:

“Relatively cheap investments in civilian security through police, judicial and rule-of-law reform, local capacity-building for human rights and reconciliation, and local capacity-building for public sector service delivery can greatly benefit long-term peace building.” On the other hand, “Failure to successfully implement such programmes will result in youth unemployment and fuel the development of criminal gangs and violence and ultimately a relapse into conflict.” UN Secretary General’s High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change (2005)

Sexual and reproductive health and rights (See case studies 13, 14)

The SRHR sector has a long history of youth participation by involving young people in implementing programmes and interventions. Notable entry points are through peer education (see case study 14) and through SRHR mainstreaming processes (see case study 13). By virtue of the gravity of the pandemic, HIV/AIDS also presents opportunities for social change and the position of young people. Visiting SenegaI in 2009 UNAIDS executive director Michel Sidibe said HIV/AIDS presents a "political opportunity to trigger profound changes in society, to talk about difficult issues like sex education, homophobia and human rights issues in general, like the position of women in society”.

Case studies in this section

For more resources and networks’ contact details by thematic area please see Appendix 3.

Overcoming the barriers

Barriers to youth participation in implementation

  • Colleagues may not understand the benefits and value of working with young people;
  • Interventions may not be designed with young people in mind or acknowledge their particular needs/issues;
  • Lack of sharing, learning and documentation of promising practice involving young implementers; and therefore a lack of evidence.

Overcoming the barriers: situation analysis

The place to start in any sector is engaging young people and increasing their visibility via participatory situation analysis/needs assessments (as in case study 8). These should be fully documented and findings shared with partners. There are particular considerations when conducting assessments with young people:

  • Building or maintaining harmony between young people and their wider community and fostering adult-youth partnerships is crucial. By successfully mapping designated areas young researchers can demonstrate their capabilities, encouraging the adults in their community to recognise their skills as contributing community members.
  • Training and capacity building must be adequately assessed and built into any situation analysis time frame.
Learning from young people - Photo © Students Partnership Worldwide

11. Displaced youth – livelihoods and alternative education (WRC)

Livelihoods

“We want to learn computer. We want to learn electronics. Our thinking and our ideas cannot develop staying in this camp.” Ethnic Karen refugee youth from Burma in the Umpiem refugee camp in Thailand, June 2006

Young people aged 15 to 24 years make up around 20% of the world’s 40 million-plus refugees and displaced persons. The majority of refugees are in protracted situations that last an average of 17 years. Despite the great number of young people in need, they are largely ignored by the international community in humanitarian and conflict settings. Few programmes exist for those who are now teenagers and never went to school, or for those who need secondary education or vocational skills training. The Women's Refugee Commission's research and advocacy project, Tapping the Potential of Displaced Youth, aims to increase international attention and support for the educational and job training needs of displaced young women and men worldwide through research and creating educational and market assessment tools.

Problems addressed

  • Conflict and displacement disrupts the transmission of livelihoods knowledge and resources to younger generations.
  • Young people’s catch-up education and vocational training needs are underfunded in relief and reconstruction initiatives.
  • Without opportunities to learn and work, young people are left idle, frustrated and more at risk.

“Income-generating activities are critical. If not, people in the camps will be socialised into dependency.” Jesuit Refugee Service representative, North Darfur, June 2006.

Objectives

  • To increase the scope, scale and effectiveness of educational and job training programmes targeting displaced young people through a three-pronged approach of research, tool development and advocacy.
  • Long-term goal: to ensure that displaced young women and men are equipped with the skill set necessary to find safe, dignified work, whether they return to their country of origin, settle in the country where they are living as refugees or resettle in a third country.

Youth as beneficiaries

Research and advocacy for displaced young people who require education and skills training services.

Youth as partners

  • Fifteen-member youth advisory committee (18 to 24 years) from conflict-affected countries.
  • Youth to participate in research.
  • Youth self-assessment in all skill-building programmes is recommended. Young people should be given the tools to think critically about the selection of training programmes and possible job opportunities.

Process

The Displaced Youth Advocacy Programme started in October 2008.

  • Since then global desk research and field assessments in five countries to gather young people’s views of their needs and recommendations on ways to address them have been conducted. The five country case studies are: Liberia, Uganda, Sudan, Jordan and Thailand.
  • The programme has partnered with operational agencies to test promising practices that can be replicated and taken to scale.
  • Convert lessons learned into advocacy briefs, guidelines and tools for donor agencies and humanitarian workers. displaced young people’s educational and job training needs.

Results

  • Comprehensive understanding of what effective programmes and policies exist, what is missing and what is needed to prepare young people for safe, dignified work in existing labor markets and markets where they will likely end up after displacement.
  • Practitioners, donor agencies and policy-makers have access to a range of resource tools (concrete, accessible and relevant) enabling them to implement and assess quality, appropriate educational and skills building programmes for displaced youth.
  • The number of young people reached by quality educational and job training programmes increases dramatically, due to explicit policies and/or priorities on the part of UN agencies, major practitioner organisations and donor agencies and governments.

Lessons learned

  • Young people consistently expect that participation in vocational training will increase their capacity to find employment or self-employment opportunities and achieve greater self-reliance. Yet, research in Northern Uganda has found that programme objectives may differ from participants’ objectives, leading to disappointment and frustration.
  • Continuing to teach the same vocational skills in the same region is leading to labour supply saturation in some industries. Market observation is the first step in understanding what goods and services are supplied and demanded in the community. Market information should be incorporated into each stage of vocational training programming to improve design and, increase employment opportunities.
  • Catch-up education combined with skills training should include transferable skills, such as information and communication technology, financial literacy and entrepreneurship (even when training for wage employment).
  • Many conflict-affected youth employ multiple livelihood strategies from day to day and may have to rely on more than one skill to maintain an income.
  • In many conflict and post-conflict countries, co-ordination and information sharing among the humanitarian community around youth issues must be strengthened and systematised.

Potential challenges

  • Gender self-selection into different skills areas can perpetuate gender inequalities in incomes and social status. Implementers need to avoid reinforcing the pattern by actively coaching young people towards new aspirations.
  • In many conflict and post-conflict countries, there is a very small formal market and it can be difficult to connect graduates to employers.
  • After participating in a programme, many young people don’t have opportunities to practice skills learned in vocational training, for example through internships or apprenticeships.
  • Given how dynamic and fluid a conflict can be, the likely futures and locations of displaced young people are often unknown.

For further information contact:

info@wrccommission.org

Photo © Women’s Refugee Commission

Additional Resources: 

1) Youth and Sustainable Livelihoods:Linking Vocational Training Programs to Market Opportunities in Northern Uganda’: http://bit.ly/ahz5dR

2) Women’s Refugee Commission Market Assessment Toolkit

3) ‘Untapped Potential: Displaced Youth’ : http://bit.ly/cJwSLE

4) ‘Right to Education during Displacement: A resource for organizations working with refugees and internally displaced persons’ was developed for international and local organizations, the United Nations and governments working with displaced communities: http://bit.ly/c1CROH

5) Too Little for Too Few: Meeting the Needs of Youth in Darfur (December 2008): http://bit.ly/9MaP2Q

6) Save the Children Norway publications on youth participation in post-conflict settings: http://bit.ly/aZT1Qn

12. Employment Fund, Nepal (DFID/SDC)

Employment Fund

“It is clear that any proposed solutions to the youth employment challenge which do not take on board the expectations, frustrations and aspirations of young people in relation to the labour market will struggle to meet the needs of youth.” Youth Employment Network 2007

Funded by DFID and SDC, Helvetas Nepal’s employment fund provides skill training to economically poor and socially discriminated out-of-school youth. Private service providers help identify the market potential as well as train participants. The payment to the service providers is based on the type of category trained and linked to outcomes: the service provider does not get any payment for those trainees who do not achieve employment.

Problems addressed

  • Youth are an economic asset and their capacity needs to be tapped for national growth.
  • While 300,000 young people enter the labour market every year, only 50,000 are receiving skills training and according to the 2008 National Labour Force Survey, 46% of 20 to 24 year- olds are “highly underutilised.”

Objectives

  • To provide skill training to poor and socially discriminated out-of-school youth (18 to 35 years) and ensure their gainful employment;
  • To promote decent work;
  • To address the employment needs of youth in order to mitigate social and political instability;
  • To address the particular needs of conflict-affected youth (IDPs, ex- combatants), widows, and the disabled.

Youth as beneficiaries

Fourteen thousand five hundred young people (18 to 35 years), 57% female, received vocational training and support, credit linkage and life skills. N.B., a partner approach can be taken by recruiting outstanding trainees to train others and review project design.

Process

  • Timeframe: 12 months; three months training plus follow up.
  • Private service providers (currently 17, in 38 districts) are selected based on a competitive bidding system.
  • A rapid market appraisal is carried out to identify local market need by the service provider.
  • Target groups categorised (by gender, caste etc).
  • Implementation of training. Mobile trainings for geographically isolated youth groups.
  • Post-training support includes market linkage, business counselling and knowledge on labour rights and credit linkage.
  • Differential pricing mechanism (see below) ensures that youth from disadvantaged groups are reached.
  • Payment to service provider is based on outcomes. The first payment is made after submission of training completion report (40% of the outcome cost), second payment after submitting income verification report at three month of working (25%) and the remaining 35% after completion of income verification at six months of training.

Results
  • Training schemes using this model can be highly effective. The trainees’ pass rate (as recorded by the National Skill Testing Board) was 80% in 2009.
  • Similarly the employment rate was very high post-training at 92%.
  • A wide range of training areas have been developed. Trainees working in 49 trades in 2009 included construction, welding, furniture making, embroidery, plumbing, and electricians.

Lessons learned
  • Mobile trainings (trainers travelling to trainees) are helpful and cost-effective in reaching out in geographically isolated regions.
  • Differentiated pricing mechanism helps deliver training to the targeted groups more effectively.
  • Outcome-based and post financing model has helped to ensure that the fund is utilised as per mandates.

Potential challenges
  • Geographic remoteness makes it difficult for service providers to identify employable trades in those areas that would help the people to generate minimum income of USD$3000/month after the skills training.
  • Skills training sometimes did not match the interest and need of the employers.
  • Post-training support like linkage to the collateral-free loan and market linkage needs to be strengthened.
  • The service providers in the market are mostly output oriented rather than outcome oriented.
  • Tracing of the graduates for income reporting, especially those going to India and overseas, is challenging as the graduates change their working place frequently and service providers are not notified.

For further information contact:
http://www.helvetasnepal.org.np/

Young people are eager to learn and engage - Photo © Panos
Additional Resources: 

1) The Helvetas RMA concept note_Draft_ CKA 09

2) Shared Learning Network in Nepal. Read the report here: http://bit.ly/c2Z4Xf   

3) Get Youth On Board Toolkit on Youth Employment (GTZ, 2008): http://bit.ly/cl3zGR

4) International Alert – governance, youth unemployment and post conflict: http://bit.ly/cAzd5k

Youth Engagement Lens: Beneficiaries
Operational Area: Implementation

13. Mainstreaming SRHR in Education (USAID, Senegal)

Mainstreaming SRHR

“HIV and AIDS mainstreaming should result in the epidemic becoming part and parcel of the routine functions and functioning of a sector ...as an integral part of the planning, budgeting, implementation and monitoring activities”. UNAIDS 2008

Multi-sectoral approaches that engage government agencies, communities, and youth are vital for sustainable change. The Population Council and Frontiers together have worked across different policy areas, utilising a strong research base and government partnerships to catalyse change in adolescent sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) policy and practice. Regional research pilots informed the creation of a nationwide programme between 1999 and 2007. The majority of funding was provided by USAID.

Problems addressed

  • The need for a well informed, effective and integrated approach to adolescent SRHR at a local and national level in Senegal;
  • The need for a collaborative response to SRHR policy, involving several agencies for co-ordinated and greater impact.

Objectives

  • To institutionalise youth reproductive health at a local level;
  • To create a favourable policy and funding environment for adolescent reproductive health (ARH) at the national level;
  • To scale up the intervention in Senegal and in neighboring states.

Youth as beneficiaries

Over eight years, 28,000 young people in three regions (urban areas) were reached by peer education. Young people were also survey respondents, and recipients of the SRHR education and care that was influenced.

Youth as partners

Seventy adolescents were recruited to act as peer educators. Those receiving training included at-risk youth such as house servants, shoeshine boys, car washers, and teenage mothers.

Process

  • Frontiers undertook a comprehensive operations research study from 1999- 2003 assessing different approaches to adolescent reproductive health in three districts of Senegal.
  • Outreach and advocacy involved community institutions and resources (including religious organisations, women’s groups, public events, dramas, and community meetings, among others).
  • Staff of government ministries participated in all phases of the design and implementation; youth, community, and religious leaders were key actors in providing information and discussing sensitive issues.
  • Based on the outcomes and cultural situation of Senegalese youth, a programme of work was formulated incorporating formal and informal educational approaches and a core curriculum.
  • Training of professionals in education and health, as well as for 70 peer educators was conducted, who then delivered the curriculum initially in the three pilot districts.
  • The peer education methodology was particularly used to target out-of-school and other excluded youth.
  • The Ministry of Health was influenced by the findings of the study, and partnered with Frontiers. In 2004 they created a 13-partner steering committee for inter-ministerial co-ordination and technical assistance was offered to the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Youth, Ministry of Sports, youth-serving organisations and development partners.
  • Government ministries were offered support to develop adolescent SRHR action plans which were submitted to development partners for funding for scaling up.
  • Following this the initiative was scaled up in all nine regions of the country.
Results

  • Findings from the initial studies showed that the interventions addressed a recognised need of incorporating SRHR into broader education strategies.
  • Community response was overwhelmingly positive. Local civic and religious leaders (critical gatekeepers for social change) strongly supported the adolescent SRHR initiatives and played major roles in the intervention activities.
  • Uptake of materials by UN bodies and Save the Children (in 18 countries).
  • Endorsement of the approach by WHO; replication efforts in other Francophone African countries.
Projected results

  • Mainstreaming by Ministry of Education of adolescent SRHR;
  • Incorporation of learning into initiatives by Ministry of Sport and Ministry of Justice;
  • Integration of three adolescent SRHR indicators in the government management information system.
  • Adoption of key programme documents ‘Curriculum grandir en harmonie’ and ‘Orientation of health providers in adolescent health’ as official documents.
Lessons learned

  • Having staff train and supervise volunteer and professional networks and undertake administration for the thematic group on adolescent SRHR is crucial, as is having project managers and field staff.
  • Mainstreaming efforts are still plagued by considerable misconceptions about the nature of the change that is envisaged. The idea that cross-sectoral issues (such as HIV/AIDS or youth) are the responsibility of a single ministry, person, focal point or unit continues to prevail.
  • Mainstreaming requires strong leadership, co-ordination and the tracking of outcomes of multiple sectors by a central authority in order to avoid fragmentation.54
Potential challenges

  • Co-ordinating ministries of differing sizes and status.
  • Addressing the needs of married adolescents (an underserved group in adolescent SRHR).
For further information contact:
Population Council Senegal, info.senegal@popcouncil.org

Photo © Students Partnership Worldwide

  • 54. UNAIDS, World Bank, UNDP 2005
Additional Resources: 

1) Operations Research Toolkit: http://bit.ly/9WWrIM

2) ‘FRONTIERS’ Programme Legacy findings: http://bit.ly/dl2DlO

3) Multisectoral ARH Interventions: The Scale Up Process in Kenya and Senegal: http://bit.ly/a7SPRW

4) UNFPA/EU Reproductive Health Imitative for Youth in Asia: http://bit.ly/9E3dZ3

5) Toolkit for Mainstreaming HIV/AIDS in Education (UNAIDS 2008): http://bit.ly/bepYLv

Youth Engagement Lens: Beneficiaries, Partners
Operational Area: Implementation

14. SRHR Peer Education (NAC, Uganda)

Peer Education

In order to protect themselves from HIV/AIDS, young people need confidence, awareness of gender issues and access to services and motivation, not just the raw facts.

Young Empowered and Healthy (YEAH) is a nationally recognised sexual health campaign for and by young people in Uganda, launched in 2004 under the auspices of the Uganda AIDS Commission. YEAH uses radio and other media to reach youth and produces an award winning national weekly serial drama, ‘Rock Point 256.’ YEAH is implemented by Communication for Development Foundation Uganda (CDFU) with technical assistance from Health Communication Partnership (HCP). Funding and support for YEAH has been drawn from USAID, PEPFAR (a special US presidential fund for SRH intervention measures), through John Hopkins Bloomberg University. Other funding is from Save the Children Uganda, UNICEF and the Uganda National AIDS Commission.

Problems addressed

  • Research has shown that many HIV and other SRH programmes in Uganda tend to focus on the girl child because she is considered more vulnerable, paying little attention to one of the key sources of that vulnerability: their male counterparts.55
  • YEAH addresses underlying factors affecting sexual health at the individual and community level, in social services and in the social/political domains. YEAH also addresses the more general need for meaningful participation of young people in their own projects.

Objectives

  • To reduce the prevalence of HIV/AIDS, adolescent pregnancies and school drop-out rates amongst 15 to 24-year-olds in Uganda.
  • To stimulate dialogue and action among communities, families, schools, and health institutions, and model positive practices through local and national media.
  • To make the political and social environment more conducive to young people’s social and behavioral change through multi-channel campaigns.

Youth as partners

Through regional young people’s advisory groups (YAGs), young people are involved and consulted in every stage of campaign development: from planning, to implementation, to evaluation.

Youth as beneficiaries

One hundred thousand young people targeted and reached by interpersonal communications approaches.

Over 2.5 million young people targeted and reached through media campaigns (and see results below).

Process

  • The YEAH model focuses on conducting an initial assessment of the SRHR needs of local communities.
  • This informs planning and strategy design and the development of materials for pre-testing.
  • The next stage involves dissemination of SRHR education resources through peer educators, and the implementation of SRHR campaigns.
  • These are monitored and evaluated (which involves the capacity building of young people and partners) and re-planning begins.
  • This informs the designing and implementing of further evidence-based campaigns, such as the ‘Be a Man’ campaign.
  • The implementation of educational SRHR campaigns is conducted over a two-year cycle. Regional young people’s advisory groups (YAGs) are involved at all stages, plus a technical advisory team of youth organisation representatives.

Results

  • YEAH has received over 20,000 fan letters, many asking for advice or thanking YEAH for helping them reduce their risk of contracting HIV/AIDS.
  • A 2008 YEAH impact survey showed that ‘Rock Point 256’ reaches 52% of young women and 60% of young men.
  • The ‘Be a Man’ campaign has reached out to 46% of young men and 32% of young women in Uganda.
  • The ‘Something for Something Love’ campaign has reached 66% of young men and 70% of young women.

Lessons learned

  • Strong partnership amongst all partners and the division of responsibility on a regional basis helps enhance the impact of outreach and communication strategies.
  • CSOs working closely with district teams reduces unnecessary duplication of work.
  • Strong partnerships working at national and regional level can result in:
    • A focus on high quality communications;
    • Utilisation of widely agreed proven and effective theories and strategies;
    • Cost implications stem from task areas including research, training, monitoring and evaluation, marketing, script writing, materials pre-testing, graphic design and radio production. Estimated annual budget is USD$1.3m.

Potential challenges

  • Insufficient availability of resources to match demand for the service;
  • Skills gaps amongst partners and young people threatening sustainability.

For further information contact:

info@yeahuganda.org or www.cdfuug.co.ug

Gender programmes must be inclusive of men - Photo © Y.E.A.H. Uganda

  • 55. Kibombo et al 2007
Additional Resources: 

1) Formative and vulnerability research that informs campaign strategies targeting young people: http://bit.ly/d1QMhL

2) Order Y.E.A.H Men and HIV and AIDS manual for training peer educators: http://bit.ly/cpl6ia

3) The Youth Guidance Project Sharing and Learning Network session in Uganda on SRHR: http://is.gd/768Kq

4) InterAgency Youth Working Group resources on youth reproductive
health and HIV/AIDS:  http://bit.ly/asPDo6

Youth Engagement Lens: Beneficiaries, Partners
Operational Area: Implementation

15. Educating New Voters, (Finnish Embassy, Nepal)

Educating New Voters

Voter and civic education is especially important in post-conflict countries, where political situations may be volatile, substantial legal and procedural changes have taken place, and elections may have an unprecedented impact on the country’s future.

The Embassy of Finland in Kathmandu funded a Nepali NGO (Alliance for Peace) to create awareness about the country’s 2008 constituent assembly elections. Young people were less involved in party politics and were not recognised as belonging to any particular party. Thus, young people’s involvement in voter awareness helped the campaign to maintain a neutral position. Educating young people had a ripple effect as they communicated within their families, peer and friend groups. The initiative ran for one year from April 2007 to March 2008.

Problems addressed:

  • The constitution assembly of 2008 was held nine years after the general election of 1999. This gap meant that there were a large number of first-time young voters. Youth voter turnout was seen as important for the legitimacy of the democratic process.
  • Young people who are unaware of their rights are more easily manipulated by political leaders.

Objectives

  • To make information related to elections available and accessible to all youth constituents;
  • To increase participation through district fora, radio and the web;
  • To encourage young people to ask questions of election candidates through outreach campaigns;
  • To promote citizenship and understanding of rights and responsibilities.

Youth as partners

Young people organised district and national fora (600 participants) and distributed voting information – including in formats suitable for non-literate young people.

Youth as beneficiaries

Twelve thousand young people in 30 districts were directly reached by a campaign bus over 60 days. Radio announcements in 12 local languages reached the whole of Nepal through 20 local and two national stations.

Process:

  • A team of six campaigners (18 to 35 years) with previous community experience were selected and trained on electoral systems, voting skills and campaigning techniques.
  • Posters, flyers, youth-friendly booklets, website and radio announcements developed;
  • Campaign bus targeted colleges, youth clubs, barracks and other hubs of youth activity;
  • Most of the limited resources for outreach, particularly mass communication, were concentrated in the final month when most attention would be paid to it.
  • Four regional youth fora were conducted covering basic concepts of elections and voting models.
  • A national seminar in the capital was attended by over 100 young participants selected by colleges, student unions, political parties and local authorities.
  • The campaign ensured that its activities were aligned with the election laws.
  • Project team included a project officer, finance officer, logistical officer and office assistant.

Results

  • The campaign was able to reach a large number of youth of rural Nepal within a very short time;
  • Request for training from the armed police force in three districts;
  • Approximately 20,000 young people were informed about the constitution assembly elections.

“Not too many organisations or the government is coming to rural and difficult places to visit and explain to us about the new voting system. Thank you.” Khadka Dangi, participant

Lessons learned

  • The web was a good means to reach educated and urban youth, while radio was effective for rural youth.
  • Young campaigners were proactive and flexible, able to work in a campaign which required a lot of travel in uncertain conditions.

“It was very empowering as a young woman, to go out to the districts and campaign with the people on issues of voter education. It not only enhanced my learning and confidence, it also helped me to see my own country through different eyes.” Jhala BK, campaigner

Potential challenges

  • Changes in election schedules (occurred twice in this case).
  • Language and cultural barriers continue to be a factor in effective delivery of messages in a multilingual country like Nepal.
  • Young campaigners were not always trusted or taken seriously.

For more information please contact:

Alliance for Peace (AfP) Nepal, info@afpnepal.org or see www.afpnepal.org/

Educating young voters - Photo © Students Partnership Worldwide

Additional Resources: 

1) The Alliance for Peace Finland_Voter_Ed_Final_Report_February08

2) Search for Common Ground: http://bit.ly/bkjYbT

3) The YGP SLN discussion in Nepal: http://bit.ly/90nUck

Youth Engagement Lens: Beneficiaries, Partners
Operational Area: Implementation

16. Participatory Budgeting (GTZ, Argentina)

Participatory Budgeting

“Where local young people are involved in budgetary decisions there is the potential to develop creative solutions to issues that can result in cost savings and better value for money. Local young people are often very conscious of spending/allocating public money and can therefore be very careful about how they spend it.” Government official, Municipality of Rosario

Participatory youth governance can give youth a greater sense of civic pride and responsibility. The Municipality of Rosario undertakes an annual participatory youth budget, engaging youth from across its six districts in democratic processes to select representatives and decide upon budget allocations for youth services. An initial pilot in 2004 was funded by German Technical Co-operation (GTZ) and the necessary funds are now drawn from the municipal budget. Young people are able to have a say in the design of youth services in their city and in the allocation of resources to support their execution over the course of a six-month annual cycle.

Problems addressed

  • Service priorities set by adults may not always reflect the needs and interests of young people.
  • Inefficiency in terms of how funds are spent.

Objectives

  • To engage youth as protagonists in the design and implementation of local youth services;
  • To educate young people in citizenship by active learning.

Youth as partners

An average of 1,000 young people (13 to 18 years) per year engaged in the control and distribution of resources, co-managing decision-making processes.

Youth as beneficiaries

Funded services used by the wider youth population.

Process

  1. Initial steps include setting up neighborhood assemblies in each city district.
  2. Young people then identify neighborhood priorities and elect delegates to each district’s youth participatory council.
  3. This is followed by a full day orientation meeting where budget delegates can meet each other and learn about the process.
  4. Subsequently, youth participatory councils meet regularly for several months to develop project proposals based on the neighborhood priorities.
  5. The councils then present the proposals in a round of district assemblies, where local youth vote on which to implement.
  6. Participants are encouraged to participate in other non-youth specific participatory budgeting processes.

Results

  • Three thousand five hundred young people were involved by 2008.
  • Gaps in provision were identified and addressed. Funding was allocated to new music and dance workshops, recreational sites and a community library.
  • Inspired new youth projects in adult participatory budgeting process.
  • Development of new democratic skills, knowledge and attitudes. The elected representatives within the process are also considered ambassadors with a responsibility to involve others.
  • Linking of youth groups from different areas.
  • The programme is undergoing a steady scale-up process utilising the raised profile and extra capacity brought by projects funded from youth budget for outreach purposes.

“To be a budget delegate means to make decisions responsibly and skilfully, to debate and respect the opinions of others, to orient and guide people who need help, and to propose coherent projects that will be useful in the future.” Youth participant, Rosario

Lessons learned

  • Strong political will is required to maintain participation initiatives.
  • In an urban environment a level of decentralisation enables the participation of youth from more diverse areas.
  • Human resources required: overall direction from within the municipal budget team, youth workers across all six municipal districts and administrative support for the youth budget council.

Potential challenges

  • Engaging the most socially excluded groups of young people, especially those heavily engaged in gang activity has been a challenge;
  • Maintaining communication with all young people involved.

For further information contact:

Municipality of Rosario, http://www.rosario.gov.ar

Creating community leaders - Photo © Students Partnership Worldwide

Additional Resources: 

1) ‘Participatory Budgeting with Youth’ Josh Lerner (Unpublished, 2006): Attached (PDF, 607Kb)

2) ‘Learning Citizenship and Democracy Through Participatory Budgeting: The Case of Rosario, Argentina’ Josh Lerner, Daniel Schugurensky: http://bit.ly/bnFxZ9

3)72 Frequently Asked Questions about Participatory Budgeting’ (UN Habitat): http://bit.ly/ahBNgo

Operational Area: Implementation
Youth Engagement Lens: Beneficiaries, Partners
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17. Launching a Youth-Led Partner (USAID, Jamaica)

Youth Led Partner

Youth-led organisations are in a unique position to develop and implement initiatives that address issues from a youth perspective and offer solutions that respond to the diverse realities of young people. USAID funded a programme through Jamaican partners to promote healthy lifestyles amongst Jamaican youth, addressing sexual health and violence prevention through youth-led peer education and outreach.

Founded as part of the USAID-funded JASTYLE Project, the Jamaica Youth Advocacy Network (JYAN) has grown into an independent NGO working closely with the national government, civil society, national and international NGOs and the school system to address issues of democracy and youth participation. It focuses on: adolescent sexual and reproductive health and rights, violence prevention and arts and culture in Jamaica. Working from the local level up, JYAN has developed links to key decision-makers in national and multilateral policy and funding bodies.


Problems addressed

  • Need for youth-led partners to spearhead advocacy and practice;
  • Lack of understanding of integrated youth development work: perception of young people as “problems” or “threats” rather than members and leaders in a democracy.

Objectives

  • To increase awareness of international and national policies and programmes that impact adolescents and youth;
  • To facilitate youth participation and inclusion in decision-making processes across the island;
  • To facilitate improvements in the policy environment in Jamaica relating to adolescent/youth development.

Youth as leaders

JYAN was youth-initiated. Young people form 100% of agency staff, developing services and building governance/representation structures.

Youth as partners

As well as advising donor staff and delivering peer-to-peer services, young people co-develop and co-manage services.

Process

  • A youth advisory board was set up, which went on to create JYAN to sustain their work.
  • From 2005 to 2008 JYAN was led and staffed by young people on a voluntary basis.
  • Continued contact and support from USAID.
  • Support from the Global Fund and the Jamaican Ministry of Health and Environment
  • JYAN document the experiences and highlight the information gleaned from the young people who participate in conferences, interventions, projects or trainings.
  • This then feeds back in information to guide other processes, e.g., in media engagement or sensitising other young people.
  • Communiques and calls to action produced by young conference participants are used to build an information base for future reference.

Results

  • Through the Youth Help Project, adolescents/teenagers who were identified as ‘school dons’ (bullies) have demonstrated positive behaviour change and a self perception as positive leaders in school.
  • JYAN is represented on an ad hoc and permanent basis in a number of policy fora with the Jamaican government and various international agencies.

“We learn the value of gaining respect from our adult partners by informing ourselves and documenting our experiences. Without this we would not have been able to represent fully the concerns and needs of the young people we serve. ...We learned to appreciate and respect deadlines, authority, combining passion with commitment and the opinions of our adult partners. Thus we were able to teach government, donor agencies, technocrats and other stakeholders a critical lesson to see young people way beyond the idea of us as just an asset to policy planning and programming.” Jaevion Nelson, JYAN

Lessons learned

  • The set up and support for youth-led organisations can be very straightforward.
  • Feedback indicates that young people reached through this work have joined the network because they admire the direct youth-on-youth approach/methodology and they feel comfortable sharing their challenges and concerns.
  • Particular administrative and managerial capacities required: three full-time staff and a core volunteer board of five to ten members giving ten hours per week.

Potential challenges

  • Lack of resources (human, financial, and infrastructural). So far this has been mitigated by the dedicated voluntary involvement of the core team and contributions in kind (space and administrative resources) from partners.

For further information contact:

http://www.amplifyyourvoice.org/jamaica

or Jaevion Nelson, jaevion@j-yan.org

Youth leading youth - Photo © JA-STYLE

Additional Resources: 

1) JYAN Advocacy Toolkit: see http://bit.ly/cCd9KR

2) ‘Youth Led Organizations and SRHR’ (a step by step guide to establishing youth NGOs that goes wider than the SRHR sector): http://bit.ly/cxcm3h

3) Inter-American Development Bank: www.iadb.org

4) YEN/UNIDO/ILO/UNDP Youth-led Development Project in West Africa, see: http://bit.ly/bL9T8c

Youth Engagement Lens: Partners, Leaders
Operational Area: Implementation

Monitoring and evaluation

Defining monitoring and evaluation

Monitoring and evaluation (M&E) are integral and distinct parts of strategy and implementation. They are critical tools for forward-looking strategic positioning, organisational learning and for sound management. In terms of M&E with and for youth there are two key areas to focus on:

1) Donor agencies’support, encouragement and advocacy for the continued development of international youth development indicators and a set of targets on key areas for youth development: see the Commonwealth/UNDESA case study 18.

2) Direct engagement working with young evaluators, monitoring and assessing interventions: see case study 19 and case study 20.

Young people can be engaged in a variety of ways including designing indicators and methodology, data gathering, report writing and participating in review processes.

Added value of working with youth

  • Involving, training and supporting young people who are the target of a programme to take a lead in monitoring and evaluation can produce more accurate data (often youth respond better to youth).
  • Employing young people and supporting them in roles as volunteers or interns can be cost effective. Young people’s contributions often outweigh the financial implications.
  • If they come from the target community, young people can be important communicators, promoting community support and engagement.

“Participation of young people in evaluations may lead to issues being identified which might otherwise be overlooked. For example, in the evaluation of the Families Orphans and Children Under Stress (FOCUS) programme in Zimbabwe, children and young people identified stigma and sexual abuse as major issues.” Family Health International

The barriers and how to overcome them

Initially, young people, no less than adults, will probably lack technical M&E skills. It can be effective to hold training sessions with adults and young people together in order to simplify and clarify M&E terminology and to build the adult-youth partnerships, which can foster discussion and collaboration.

Some stakeholders will be sensitive about discussing faults or failures with young people, i.e., those perceived to be junior or inferior in status. It is therefore important to emphasise/introduce the skills that a young evaluator can bring, for example, the ability to reach out to other peers and use of local languages that can help minimise social barriers.

 

Valuing young people’s contributions - Photo © Students Partnership Worldwide

Initial stages and indicators

Initial steps

Below are some initial questions you should consider when hiring young evaluators:

  • Is it appropriate for young people to evaluate this programme/project?
  • How can you make contact with young evaluators?
  • Who in your M&E team should they work with? Do they need any training on working with young people?
  • Are you collecting evidence on the benefits of youth participation?

We now turn to some indicators for the three thematic areas of this guide. They offer an initial overview of the key areas to track in relation to youth development in the given sector.

Sample indicators (by thematic area)...

...to be disaggregated by sex, age, and other relevant indicators of exclusion where appropriate

Governance, voice and accountability

  • Budget allocated to national youth council;
  • Diversity and representativeness of youth council/parliament membership;
  • Youth membership of other voluntary civil society organisations;
  • Seats for youth on decision-making bodies (such as committees and councils);
  • Youth voter registration and participation in the electoral process;56
  • Improved accountability mechanisms (internal and external) such as complaints mechanisms and feedback on how ideas have been used.

Post-conflict transitions and livelihoods
  • Improved skills, income, employment/self-employment (including socially excluded groups);
  • Improvements in the sustainability of new or existing economic activities;
  • Improved health (including decreases in sexually-transmitted infections and substance abuse);
  • Enhanced civil society engagement (including reduced crime and violence or a decrease in extremism);
  • Improved social and economic opportunities for young women (which is linked to later marriages and increased personal agency);
  • Increased investments in continuing education by young people and their families.57

Sexual and reproductive health and rights

In relation to MDG 5 and 6: Maternal mortality and reproductive health, combating HIV/AIDs, malaria and other diseases, key indicators include:
  • Reduction in the maternal mortality ratio and a decrease in adolescent birth rates;
  • HIV prevalence among pregnant women aged 15 to 24 decreased;
  • Condom use rate of the contraceptive prevalence rate increased;
  • Percentage of population aged 15 to 24 with comprehensive correct knowledge of HIV/AIDS increased;
  • Contraceptive prevalence rate increased. 

Case studies in this section
We now turn to three case studies demonstrating youth participation in M&E:

18. Country Level Indicators (Commonwealth/UN)

Country Level Indicators

Lack of age-aggregated data and specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound objectives is a global problem affecting the vast majority of youth plans and programmes.

The Commonwealth Plan of Action for Youth Empowerment 2007-2015 (PAYE) and the World Programme of Action for Youth (WPAY) are framework documents that provide ways forward. The PAYE underpins the work of the Commonwealth Youth Programme (CYP), and is offered as a model strategic plan for ministries of youth, but also calls for mainstreaming across departments. CYP and a number of UN system agencies are collaborating on next steps.

Problems addressed

  • There is a lack of systematic country-level indicators for youth. The PAYE contains rudimentary universal indicators (integrated with the millennium development goals) and is intended to complement M&E frameworks developed at national and regional levels.
  • Governments were initially cautious about measuring progress in youth development.

Objectives

  • To formulate, test and review different approaches to youth development;
  • To define broad, inclusive indicators for monitoring and measuring youth development in the economic, social and political spheres. A number of Commonwealth youth ministers called for a youth development indicators tool for:
    • Setting targets and measuring progress (including progress on the PAYE);
    • Sharpening advocacy for youth development;58
    • Assisting youth mainstreaming within each country, and decision making about allocating scarce resources.

Youth as beneficiaries

Youth development indicators are intended to impact governance, the economy and service delivery in all sectors. Indicators will focus on three key areas: political empowerment, social empowerment and economic empowerment.

Youth as partners

Youth development indicators are intended to employ participatory as well as statistical approaches. Young people are members of the technical advisory committee and will be part of the expert panel.

Process

  • The Commonwealth youth ministers meeting in 2008 endorsed the concept.
  • UNWPAY goals and targets were proposed in October 2008.
  • By February 2009, a number of organisations had revisited and reaffirmed their commitment.
  • High-level discussions on youth development indicators were part of the 47th UN Commission on Social Development.
  • CYP, ILO, UNDESA, UN Dept Statistics and UN Latin America made recommendations on next steps.
  • It is anticipated that by 2012, four Commonwealth countries will have piloted revised indicators.

Results

Development of the indicators is at an early stage, however:

  • PAYE has been endorsed by all 53 Commonwealth countries. There have been public launches in a number of countries including Anguilla, Guyana, Barbados, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Vanuatu and Cook Islands.
  • CYP has used PAYE as the basis of national youth policy development (a majority of Commonwealth countries) and subsequent action planning. Youth has also been mainstreamed into the M&E framework for all Commonwealth Secretariat technical assistance.
  • WPAY has guided national youth policies (most recently Cambodia’s) and regional initiatives such as the African Youth Charter and the Ibero-American Youth Convention.

Lessons learned

  • Successes in national youth policy formulation, including participatory processes, have often been followed by failures not only in M&E.
  • M&E at national level should be combined with efforts to mainstream youth, as stand-alone ministries lack power and resources.
  • Malaysia and Brazil (with UNESCO support) have developed national level M&E frameworks.

Potential challenges

  • Cultural differences in defining youth demographic, and focus and prioritisation of indicators.
  • Gaps in technical understanding and guiding philosophy (paradigms) as well as resources.

 

For further information contact:

Commonwealth Youth Programme,

http://www.thecommonwealth.org/subhomepage/152816/

Commonwealth Youth Forum 7 - Photo © Nia Lole

  • 58. The Human Development Index has been a foundational basis for PAYE, however a simple international ranking index is not the objective of the Commonwealth Youth Development Indicators.
Additional Resources: 

1) Example indicators from the Commonwealth Plan of Action for Youth EmpowermentExample youth Indicators

2) UNDESA on Youth Development Indicators: http://bit.ly/9XMZUk

Youth Engagement Lens: Beneficiaries
Operational Area: Monitoring and Evaluation

Resource: Example indicators from Youth Development Index

The following indicators are adapted from Commonwealth PAYE

Economic indicators

  • Reduce by half the proportion of people living on less than a dollar a day;
  • Increase the percentage of young women and men in formal and non-formal employment by 2015;
  • All governments to enact pro-youth employment policies and incentives by 2010;
  • All sectors/ministries to allocate at least 25% of their total annual budget in support of youth development mainstreaming;
  • Numbers of people receiving entrepreneurship training as part of their formal education;
  • Numbers of young people receiving micro-credit;
  • Numbers of young people undergoing apprenticeships or vocational/business skills training.

Political indicators

  • Human rights as part of school curricula and youth development training;
  • Numbers of young people involved in governance, democracy and human rights education as a) educators, and b) beneficiaries:
  • Youth membership of electoral commissions:
  • Ratification status of human rights instruments.

Social indicators

  • Percentage increase in social sector allocations and spending for young people;
  • Percentage decreases in incidence of youth crime, substance abuse, teenage pregnancy and suicide;
  • Decrease in HIV prevalence amongst youth demographic;
  • Numbers of families benefiting from training (counselling, communication skills and other).

The paradigm: empowerment

Commonwealth youth ministers and heads of government have endorsed the view that:

“Empowering young people means creating and supporting the enabling conditions under which young people can act on their own behalf and on their own terms, rather than at the direction of others. These enabling conditions fall into four broad categories: i) an economic and social base; ii) political will, adequate resource allocation and supportive legal and administrative frameworks; iii) a stable environment of equality, peace and democracy; and iv) access to knowledge, information and skills, and a positive value system.

“...A positive value system cannot be simply taught as if it were another kind of information. A value system is demonstrated, by actions. By their actions, youth leaders and other role models in government, civil society, media and education need to demonstrate that:

  • All young women and men have grounds for self-worth;
  • People of all backgrounds and in all circumstances deserve the respect and understanding of others;
  • Violence is not the way to resolve conflicts;
  • Traditions are often things of value, but are not to be followed blindly;
  • Change is a constant and must be faced with hope and creativity;
  • Consensus can be reached through dialogue and debate;
  • Human rights are to be respected.”
Reaching out to youth - Photo © Nia Lole

19. Youth Empowerment Programme (NAC, Uganda)

Youth Empowerment

Youth-led monitoring and evaluation (M&E) facilitates the design of realistic and practical tools, as well as building transferable skills and ensuring that young people’s input to decision-making is informed and consistent.

The Youth Empowerment Programme (YEP)60 has young people leading field- based M&E as part of their activities on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), livelihoods and conflict resolution with their peers in schools and communities. Their experiences were discussed and recorded during a youth guidance project workshop in Uganda.

Problems addressed

  • How to support and train young people to take ownership of and successfully implement M&E activities in programmes that involve them;
  • Youth engagement in all aspects of programming and encouraging youth-led analysis.

Objectives

  • To provide young people with skills and support in both quantitative and qualitative research methods.
  • To use M&E data during the course of the programme to improve programme delivery.

Youth as partners

Young people are given the skills to conduct a range of monitoring and evaluation activities.

Youth as leaders

Young evaluators help develop indicators and write final reports and recommendations.

Process

  • Interactive, group-based training on:
    • What M&E is and its purpose in development programmes;
    • Evaluation tools: focus group discussions, life skills checklists, knowledge assessments (particularly on SRHR and livelihoods) and surveys;
    • Monitoring tools: daily log sheets and books, demonstration and replication records, activity/event reporting forms, participant lists and monthly progress reports;
    • Trainees practice the tools by evaluating the training itself.
  • Young people go to the field and are responsible for:
    • Pre-testing and contributing to the design of M&E tools;
    • Monitoring the programme in the field – which involves them keeping daily logs of all activities, with participants disaggregated by age, gender and in- or out-of-school status;
    • Implementing behavioral surveillance surveys and youth knowledge, attitudes and practice surveys.
  • Staff visit the field to: 
    • Give young people feedback on the quality of their M&E;
    • Support data analysis and feed learning back into programme delivery.
  • Young people take part in the annual programme evaluations.

Results

  • Monitoring data has enabled programmes to prioritise who target beneficiaries should be;
  • Young people have increased voice, influence and agency within the YEP.
  • Young people made refinements to tools, such as:
    • Rephrasing of questions, especially in the local language when phrases are not easily translated;
    • Improvements to the behaviour surveillance survey questions, format and guidelines;
    • More user-friendly data collection methods.

“M&E enables young people to experience firsthand the issues affecting development and the impact of development interventions in order to learn best practices to further instigate change within their communities and country and to develop vital skills for their professional development. Young people are an untapped resource primarily perceived as only the target of programme interventions instead of being effective in the implementation of a programme and its monitoring and evaluation." Natalie Newell, M&E co-ordinator, YEP/SPW Uganda

Lessons learned

  • Length of training needs to be increased to a minimum of two weeks. Volunteers must be thoroughly trained about cultural norms, sensitivity and confidentiality.
  • On-the-job training empowers most, and therefore periodic training is vital.
  • Schedule training for particular interest groups, e.g., after 5pm is often best for students.
  • Training should be skills-oriented, practical and conducted in local languages.
  • Standardised training across the country is not always suitable; customise training based on target groups.

Potential challenges

  • Achieving gender balance for focus group discussions in M&E data collection; young women may need to ask permission of male relatives to take part.
  • Volunteers deviating from agreed methods, such as males asking sensitive SRHR questions of females.

For further information contact:

SPW Uganda, http://www.spw.org

 

Gaining vital skills for the future - Photo © Yarri

  • 60. 2010-2012 funding from DFID-CSCF
Additional Resources: 

1) SPW M&E training VPE Initial Training Session #2_17Feb09 (2) for young evaluators

2) SPW Uganda Volunteer SPW UGANDA VOLUNTEER ME GUIDELINES 2009 (2)

3) Shared Learning Network 4 Uganda report: http://bit.ly/90nUck

Youth Engagement Lens: Beneficiaries, Partners
Operational Area: Monitoring and Evaluation

20. Measuring Adolescent Empowerment (UNESCO, Nepal)

Measuring Empowerment

In accordance with UNESCO’s strategy of action with and for youth, which strives to involve young people as equal partners in all aspects of project planning, implementation and evaluation, the Section for Youth collaborated with Youth Initiative to monitor and evaluate a pilot on ‘Breaking the poverty cycle of women’ in two districts of Nepal. Peer-group monitoring and evaluation was expected to generate a better reflective mechanism to evaluate progress from the recipients’ viewpoint and to contribute to the capacity-building of youth organisations active in social development. Youth Initiative was responsible for carrying out the M&E which was simultaneously conducted in Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan.

Problems addressed

  • Lack of outreach by peers during M&E data collection.
  • Greater understanding of literacy and life skills for poor and excluded ethnic groups is needed in Nepal.
  • Lack of awareness on violations of adolescents’ rights, including trafficking and gender-based violence in Nepal.

Objectives

  • To contribute to the capacity-building of youth organisations active in social development, including community learning centres.
  • To involve young people as equal partners in all aspects of project planning, implementation and evaluation.
  • To contribute to mid-term evaluation of adolescents’ empowerment project.

Youth as beneficiaries

One thousand and fifty adolescent girls (10 to 19 years) and 1,000 boys involved in the project were affected by the evaluation findings.

Youth as leaders

M&E led by a youth organisation: Youth Initiative. Eight adolescents (four boys and four girls) acted as peer evaluators. The evaluation was designed, conducted and reported on by a youth-led organisation.

Process

  • Youth Initiative selected to carry out M&E at an early stage of the whole project;
  • Orientation of young evaluators, including lessons learned from previous cycle;
  • M&E training and discussion;
  • Eighteen village development committees were visited for M&E activities, whereby focus group discussions (using random sample techniques), individual interviews (with adolescents, parents and others) and observations (on hygiene, transport, energy use, health, use of public space etc) were conducted;
  • Comparisons were made between adolescents within and outside the project.

Results

“Before we never heard about outcome and impact level (results). Now we would like to focus on outcome and impact level.” Young evaluator

  • Skills and knowledge of young evaluators.
  • General M&E findings:
    • The project was found to have an impact on discussion, decision-making and volunteering on HIV/AIDS and public health issues (fire risks, sanitation, nutrition). However, broader SRHR knowledge was lacking.
    • Legal literacy (rights) classes were popular with adolescent girls, but few were aware of legal advice services.
    • Findings supported recommendations to target illiterate out-of-school youth, and produce more practically oriented and attractive materials.
    • Overall quality of the programme depended on facilitators’ levels of motivation, especially given their inadequate salary.

Lessons learned

  • Young evaluators can uncover new issues, such as the need for establishing separate classes for newer and older project participants.
  • Providing incentives for young beneficiaries or survey respondents is vital, such as offering refreshments.
  • Facilitators may have access problems in remote rural localities, so providing logistical support (bicycles in this case) is crucial.
  • It is important to ensure there are minimal gaps between evaluation cycles.

Potential challenges

  • Seasonal weather patterns (in this case, the rainy season of June to August) can disrupt data collection;
  • Fear of open exchange of views due to conflict (in this case Nepalese-Maoist insurgency);
  • Shy or uninterested respondents. A large number of active respondents fell outside the planned age-range, and were 20 to 25 years old.

For further information contact:

info@youthinitiative.org.np or see www.youthinitiative.org.np

Exploring gender dynamics in Nepal - Photo © Students Partnership Worldwide

Additional Resources: 
Youth Engagement Lens: Beneficiaries, Partners, Leaders
Operational Area: Monitoring and Evaluation

Part Three

Getting started with mainstreaming youth participation

Introduction

Part Three aims to enable donor agencies to get started with youth mainstreaming in their organisation.

This guide has been produced in the context of a growing recognition of the need to make the needs and experiences of socially excluded youth an integral dimension of development processes. This can be achieved by institutionalising youth policy and programming across all levels of development strategy. In the youth context this means:

Part One provided the rationale and benefits of youth participation and Part Two shared a range of promising practice for working with youth. In order to systematically pursue this type of youth participation through a process of youth mainstreaming, donor agencies may wish to consider developing comprehensive, process standards: commitments to follow an approach based on youth as assets. Essential elements that donor agencies should consider include:

Alongside the provision of quality standards, Part Three outlines two key steps to getting started with youth mainstreaming: conducting a youth audit and including youth in country planning.

Fostering youth-adult partnerships - Photo © Students Partnership Worldwide

Quality standards

Introduction to the quality standards

The quality standards provide a foundation for youth in development. They were developed by drawing out lessons learnt from the case studies and consultation with a range of civil society organisations. They therefore act as a starting point for donor agencies to develop their own approach to youth policy and strategy. The quality standards will require adaptation in different social, economic, political and cultural contexts. They provide initial essential elements to consider when getting started or improving work with youth.

Quality standards are:

  • Outcomes which the donor agencies (either directly or through delivery partners) can use for quality control purposes.
  • Cumulative in that more ambitious, higher level standards assume that more basic ones are met. Standards are indicators of quality and interventions may not manage to meet all of them.
  • Not exhaustive, as the process will necessarily vary with sector, scale, country context, and the views of participating young people and their communities.

They have been developed with the expectation that when used, there will be a process of further research, consultation, field-testing and review. Alongside replicating the case studies, this is the logical next step in terms of use and uptake of the guide. The Hear by Right Framework (developed in the UK) would be a solid platform from which to develop an extensive and comprehensive standards framework. It will always be crucial to involve young people in this process.

The quality standards on the following page are structured according to the three-lens approach to youth participation, and a separate set of standards have been developed for each of the four operational areas.

We now turn to the quality standards for work in each of the four key operational areas: organisational development; policy and planning; implementation; and monitoring and evaluation. Young people can be beneficiaries, partners and leaders in each of these areas (see Table 7). Donor agencies can use the supporting strategies to help put in place the different standards, and where appropriate references are made to particular case studies in the guide.
Table 7: Explanation of the standards table format
Working for youth as beneficiaries

Defined as the basics of a good intervention for young people:

  • Explicitly focusing on youth issues through documentation; preparing the ground for working with them as partners; 
  • Youth as beneficiaries implies they are a target group and area dequately informed e.g., as survey respondents.
Engaging with youth as partners

Defined as:

  • What is appropriate to collaborative interventions, where young people are fully consulted and informed;
  • Youth as partners implies mutual co-operation and responsibility;
  • Young people generally need experience working at this level before progressing to becoming leaders (if appropriate) – a progression which not all will want to or be able to make.
Supporting youth as leaders

Defined as:

  • What support is appropriate to youth-initiated and directed interventions;
  • Opening up a space for youth-led decision-making (delegation) within existing structures, systems and processes.

Supporting strategies

These are the practical ways or methods on the ground that can be adopted to pursue the above quality standards.

 

  • Strategies draw on the case studies and reference them;
  • Strategies are activity-focused; they are things that donor agencies can do directly in support of the desired outcomes.

 

Organisational development standards and strategies

nine essential elements

Organisational development refers to changing internal structures, systems, and processes to ensure that they include an element of youth participation. It relates to preparing for working with young people and making the first steps towards youth mainstreaming.

QUALITY STANDARDS 1. ORGANISATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

 

Improving our own structures, systems and processes for working for youth as beneficiaries, engaging with youth as partners and supporting youth as leaders.

Working for youth as beneficiaries

 

(Target group)

1.1 Performance and evaluation framework, training, budgets and procedures modified; youth work competencies integrated into staff appraisal system as appropriate.61

 

1.2 Staff share a common understanding and awareness of youth issues, youth networks and available resources (expertise), informed by an internal and external audit.

 

1.3 Adequate resources are committed to youth (such as for youth fellowships), including a dedicated staff focal point.

Engaging with youth as partners


(Collaborators)

1.4 The organisation employs young people and affords them due credit, benefits and protections under human resource policies. (Provisions for under-18s conform to the CRC).

 

1.5 Resources (finance, training) are dedicated for youth and older staff to share decisions on an ongoing basis (e.g. youth participation on boards, in country assistance planning etc).

 

1.6 The organisation has its own policy and implementation plan on youth, which young people are consulted on.

Supporting youth as leaders

 

(Youth-initiators)

1.7 Young people participate and influence HR (recruitment, training others, appraisal) planning and budgeting decisions where appropriate and are shown due respect for their contributions.

 

1.8 Youth-initiated processes (such as peer recruitment onto boards) are supported through mentoring, guidance and transparent communication (MoUs: procedures for responding to approaches from youth).

 

1.9 Youth leaders (networks and individuals) are engaged according to merit (leadership qualities, commitment, representing others); there is clarity on whether youth are donor agency, civil society, state or political representatives or private citizens. Selection is based on competitive processes or democratic election by peers where appropriate.

Supporting strategies

 

  • Conduct internal advocacy (case study 2) with colleagues (for example ‘brown bag’ lunches – informal information sharing) on promoting integrating youth within the organisation, policy and programming. 
  • Adopt a mainstreaming approach and lessons learned from the gender sector. 
  • Engage existing youth/civil society structures (e.g. national youth commission/councils) before creating any new ones (case studies 4, 5).
  • Select competent, and/or committed and enthusiastic fellows/interns or youth board members (case studies 3, 4, 5, 17). Selection not only based on experience. 
  • Take positive action in interests of gender balance and social diversity (case studies, 3, 5).
  • Establish review mechanisms for youth fellows and action plans: provide staff training and mentoring for fellows (case study 3).
  • Use a participatory approach (see case studies 6, 7, 8, 16, and 17) internally with staff, as well as with external stakeholders and beneficiaries.

 

  • 61. CYP and HART Trust have developed a competency framework that has been adopted by a number of Caribbean public service commissions.

Policy and planning standards and strategies

nine essential elements

Policy and planning is an important stage for learning and instituting inclusive working practices - especially (but not only) where it aims to influence youth programmes and services.

QUALITY STANDARDS 2. POLICY AND PLANNING

 

Moving forward municipal, regional and national decision-making for working for youth as beneficiaries, engaging with youth as partners and supporting youth as leaders.

Working for youth as beneficiaries

 

(Target group)

2.1 The policy/plan is consistent with international legal and policy frameworks, including non-discrimination: young women and men as citizens, assets and rights-bearers are an explicit theme in the policy/plan to the same extent as other social groups.

 

2.2 Young people’s views and experience (survey data) are part of the evidence-base and values-base for the policy.

 

2.3 There is an informed rationale behind the choice of young target groups, including gender and social exclusion analysis; there is a rationale for any differentiating of youth from older adults; the policy/plan does not conflate youth with pre-adolescent children.

Engaging with youth as partners

 

(Collaborators)

2.4 Clear procedures, lines of accountability and conflict resolution principles62 are in place to minimise the risk of intimidation/political reprisals.

 

2.5 There is firm commitment to implementation of the policy/plan (public statements in the media, financial resources), achieved via meaningful consultation with young people.

 

2.6 Feedback mechanisms are in place to share what recommendations and views have/have not been adopted and why.

Supporting youth as leaders

 

(Youth-initiators)

2.7 Engagement goes beyond consultation and pre-determined youth issues: young leaders help to determine topics, agendas and procedures.

 

2.8 Existing youth structures (national youth councils/parliaments) and their agendas are recognised – youth leaders are engaged on merit (attitude and performance) and youth-initiated processes are supported (see Standards 1.7 and 1.8).

 

2.9 Young leaders participate in policy processes across sectors, such as education, health and trade.

Supporting strategies

 

  • Establish what youth policies and structures already exist. If there is a national youth policy check that there is an action plan, resources and mechanisms for it to function through (case studies 6, 9, 18).
  • Consider the capacity needs of the youth ministry and raise its profile with other relevant departments (case studies 4, 18).
  • Use the donor agency’s convening power to share promising practice between different sectors, in support of government’s mainstreaming efforts (case study 13).
  • Establish realistic timeframes (case studies 6, 8). Ensure that delivery partners involve young people in the earliest stages of planning; utilise a range of arts/media to reach a representative sample of young people (case studies 5, 9, 13, 14, 17).
  • Ensure delivery partners, translators, guardians and young people are briefed on their specific roles and responsibilities (case studies 7, 9) and seek the personal informed consent of all participants including under-18s (case studies 8, 11).
  • Encourage delivery partners to explain the use of log frames/simplified log frames to young people if appropriate (case study 20).

 

  • 62. Clarify perceptions, focus on common ground, admit mistakes, and generate options (CYP/UNICEF 2005)

Implementation standards and strategies

nine essential elements

Youth have the capacity to directly implement development programmes that can improve their own lives and the lives of others; this relates particularly to programmes that are aimed specifically at youth but is not limited to them. Youth can play a role in implementing a range of development interventions.

QUALITY STANDARDS 3. IMPLEMENTATION

 

Enabling delivery of interventions working for youth as beneficiaries, engaging with youth as partners and supporting youth as leaders.

Working for youth as beneficiaries

 

(Target group)

3.1 There is a rationale for the target groups and interventions chosen based on a situation assessment (informed by local needs as well as high-level development targets, policy and planning).

 

3.2 A risk assessment is carried out (particularly for post-conflict/SRHR issues); steps are taken to avoid potential for conflict with older adults; the initiative has a culturally appropriate values base and informed consent is secured for all stages.

 

3.3 Resources are allocated in a way which is transparent and accountable to young people and their communities.

Engaging with youth as partners

 

(Collaborators)

3.4 Young people assist programme delivery through consultation and collaboration with adults who provide direction.

 

3.5 Capacity-building is in place for young people to progress from beneficiary to partner roles (e.g., sharing in budgeting decisions).

 

3.6 Young people are not exploited; the initiative conforms to the decent work agenda.

Supporting youth as leaders

 

(Youth-initiators)

3.7 Young people lead programme delivery with the appropriate guidance and support they need to fulfil their roles.

 

3.8 Systems are in place for young leaders to be accountable to peers, communities, delivery partners and donor agencies.

 

3.9 There are opportunities for young people to participate throughout all aspects of a programme cycle, including situation analysis, planning and day-to-day management.

Supporting strategies

  • Find out who are the participation and youth ‘champions’; utilise their knowledge and expertise to build a coalition encompassing government, donor agencies, NGOs and CBOs (case study 14).
  • Conduct stakeholder analysis (case study 13) and market assessment (case study 11).
  • Familiarise donor agencies and delivery partners with relevant (youth) policy and planning: local, national and international.
  • Familiarise decision-makers and delivery partners with participatory principles and practice – which includes: youth-adult dialogue (case studies 6, 7, 13, 15, 17); youth-adult partnerships (case studies 6, 7, 16, 17); participatory needs assessments and social mapping (case studies 8, 11); participatory planning and budgeting (case study 16); peer education and other volunteering (case studies 13, 14).
  • Maintain databases of youth-serving organisations, leaders, champions and alumni.
  • Ensure that youth participation is documented, analysed, communicated and celebrated.

Monitoring and evaluation standards and strategies

nine essential elements

Monitoring and evaluation (M&E) are integral and distinct parts of strategy and implementation. Of particular relevance to youth mainstreaming is the development of a set of youth indicators and the potential for young people to be part of/lead specific M&E activities. These may be related to specific youth interventions but young people can successfully lead M&E activities in general.

QUALITY STANDARDS 4. MONITORING AND EVALUATION

 

Checking our progress on working for youth as beneficiaries, engaging with youth as partners and supporting youth as leaders.

Working for youth as beneficiaries

 

(Target Group)

4.1 Existing M&E processes are built on to ensure long-term tracking of beneficiaries.

 

4.2 Project design is flexible to incorporate informal feedback from beneficiaries.

 

4.3 Indicators monitor quality of facilitation and quality of young people’s experience (process) as well as outcomes and impact.

Engaging with youth as partners

 

(Collaborators)

4.4 Reviews are formally committed to incorporate young people’s feedback.

 

4.5 Young people have an opportunity to reflect and learn at all critical points of the M&E process, including review.

 

4.6 Participants are trained to fully understand their M&E roles (e.g., data collection, selecting indicators, and telling the story in a range of media).

Supporting youth as leaders

 

(Youth-initiators)

4.7 Young people compile and present independent evaluation reports in a range of creative media.

 

4.8 Young people lead in the analysis and interpretation of evaluation data (supported by adults).

 

4.9 Young people train others (peers, communities) in formal/informal M&E methodologies.

Supporting strategies

 

  • Ensure that indicators include survey of young people’s views; are disaggregated by sex, age and other relevant factors to capture social exclusion; and derive from policy, situation analysis and planning, including as seen by the young people.
  • Train young people in M&E (case studies 4, 19, 20) including log frame analysis, respondent confidentiality, survey methods.
  • Train staff and young people in reporting: narrative, photography/video/radio etc (case study 15).
  • Train young people in how to confidently talk to the media, officials, external evaluators and other stakeholders (case studies 7, 17).
  • Build evaluations and reviews into public events such as festivals.
  • Ensure ongoing informal M&E through action-learning, group and individual self-awareness (case studies 7, 8).
  • Establish structures for tracking e.g., ‘alumni’ networks, online fora etc.

 

Replicating the case studies

questions to consider

Now that you are familiar with the case studies and their associated approaches (in Part Two), and their associated standards and strategies (in Part Three), it is important to consider the following questions before getting started:

  • Are the problems addressed and the objectives relevant to a donor agency/government and specific to the national and local context?
  • Key questions to ask of the local context include:
    • Which youth are excluded?
    • Does current policy and practice treat them as beneficiaries, partners or leaders?
    • What potential opportunities are there from beneficiary to partner? From partner to leader?
    • For each lens, which approach is appropriate to these young people’s evolving capacities, fundamental interests and human rights?
  • How can the process be adapted to suit existing country-level partnerships?
  • Would such an intervention necessitate new partnerships?
  • To what extent did the initiative satisfy the standards for youth as beneficiaries, partners and leaders?
  • Was the scale appropriate?
  • Was there a suitable ratio of partners/leaders to beneficiaries?
  • If young people featured only as beneficiaries, what could have been done (or should be done in the future) to promote them to the level of partners or leaders?
Photo © Students Partnership Worldwide

Youth Audit

The quality standards will support donor agencies to mainstream youth throughout their organisation and their activities. They have been developed as a tool which can be used on an ongoing basis by donor agencies and policy advisors when they are engaging in or implementing a range of activities: developing a new programme, assessing a funding application, setting up strategy and addressing gaps in internal systems.

In taking a first step towards youth mainstreaming and using the quality standards, donor agencies are advised to conduct a youth audit; this will enable an assessment of the current status of work with youth. All donor agencies now possess some form of gender analysis/framework63 that is guiding and improving the quality of social inclusion in all aspects of their work. One such example is the Department for International Development (DFID) gender manual, which provides one model for asking the right questions64 of our own organisations: see Box 5 below. Also look at case study 2 for an example of when United Nations Population Fund (UNDP) conducted a comprehensive youth audit.

The audit questions below can be used in two key ways: firstly, to screen concept notes (seeking funding); and secondly, they can be incorporated into social appraisal mechanisms (or pro poor checklists) as practical ways to institutionalise youth mainstreaming.

Box 5: Questions for a youth audit

Policy and action plans

 

  • Is there a youth policy? When was it developed? Who was involved in its formulation? What are the arrangements for implementation and monitoring?
  • To what extent are youth issues considered in other key policies? What are the arrangements for implementation and monitoring? To what extent have policy review and evaluation processes considered impact on women and men?

 

Leadership

 

  • What is the attitude of senior management staff to youth issues? Who does the management consult with about youth issues?
  • Which external organisations and people have an influence on the organisation? Do they take youth issues seriously?
  • What are the decision-making bodies? What role do youth and older adults play in decision-making? 

 

Capacity

Youth focal staff/youth champions

Is there a designated youth unit/staff member? Since when? What do they do? With what resources? How effectively?

 

All staff

What responsibility do staff have for youth equality issues? What training have they received? Have staff been issued with guidelines on youth mainstreaming? What is their level of knowledge and skill? Is sensitivity to youth issues included in job descriptions/assessed at interview/monitored at appraisals?

 

Organisation

Does the organisation have capacity to learn from past and current activities, and use that learning to inform future interventions?

 

Programming and accountability

 

  • Is attention to youth issues included in routine systems and procedures: situation analysis, consultation, planning, budgeting recruitment/contracting, implementation, monitoring and review procedures? How and to what effect?
  • Are programmes being implemented to ensure youth get a fair share of benefits and are barriers being addressed?
  • Is the organisation, and are staff held to account for any youth equality policy commitments? Who by and how? 

 

Partnerships (as part of stakeholder analysis, social appraisal, and political appraisal):

 

  • Do partners see the organisation as committed to and skilled in youth issues?
  • Does the organisation learn from partners and support partners to promote rights of youth?

 

  • 63. Such as UNESCO’s Gender Mainstreaming Implementation Framework (GMIF) 2003
  • 64. These questions are adapted from DFID ‘Gender Manual – A Practical Guide’ (2008), p. 27. This framework is further elaborated upon in the DFID ‘Gender and Social Exclusion Analysis’ (GSEA) 2008. This focuses on three spheres of peole’s lives: society, state and the market.

Mainstreaming youth within country planning

Very few donor agencies at present would be in a position to answer positively to all or many of the questions posed in Box 5. This is intended as a checklist from which to continually review progress from, and should be built into organisational structures (see Figure 6 below). Other elements of mainstreaming youth within country planning include changing results frameworks, management frameworks and communications strategies. Most donor agencies will have their own format for country planning; here we have used a DFID example, and adapted it to include youth mainstreaming.

Figure 6: DFID Country Planning Framework65

Fig 6: DFID Country Planning Framework

 

There are two case studies where organisations describe national strategy development processes relevant to country planning; see case study 6 for practice sharing on UNDP’s experience of developing a national youth policy in Bahrain and case study 9 for DFID’s experiences relating to the development of Uganda’s national development plan.

Conducting a youth audit and mainstreaming youth in the country plan will provide a sound foundation from which to continue building and enhancing work with youth. The quality standards framework can be used on an ongoing basis to inform work with youth in different operational areas.

  • 65. Adapted from: Preparing a Country Plan, DFID How To Note, November 2008

Feedback mechanisms

We are continually working to update this guide and welcome submissions from young people, practitioners, academics and others working in this area. Please send any questions, enquiries or additional information regarding the standards and the case studies (including lessons learnt from replication) to us. 

You can contact us using the contact form.

Conclusion

Genuine participation gives ... ‘young people the power to shape both the process and the outcome’ UNICEF/Lansdown, 2004

The foundation for this guide is viewing youth as assets: as partners and leaders in development. An asset approach is based on recognising that young people have assets i.e., not simply viewing them as lacking capabilities or being deprived by circumstances, and that they collectively can be an asset to development; at local, national, regional and international levels. Central to this approach is a belief in core principles:

These core principles are crucial at all levels of: political strategy (building state capacity, partnering with other agencies etc); programmatic development (achieving standards, good practice etc); and sound management and governance (mainstreaming). Here, youth mainstreaming is understood as working with and for youth in four key areas:

It is vital to acknowledge that every age cohort, social group and individual young person is unique and ever-changing. Flexibility and creativity are prerequisites for working with young people. Therefore whatever the thematic focus or operational area the key is always understanding local context.

The strategies, approaches and frameworks contained in this guide are a place to start rather than blue-prints. Youth are diverse in terms of: age; gender; aspirations, levels of emotional and cognitive maturity; as well as socio-economically - ranging from influential elites to the poor, exploited and excluded.

Reinforcing inequalities by targeting youth leaders from well-known visible groups alone must be avoided. Like all other areas of development, understanding inequalities and power relationships is crucial, including in relation to gender dynamics. Social exclusion has been presented as a cross-cutting theme throughout this guide, and the youth sector can learn from gender in terms of appropriate approaches for reaching out to excluded members of communities.

Despite all the promising practice documented in the guide, few partnerships are systematically involving young people at all these stages, and thus excelling. A commitment to tackling the injustice of ignoring young people in development will yield results. Young people are the foundations for effective development, and if engaged they will improve many of the structural development challenges that we face today, including: enhancing the cohesion of families and communities, reducing health risks and advancing livelihood opportunities. They are the bridge between effective policy and valuable practical action on the ground.

‘Once a national focus on youth begins to show results — in poverty reduction and in other areas — a ‘virtuous circle’ is created whereby other countries will begin investing in youth, as well; not because international bodies argue for it, but because countries see it is in their own self-interest. It is in this way that a focus on youth can become truly self-sustaining.’ Mari Simonen, Director, Technical Division, UNFPA 2005

Appendices

Producing this guide

This appendix gives an overview of how young people contributed to producing the guide and is aimed at equipping personnel who are keen to partner with young people in conducting sharing and learning networks or in producing guidance materials. It serves as a model that can be replicated.

“I thought the uniqueness and importance of the project was the way in which young people were involved.” Social development advisor, DFID

Methodology in producing the guide

The participatory process of producing this guide began in November 2009 (although the seeds of the project go back to 2007 and the DFID Mapping Study). In November a project manager (aged 27) was hired as a consultant to lead on the project for the DFID-CSO Working Group, with Students Partnership Worldwide acting as the lead co-ordinating organisation. By early January, three part-time UK-based youth participation officers (in their late teens and early 20s) were recruited to assist on desk-based research relating to each of the three thematic areas. Full-time YPOs were also recruited to run the sharing and learning network sessions (SLNs) in Uganda and Nepal (see the diagram below).

 

Producing the guide

 

The process took 18 months:

Phase one: Conceptual scoping and outreach to partners (three months)

Phase two: Development of the draft guide (three months)

Phase three: Implementation of pilot SLNs, further development of guide, review of draft with key partners (seven months) 

Phase four: Evaluation of the process of producing the guide (two weeks)

Phase five: Revision of guide, design and online version (three months)

Phase six: Launch and dissemination (two months)

Sourcing materials and information for the guide

The three UK youth participation officers collected a series of case studies and resources through desk-based research which are featured in Part two of the guide (this was done in partnership with the project manager). After a review in May 2009, it was decided that the original desk-based sourcing of resources was insufficient for providing the necessary reflection and depth of analysis required for each case study.

An active-learning approach was therefore adopted in each of the two pilot countries – Uganda and Nepal – which enabled a contemporary sourcing of resources through a workshop format based on the ‘communities of practice’ concept.

The sharing and learning networks (SLNs) in Uganda and Nepal

The aim was to gather key learning on: youth exclusion; youth and unemployment; youth and peer education; and youth led research and M&E. These were topics which were of interest to the pilot countries, as well as key/missing areas required for the guide. From July to November 2009 four SLNs were piloted in both Uganda and Nepal. These platforms for open discussion, collaboration and reflection by key CSOs and donor agencies in each country were a first in both countries.

The national youth participation officers (YPOs) were responsible for:

  • Participating as partners in one to one meetings with the donor agencies and CSOs prior to the event to ensure participation;
  • Leading on and sourcing a keynote presentation from an organisation that has experience on the thematic issue for discussion;
  • Leading on timely regular communication and information sharing by: hiring of an independent young rapporteur to record proceedings and posting the workshop report on the project blog.
SLN at World Bank, Uganda - Photo © Students Partnership Worldwide

You can read more about the Sharing & Learning Networks on the following pages in this section. 

Shared Learning Networks

The SLN workshop format

  • Co-facilitated by YPOs;
  • Focused on experience-based learning that the participants encountered during their work on the respective topic, in particular discussing challenges and solutions. Often began with a key note presentation followed by small group discussions, and concluded with a plenary. For more details see SLN reports on the website: http://blog.ygproject.org/
  • Sessions aimed to be inclusive, open and reflexive.

“I have been impressed by the dynamism of the young people involved in the project; it is often hard to translate theory into practice. This project provides a good example of including young people in processes which can persuade other colleagues to do so.” DFID social development advisor

“The SLN has been able to identify key topics that are pertinent to youth, and it has tried to find solutions to the challenges.” World Bank Uganda

“The SLNs were great. It especially helped us take stock of who was doing what. I was telling SPW that they should continue next year, but more as a working group than a learning network.” UNFPA Nepal

“Without the SLN, CSOs and donor agencies would otherwise not have had the opportunity to share experiences. However, the benefits have extended beyond the session and this is where a visible impact can be seen. In both Uganda and Nepal, an added bonus of the SLNs has been cases of donor agencies taking the lessons learned back to their organisations.” (p.12 Evaluation Report)

Tips for replicating the SLNs

For the full evaluation report see: http://blog.ygproject.org/2010/01/19/process-evaluation-of-ygp/. Lessons learned on reproducing the SLNs include:

  • Engage organisations and donor agencies that are not currently involved in youth issues as well as ones which are; 
  • Encouraged donor agencies to appoint a youth focal point among their staff who can attend SLN meetings regularly to aid continuity; 
  • Consult relevant organisations on the format and topics to get their buy-in.

The SLNs have begun a collaborative process of mainstreaming the youth agenda, but there are further steps that need to be taken, particularly in terms of using and implementing the guide. These include:

Developing the SLNs into formal youth working groups

Such a working group will not only ensure sustainability but will also build a platform that will capture best practices on youth development. The working group could be chaired on a quarterly rotating basis by donor agencies. It will be important to clearly define the role of each member.

Shifting the focus of the SLNs to directly providing technical advice and input to donor agencies

This could include developing donor agencies’ strategies and capacity for youth participation (e.g., supporting dedicated youth staff).

Engagement of wider youth networks

“I get bored with adults talking about youth participation ...Youth can tell you so much more on why it is important to include them in three lines. It’s a fresh approach.” Project committee member

This project has made a conscious effort to engage wider youth networks, and not simply focus on working with a small number of talented individuals, our youth participation officers. This has been achieved by:

  • Conducting focus group discussions in January 2009 with young people from ten UK youth-focused networks. Key points they raised in relation to the guide included maintaining youth interest via the project blog.
  • A follow-up focus group discussion was held in the UK in January 2010, with support from the Uganda and Nepal teams. Concentrating on future implementation of the guide, the group recommended exploring the possibility of supporting animated presentations or use of other multimedia to present information in the guide, including creating capacity on the website for young reporters to update the guide live online with stories and videos detailing promising practice and learning on replicating case studies. The group also recommended translating the guide into local languages as appropriate.

Replicating the model

Through this project young people have steered, informed and engaged in discussion, and helped to develop that discussion into written guidance.

Lessons learned include:

  • Managing youth participation officers (YPOs)
    • Supporting YPOs: use of support forms (focusing on successes, challenges, weekly targets) for long distance management is highly valuable;
    • Ensuring YPO aims and learning are documented throughout the process as part of personnel management practices.
  • Managing demands made of the project: ensuring objectives are clear (by use of matrix/log frames where appropriate) and ensuring continual review processes in order to maintain expectations.
  • Ensuring regular communication with all partners via updates/bulletins made on a monthly basis to help streamline management processes.
  • Working with a project committee: ensuring a range of organisations with a breadth of perspectives and interest areas is crucial, particularly for informing the standards tables created in Part two. Ensuring a clear delineation of roles and responsibilities through open discussion and review mechanisms is important to minimise any potential tensions between adult and youth perspectives. Establishing the process for final decision-making will ensure effective time management.

“The whole process was a kind of training/capacity building, and the continuous feedback we received on our work helped.” National YPO

“Being a part of this process from the very beginning [i.e., youth working group] has been unique. I can appreciate the process and have seen a broader working group turn into something more specific and tangible.” UK YPO

Mariam at UNICEF Uganda: donor engagement - Photo © Students Partnership Worldwide

Related Resources

On the page below you can access a list of all the case study related resources in the guide, or click through to view the case study in full. 

Case Study Additional Resources
1. Adviser Field Visits (DFID Tanzania)

1) Internal guidelines adapted from Action Aid's Training Manual on Action Aid – Immersion trips

2) Resources on the following website: www.planotes.org

2. Youth Audit (UNFPA/UNCT Nepal)

1) The YGP Questionnaire; this offers advisers a quick analysis mechanism in order to assess how their agency is working with and for youth. View the YGP Quick Questionnaire (Doc).

2) The United Nations Youth Advisory Panel (Nepal) UNYAP Terms of Reference (Doc).

3) The United Nations Country Team in Nepal’s Youth Score Card (Doc) (November 2009). This is a more involved audit process, which is more comprehensive than the YGP audit. Depending on your organistaional set up one may be more relevant than the other.

4) IPPF, ‘Setting the Standards for Youth Participation’: http://www.bit.ly/due9DN (Website)

5) Family Health International’s ‘Institutional and Assessment Planning Tool’ see p. 37 of: http://www.bit.ly/bmvfb8 (PDF)

6) The Commonwealth’s ‘Putting Youth Engagement into Practice’ see page 15 of: http://www.bit.ly/a3qMP7 (PDF)

3. Youth Fellowships (UNFPA)

1) UNFPA Selection processes for fellowships (Word document)

2) UNFPAs Youth Fellowship Report (2007): http://www.bit.ly/bw4TuF (PDF)

3) Junior Professional Positions at the UN: http://www.bit.ly/amZSy1 (Website)

4. Young Consultants (Save/Ministry of Youth, Nepal)

1) ToR for Assessment in Nepal for the young researchers in Nepal

2) Save the Children (1999) Involving Young Researchers: http://bit.ly/9BeC6j  

3) The National Youth Agency UK: Young Researcher Network: http://bit.ly/bV3ySx 

4) Young Advisors ToR, adapted from the UK National Youth Agency.

5) The YGP SLN discussion in Nepal on research and M&E: http://bit.ly/c2Z4Xf  

5. Allocating Urban Youth Funds (UN-HABITAT)

1)  World Bank Youth Advisory Groups – checklist

2) UN Resolutions on engaging with urban youth:  http://bit.ly/cDKdC8

3) UN-HABITAT Global Campaign on Urban Governance: Youth, Children and Urban Governance:  http://bit.ly/91Anvh

6. Bahrain’s National Youth Policy (UNDP)

1) Bahrain Survey Questionnaire 

2) ‘Operations manual for the formulation of the Bahraini National Youth Strategy and Action Plan’ (including example surveys, timelines and project management materials):   http://bit.ly/buQujP

3) A 2009 profile of Bahrain’s youth policy with extensive reference to progress made in executing the Youth Strategy, as prepared for the International Association for National Youth Service (IANYS):  http://bit.ly/brmeEq

4) Making Commitments Matter: A Toolkit for Young People to Evaluate National Youth Policy (UNDESA):  http://bit.ly/ahQl2l

5) Get Youth On Board Toolkit on Youth Policies and Action plans (GTZ, 2008):  http://bit.ly/90yJFl

7. Research Institutions and Social Dialogue (Government of Brazil)

1) “Choicework” Choice work Methodology

2) For the report of the Dialogue see: http://bit.ly/dcFvtC

3) Democracy, Citizenship and Youth (2009):  http://bit.ly/cql0AV and  http://bit.ly/beW07R

4) For further information on working with leading research institutions see ODI:  http://bit.ly/9ju3Ci

8. Poverty Reduction Strategy (Government of Vietnam)

1) ‘Practical Implications of Participation in the PRSP Process’ Extracted from Children and Young People Participating in PRSP Processes – Lessons from Save the Children’s Experience’: http://bit.ly/b85IDc

2) ‘Putting Young people into Poverty Reduction Strategies’ (UNFPA): http://bit.ly/dBTxA5

9. Uganda's National Development Plan (DFID)

1)  Mainstreaming Youth (adapted from Commonwealth)

2) For further information on national consultations see ‘Children and Young People: Participating in Decision-making’ (UNICEF): http://bit.ly/asGm2N

3) UNICEF ‘Child Youth Participation Resource Guide’: http://bit.ly/awY4t2  

4) ‘So You Want to Involve Children in Research?’ (Save the Children): http://bit.ly/a3aDNf

10. SRHR Needs Assessment,(UNICEF, Sierra Leone)

1) The SPW Sierra Leone Out of School Study Final – SPW SL on their Needs Assessment

2) DFID Zimbabwe draft DFID Zimbabwe Youth Scoping Study Draft 21-04-08 on the situation of youth in the country.

3) Pacific Regional Youth Mapping Exercise power point

11. Displaced youth – livelihoods and alternative education (WRC)

1) Youth and Sustainable Livelihoods:Linking Vocational Training Programs to Market Opportunities in Northern Uganda’: http://bit.ly/ahz5dR

2) Women’s Refugee Commission Market Assessment Toolkit

3) ‘Untapped Potential: Displaced Youth’ : http://bit.ly/cJwSLE

4) ‘Right to Education during Displacement: A resource for organizations working with refugees and internally displaced persons’ was developed for international and local organizations, the United Nations and governments working with displaced communities: http://bit.ly/c1CROH

5) Too Little for Too Few: Meeting the Needs of Youth in Darfur (December 2008): http://bit.ly/9MaP2Q

6) Save the Children Norway publications on youth participation in post-conflict settings: http://bit.ly/aZT1Qn

12. Employment Fund, Nepal (DFID/SDC)

1) The Helvetas RMA concept note_Draft_ CKA 09

2) Shared Learning Network in Nepal. Read the report here: http://bit.ly/c2Z4Xf   

3) Get Youth On Board Toolkit on Youth Employment (GTZ, 2008): http://bit.ly/cl3zGR

4) International Alert – governance, youth unemployment and post conflict: http://bit.ly/cAzd5k

13. Mainstreaming SRHR in Education (USAID, Senegal
13. Mainstreaming SRHR in Education (USAID, Senegal)

1) Operations Research Toolkit: http://bit.ly/9WWrIM

2) ‘FRONTIERS’ Programme Legacy findings: http://bit.ly/dl2DlO

3) Multisectoral ARH Interventions: The Scale Up Process in Kenya and Senegal: http://bit.ly/a7SPRW

4) UNFPA/EU Reproductive Health Imitative for Youth in Asia: http://bit.ly/9E3dZ3

5) Toolkit for Mainstreaming HIV/AIDS in Education (UNAIDS 2008): http://bit.ly/bepYLv

14. SRHR Peer Education (NAC, Uganda)

1) Formative and vulnerability research that informs campaign strategies targeting young people: http://bit.ly/d1QMhL

2) Order Y.E.A.H Men and HIV and AIDS manual for training peer educators: http://bit.ly/cpl6ia

3) The Youth Guidance Project Sharing and Learning Network session in Uganda on SRHR: http://is.gd/768Kq

4) InterAgency Youth Working Group resources on youth reproductive
health and HIV/AIDS:  http://bit.ly/asPDo6

15. Educating New Voters, (Finnish Embassy, Nepal)

1) The Alliance for Peace Finland_Voter_Ed_Final_Report_February08

2) Search for Common Ground: http://bit.ly/bkjYbT

3) The YGP SLN discussion in Nepal: http://bit.ly/90nUck

16. Participatory Budgeting (GTZ, Argentina)

1) ‘Participatory Budgeting with Youth’ Josh Lerner (Unpublished, 2006): Attached (PDF, 607Kb)

2) ‘Learning Citizenship and Democracy Through Participatory Budgeting: The Case of Rosario, Argentina’ Josh Lerner, Daniel Schugurensky: http://bit.ly/bnFxZ9

3)72 Frequently Asked Questions about Participatory Budgeting’ (UN Habitat): http://bit.ly/ahBNgo

17. Launching a Youth-Led Partner (USAID, Jamaica)

1) JYAN Advocacy Toolkit: see http://bit.ly/cCd9KR

2) ‘Youth Led Organizations and SRHR’ (a step by step guide to establishing youth NGOs that goes wider than the SRHR sector): http://bit.ly/cxcm3h

3) Inter-American Development Bank: www.iadb.org

4) YEN/UNIDO/ILO/UNDP Youth-led Development Project in West Africa, see: http://bit.ly/bL9T8c

18. Country Level Indicators (Commonwealth/UN)

1) Example indicators from the Commonwealth Plan of Action for Youth EmpowermentExample youth Indicators

2) UNDESA on Youth Development Indicators: http://bit.ly/9XMZUk

19. Youth Empowerment Programme (NAC, Uganda)

1) SPW M&E training VPE Initial Training Session #2_17Feb09 (2) for young evaluators

2) SPW Uganda Volunteer SPW UGANDA VOLUNTEER ME GUIDELINES 2009 (2)

3) Shared Learning Network 4 Uganda report: http://bit.ly/90nUck

20. Measuring Adolescent Empowerment (UNESCO, Nepal)

1) Questions

2) ME Report Mainbody

Further Reading

We have compiled a list of resources for further reading, along with links to related networks. You can browse these by theme using the options below. 

Sexual and Reproductive Health

Resources: Service Delivery

FHI-YouthNet

  • YouthNet (2001-2006) was a global program to improve reproductive health and prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS among people ten to 24 years old.
  • YouthNet's publications range from short research briefs to longer, in-depth reviews of the latest developments in reproductive health for adolescents.

http://www.fhi.org/en/Youth/YouthNet/Publications/index.htm

Marx, Maxwell, William Finger and Hally Mahler (eds.), ‘Youth Participation Guide: Assessment, planning and implementation’, YouthNet and Family Health International in collaboration with Advocates for Youth

  • The Youth Participation Guide seeks to increase the level of meaningful youth participation in reproductive health (RH) and HIV/AIDS programming at an institutional and programmatic level.
  • The target audience includes senior and middle management, programme managers, staff involved in implementing activities, and youth who may be engaged at all levels of an organisation's work.

http://www.fhi.org/en/Youth/YouthNet/rhtrainmat/ypguide.htm

Maximising access and quality

  • Brings together USAID/Washington, USAID Missions, the cooperating agency (CA) community and other partners to identify and implement practical, cost-effective, and evidence-based interventions aimed at improving both the access to and quality of family planning and reproductive health services.
  • Provides information on state-of-the-art methods to maximize access to and quality of FP and other selected RH services.

http://www.maqweb.org

Resources: Gender

New perspective on men’s participation, Oct. 98, Series J, Number 46

  • Provides a compendium of articles on male involvement in SRH.
  •  Men's participation is a promising strategy for addressing some of the world's most pressing reproductive health problems. With HIV now spreading faster among women than among men in some regions, the AIDS epidemic has focused attention on the health consequences of men's sexual behavior.

http://www.infoforhealth.org/pr/j46/j46print.shtml

Resources: Youth Advocacy

Advocates for youth

  • Champions efforts that help young people make informed and responsible decisions about their reproductive and sexual health. Advocates believes it can best serve the field by boldly advocating for a more positive and realistic approach to adolescent sexual health.
  • Publications include information on involving communities to improve programs and policies for youth, discovering the facts about adolescent sexual health, involving youth in peer education, and educating young people. 

http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/publications/advocate/ch

Networks: International Networks

International AIDS conference

  • The International AIDS Conference is the premier gathering for those working in the field of HIV, as well as policy makers, persons living with HIV and other individuals committed to ending the pandemic. It is a chance to assess where we are, evaluate recent scientific developments and lessons learnt, and collectively chart a course forward. 
  • The Youth Programme aims to strengthen the participation of youth and the profile of youth issues in the conference through activities such as a youth pavilion, youth-driven sessions, an electronic youth bulletin, the youth opening and reception, and a high-level youth leadership forum.

http://www.aids2010.org/

Aids 2031 Young Leaders Summit

Aids2031, in collaboration with the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador HRH Crown Princess Mette-Marit, held a 2nd Young Leaders Summit in Oslo 23 to 25 June 2009 to unite young leaders in the ongoing fight against AIDS related stigma and discrimination.

http://www.aids2031.org/youngleaderssummit/info 

Networks: Regional Networks

The 3rd Africa conference on sexuality, poverty and accountability in Africa
There was a designated youth summit during the conference. “Action Health Incorporated is organizing a youth sexuality Institute for young people aged 18 – 24 during the 3rd Africa Conference on Sexual Health and Rights
The Asia Pacific Conference on Reproductive and Sexual Health
The APCRSH is in its fifth year now. In 2007 the focus of the forum was youth. They discussed sexual behaviour among the young and young wives and mothers. They also discussed the concept of masculinity and how this contributes to sexual activity. It was held in Hyderabad, India. 
Networks: National Networks

1st CEBU Youth Assembly on HIV and AIDs, Phillipines
  • Youth AIDS Filipinas Alliance (YAFA). YAFA is a non-stock, non-profit youth organisation guided by the principle of greater and meaningful involvement of people living with HIV (GIPA/MIPA principle) set by the Paris AIDS Summit on 1994.
  • The theme of the Youth Assembly is "Together We are the Solution: It's TIME to STAND for AIDS!" Young Filipinos living with HIV will grace these events.

Governance, Voice and Accountability

Resources: Governance

Bartlett, Sheridan, ‘Special Focus: Children and Governance’ in Children, Youth and Environments, (15) 2, 2005.

This issue of the journal focuses on children and governance and includes contributions from many leading international experts on various aspects of citizenship and governance. Each article, review or essay can be downloaded separately.

www.colorado.edu/journals/cye/15_2/index.htm 

Cabannes, Yves, ‘Children and Young People Build Participatory Democracy in Latin American Cities’ in Children, Youth and Environments, Vol. 15, No. 2, 2005.

This paper draws on case studies from cities in Ecuador, Brazil and Venezuela where children and young people were involved in local governance.

www.colorado.edu/journals/cye/15_2/ 

The Commonwealth Secretariat- Election Monitoring

The Commonwealth Youth Programme facilitates the including of youth representatives on Commonwealth observer missions. 

http://www.thecommonwealth.org/news/152816/152865/174547/220108thediaryo...

Resources: Voice and Accountabilty 

Youth parliaments – Tanga, Tanzania

Twice a year, TAYODEA, a local NGO, organises a sitting of this body, bringing together one male and one female delegate from each of the 24 wards of this area. The intention of this structure is for each local delegation to voice their specific concerns and feed into larger, solution-focused discussions.

http://www.ms.dk/sw98673.asp

Youth Net and Counselling (YONECO) Malawi

This NGO has been recognised with an Ubuntu award for Youth Voluntary Service. A core part of its work is a programme dedicated to human rights and democracy. Key parts of this strand include a train the trainers for young voter education and a development programme targeting young people and women who wish to become advocates for human rights and democracy in their communities.

http://www.yoneco.org.mw/

Shadow Youth Government-Lebanon

This government-sponsored scheme intended to promote youth voice in decision-making brings together 20 students chosen from universities around Lebanon based on academic and personal criteria for one-year terms shadowing key government ministers and their portfolios. Duties involve: 

  • Monitoring and evaluating the performance of the ministers in the official government;  
  • Proposing and implementing pilot projects bringing new approaches to economic and political issues.

Networks: International

Commonwealth Youth Forum (CYF)   

Established in 1997, the Commonwealth Youth Forum meets biennially in parallel with the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) to provide an independent platform for Commonwealth young people from representative structures to voice views on behalf of their peers and make recommendations to heads and the wider Commonwealth. The CYF is planned and delivered by an international team of host nation and Commonwealth young people, supported by Commonwealth youth-serving agencies CYEC and CYP. During the CHOGM, young representatives have a dialogue with heads. The forum final communique statement is produced in situ via an innovatory process of consensus-making. This provides the basis for follow up action (policy and advocacy) by Commonwealth institutions, governments and the network of young alumni.

http://www.cyec.org.uk/young-commonwealth/commonwealth-youth-forum/ 

World Youth Movement for Democracy

The World Youth Movement for Democracy (WYMD) is a global community of youth and their allies working non-violently for democracy. It was founded by a group of young people, like you, who believe in and work for fair elections, free speech, and human rights. They believe we can be stronger by working together.

http://www.wymdonline.org/

Global Youth Action Network

Established in 1996, GYAN works to further youth representation at the highest levels within the United Nations, national governments, intergovernmental organisations, NGOs and the media.

http://www.youthlink.org/gyanv5/about.htm 

Networks: Regional

The Civicus Youth Assembly 

The youth assembly offers a unique opportunity for young people to meet and work with other young people who are really making changes in the lives of others. It aims to bring together the world's most engaged, dynamic young activists in the field of social and civic justice.

The innovative programme emphasises the delegates’ own expertise, knowledge and experience through establishing a fully participatory space of shared-learning. 

http://www.civicusassembly.org/index.php?option=com_contentandview=artic...

4TH YTI Global Youth Conference On Democracy And Political Participation

  • This conference seeks to understand how representation shapes and influences other legislative functions (lawmaking), duties, and responsibilities. How linkages among legislators, their constituents, and civil society can be strengthened for public awareness and more democratic legislatures.

http://www.ayftafrica.ca/nigsite/4th_globe_confr.htm

Networks: National

National Youth Assembly (NYA), Singapore

  • A series of Legislative sessions during which youths propose, debate, and ultimately submit bills to the respective ministries of the Singapore Government. The brainchild of environmental charity ECO Singapore, the inaugural NYA is a youth-for-youth event, organised by youths and targeted at youths aged 17 to 25.

http://www.nationalyouthassembly.org/home/about

Youth Engagement Lens: Leaders

Post-Conflict Transitions

Resources: Livelihoods

Youth and Employment in Fragile States, DIIS Policy Brief, October 2008

This briefing covers policy recommendations including:

  • Integrated approaches: Youth programmes should take the form of integrated approaches to improving social integration (basic and vocational education; family life and health), economic production (income-generating activities, skills development and microenterprise development) and political participation (civic engagement, community service).
  • Direct targeting: Direct targeting of young people through quotas or affirmative action programmes as part of national public works schemes and other job-creation initiatives ensures that they are actually the beneficiaries. Experience shows that it is not enough to include youth as a cross-cutting issue in policies and interventions.
  • Urban focus: Urban areas host large youth populations and require specific attention through particular urban programmes, such as being hired in infrastructure development projects. 
  • Economic production: Attention must be directed to establishing and promoting economic production, which is the key to employment generation. 

http://www.diis.dk/graphics/Publications/Briefs2008/PB_2008_10_Youth_Employment.pdf

Resources: Social aspects

Inter-Agency Network For Education in Emergency

Life skills and complementary education programmes guide for on good practice in peace education

http://www.ineesite.org/uploads/documents/store/doc_1_Life_Skills_and_Complementary_Ed.pdf 

Resources: Reintegration

Survey of War Affected Youth (Uganda)

An ongoing research programme designed to promote evidence-based programming for youth in northern Uganda, addressing the impact of polices to reintegrate former combatants and others displaced by conflict. Research explores the situation of both male and female youth, and specific papers have captured key findings on post conflict political participation.

http://chrisblattman.com/projects/sway/

Resources: Peace Education

West African Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) Youth and Peace Education Programme

This regional network focuses on developing a regional framework for co-existence and the promotion of a culture of peace, non-violence and social responsibility among the youth in the sub-region. Activities include training of curriculum developers and monitoring of peace clubs in schools, regional peace poem competition, international networking and partnerships (with UNESCO and UNOY).

http://www.wanep.org/programs/ype.html

 

Networks: International

Alliance of Civilizations Forum 

Reflecting the status of youth issues as a core area of focus for the Alliance of Civilizations, a number of major sessions at the Istanbul Forum were dedicated to young people and substantive debates about the challenges facing them in promoting intercultural dialogue.

http://www.unaoc.org/content/view/92/127/lang,english/    

Commonwealth Youth Minister’s Meeting 2008 “Youth and Peace Building” 

  • 7th Commonwealth Youth Ministers Meeting focused on the role of young people in promoting respect and understanding.
  • The Commonwealth Youth Ministers Meeting is a unique opportunity for government ministers to provide mandates and prioritise actions on youth development across the Commonwealth.

http://www.thecommonwealth.org/news/174496/174496/210108youthministers.htm

Commonwealth Youth Leadership Programme 2008 “Conflict and Beyond”

  • Nkabom brings together young people from all over the Commonwealth to explore issues surrounding democracy and governance.
  • The Nkabom Project encourages and engages young Commonwealth people, the future leaders of the Commonwealth, to become involved in developmental, community and peace-building projects.

http://www.thercs.org/youth/nkamom

2011 World Youth Peace Summit

  • The key objective of the World Youth Peace Summit is to break down barriers to world peace, and create a network of leaders who will be linked together into the future.

http://www.internationalsport.com/peaceSummit.cfm 

Networks: Regional

ECOWAS Youth Leaders Peace Summit 

Africa Youth Leaders Peace Summit with the theme: The Achievement and Sustenance of Peacebuilding, Millennium Development Goals, and Regional Integration of Africa: the Role of Youths was organised to commemorate the Africa Liberation Day 2009 in Nigeria. 

http://www.youthfederation.org/index.php/news/184-nigeria-young-leaders-...

Networks: National

PEACEJAM 2009: PUBLIC LECTURE AND YOUTH CONFERENCE

  • Every year Peacejam brings together teenagers, students and Nobel Peace Prize winners at the University of Bradford – the only such event in the UK.

http://www.brad.ac.uk/acad/peacejam/ 

References

PART ONE

Africa Commission (2009) ‘Realising the Potential of Africa’s Youth’; Copenhagen: Africa Commission.

Baksh, R. Etchart L. Onubogu, E. and Johnson T. (eds) ‘Gender Mainstreaming in Conflict Transformation’; London: Commonwealth Secretariat.

Commonwealth Commission on Respect and Understanding (2007) ‘Civil Paths To Peace’; London: Commonwealth Secretariat.

Commonwealth Secretariat (1999) ‘Gender Management System Handbook’; London: Commonwealth Secretariat.

Commonwealth Secretariat (2007) ‘Plan of Action for Youth Empowerment 2007-2015’; London: Commonwealth Secretariat.

Commonwealth Youth Programme/UNICEF (2005) ‘Youth Participation Toolkit’; London: Commonwealth Secretariat.

Commonwealth Youth Programme (2009) ‘Report of the CYP Technical Review Meeting’; Unpublished.

DANIDA (2007) ‘Children and Young People in Danish Development Cooperation’; Copenhagen: Danida.

DFID (2005) ‘Addressing Poverty by Tackling Social Exclusion’; London: DFID.

DFID (2008) ‘The Gender Manual: A Practical Guide’; London: DFID

DFID (2008) ‘Preparing a Country Plan How to Note’; London: DFID

DFID (2009) ‘Gender and Social Exclusion Analysis: How To Note’; Web-based document retrieved 15.12.2009 http://www.gsdrc.org/go/display&type=Document&id=3647&source=rss

DFID website: ‘Global Issues’; Retrieved 15.12.09 http://www.dfid.gov.uk/Global-Issues/How-we-fight- Poverty/Government/

DFID/Maguire, S. (2007) ‘Youth Mapping Study – DFID’s Approach to Young People’.

DFID/World Bank (2006) ‘Unequal Citizens: Gender, Caste and Social Exclusion in Nepal’.

GTZ (2008) ‘Get Youth On Board!’; Eschborn: GTZ.

Hart, R. (1992) ‘Children's Participation: From Tokenism to Citizenship’; Florence: UNICEF ICDC.

Hart, R. (1997) ‘The Theory and Practice of involving young citizens in Community Development and Environmental Care’. London: Earthscan.

Hilker, L. M. And Fraser, E. M./DFID (2009) ‘Youth Exclusion, Violence, Conflict and Fragile States’; London: Social Development Direct.

Honwana, A. and de Boeck, F. (eds.) (2005) ‘Makers and Breakers: children and youth in postcolonial Africa’; Oxford: James Currey.

IADB website: ‘Topics/Children and Youth’; Retrieved 15.12.09 http://www.iadb.org/topics/youth/idbyouth/index.cfm

Innovation Center for youth and community development website: ‘Youth Adult Partnership’; Retrieved 21.12.2009. http://www.theinnovationcenter.org/what-we-do/youth-adult-partnership

Lansdown, G. (2005) ‘Understanding the implications of human rights treaty: evolving capacities of the child’; Florence: UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre.

 

Lewis, M. A and Lockheed M.E (2006) ‘Social exclusion: The emerging challenge in girls’ education’. In M. Lewis and M. Lockheed, eds., ‘Exclusion, Gender and Schooling: Case Studies from the Developing World’; Washington, D.C.: Center for Global Development.

NORAD (2005) ‘Three Billion Reasons – Norway’s Development Strategy for Children and Young People in the South’; Oslo: NORAD.

Percy-Smith, B. and Thomas, N. (2009) ‘A Handbook of Children and Young People’s Participation’; Oxford: Routledge.

Save the Children (1997) ‘Empowering Children and Young People: Promoting involvement in decision-making’; London: Save the Children.

SDC (2007) ‘SDC Youth Policy’; Bern: SDC.

Sen, A. (1999) ‘Development as Freedom’; Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Svenson, G. and Burke H./Family Health International (FHI) (2005) ‘Formative Research on Youth Peer Education Program Productivity and Sustainability’; North Carolina: FHI

UN (1989) ‘Convention on the Rights of the Child’; New York: UN.

UN (1995) ‘World Programme of Action for Youth to the Year 2000 and Beyond’; New York: UN.

UN (2007) ‘World Youth Report 2007 – Young People’s Transition to Adulthood: Progress and Challenges’; New York: UN.

UN (2010) ‘World Youth Report 2009’; New York: UN.

UNAIDS Inter Agency Task Team on Education (2008) ‘Toolkit for Mainstreaming HIV and AIDS in the Education Sector’; Paris: UNESCO.

UNESCO (1998) ‘Lisbon Declaration on Youth Policies and Programmes’.

UNESCO (2003) ‘UNESCO’s Gender Mainstreaming Implementation Framework (GMIF) for 2002-2007’; Paris: UNESCO.

UNFPA (2005) ‘The Case of Investing in Young People as part of a National Poverty Reduction Strategy’; New York: UNFPA.

UNFPA (2007) ‘Framework for Action on adolescents and youth: opening doors with young people: Four keys’; New York: UNFPA.

UNFPA/ FHI (2008) ‘Youth Participation Guide – Assessment, Planning and Implementation’; New York: UNFPA. UNICEF (2006) ‘Child and Youth Participation Resource Guide’: http://www.unicef.org/adolescence/cypguide/index_child_led.html

UNICEF (2007) ‘Child poverty in perspective: An overview of child well-being in rich countries’; Florence: UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre.

UNICEF ‘Children and Young People Participating in Decision-Making: A Call for Action’; Web-based document retrieved 16/12/2009.

Wenger, E. (1998) ‘Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning, and Identity’; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Woollcombe, D. / Schumacher Briefing No. 14 (2007) ‘Youth-led Development’; Totnes: Green Books.

World Bank (2007) ‘World Development Report 2007: Development and the Next Generation’; Washington: World Bank.

World Bank (2009) ‘Youth investments in the World Bank Portfolio’

 

PART TWO

Chanya, C. (2002) ‘Community ChoiceWork: Citizen Deliberations on Issues Related to HIV/AIDS’; Washington: Academy for Educational Development.

Choice/Youth Coalition (2009) ‘Youth-Led Organizations and SRHR’; Hilversum: Choice/Youth Coalition.

Commonwealth Secretariat (1999) ‘Gender Management System Handbook’; London: Commonwealth Secretariat.

Commonwealth Youth Programme/UNICEF (2005) ‘Youth Participation Toolkit’; London: Commonwealth Secretariat.

 

Commonwealth Youth Programme (2009) ‘Report of the CYP Technical Review Meeting’; Unpublished.

DANIDA (2006) ‘The Promotion of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights: Strategy for Denmark’s Support’; Copenhagen: DANIDA.

GTZ (2008) ‘Get Youth On Board!’ Eschborn: GTZ.

Huse, E. and Cummings, T. (1985) ‘Organization Development and Change’; St Paul: West Publishing Company.

International Alert (2009) ‘Rethinking the nexus between youth, unemployment and conflict – Perspectives from Sri Lanka’; London: International Alert.

James-Wilson, D. (2008) ‘Youth Livelihoods Development Program Guide’; Washington: USAID/Equip.

JYAN/USAID (2007) ‘JYAN Advocacy Toolkit’; Retrieved from YGP website 16.12.2009. http://blog.ygproject.org/2009/09/29/jyan-advocacy-toolkit/

Lansdown, G. / UNICEF (2004) ‘Programming Strategy with and for Adolescents in East Asia and Pacific’; Bangkok: UNICEF.

Lerner, J. and Schugurensky, D. (2005) ‘Learning Citizenship and Democracy Through Participatory Budgeting: The Case of Rosario, Argentina’; Paper presented to Columbia University conference: Democratic Practices as Learning Opportunities.

Lopez-Claros, A. and Zahidi, S. (2005) ‘Women’s Empowerment: Measuring the Global Gender Gap’; Geneva: World Economic Forum.

Malley, K. (2005) ‘Children and Young People Participating in PRSP Processes – Lessons from Save the Children’s Experience’. London: Save the Children.

National Youth Agency (2008) ‘Hear by Right: Standards Framework for the Participation of Children and Young People’; Leicester: National Youth Agency.

Population Council (2008) ‘Multisectoral ARH Interventions: The Scale-up Process in Kenya and Senegal’. Washington: Population Council.

Population Council Website: ‘Frontiers Legacy Topics’; Retrieved 16.12.2009. http://www.popcouncil.org/frontiers/Legacy/03Youth.htm

Save the Children Sweden (2004) ‘So You Want to Involve Children in Research?’; Stockholm: Save the Children.

Search for Common Ground (2009) ‘Children Youth and Conflict: An Introductory Toolkit for Engaging Children and Youth in Conflict Transformation’;. Washington: Search for Common Ground.

Shephard, C. and Treseder, P. (2002) ‘Participation – Spice it up!’; Cardiff: Save the Children and Dynamix.

Silva, I. and Salles Souto, AL. (eds) (2009) ‘Democracy, Citizenship and Youth: Towards Social and Political Participation in Brazil’; Ottowa: I.B. Tauris/IDRC.

UN (1989) ‘Convention on the Rights of the Child’; New York: UN.

UN (2005) ‘A More Secure World: Our Shared Responsibility. Report of the Secretary-General’s High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change’; New York: UN.

UNAIDS Inter Agency Task Team on Education (2008) ‘Toolkit for Mainstreaming HIV and AIDS in the Education Sector’. Paris: UNESCO.

UNDP (2006) ‘Youth and Violent Conflict: Society and Development in Crisis?’; New York: UNDP.

UNFPA (2008) ‘Special Youth Programme - Report 2007’; New York: UNFPA.

UNFPA ‘Putting Young People into National Poverty Reduction Strategies: a guide to statistics on young people in poverty’; Web-based document retrieved 16/12/2009.

UN-HABITAT (2004) ‘72 Frequently Asked Questions about Participatory Budgeting’; Quito: UN-HABITAT.

UNICEF (2006) ‘Child and Youth Participation Resource Guide’; Website based, retrieved 15.12.2009. http://www.unicef.org/adolescence/cypguide/index_child_led.html

UNICEF (2007) ‘Children Living in Poverty: Overview of Definitions, Measurements and Policy’; (Background paper for UNICEF Report on State of the World’s Children 2007) New York: UNICEF.

UNICEF (2009) ‘The participation of children and young people in UNICEF country programme and national committee activities’. New York: UNICEF.

UNICEF ‘Children and Young People Participating in Decision-Making: A Call For Action’. Web-based document retrieved 16/12/2009.

UN Youth Programme Website: ‘Youth Development Indicators’; Retrieved 16.12.2009 http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unyin/youthindicators1.htm

USAID/Population Council. ‘Horizons Operation Research on HIV/AIDS Toolkit’; Web-based document retrieved 16.12.2009 http://www.popcouncil.org/Horizons/ORToolkit/index.htm

Wolfensohn, J. (1998) ‘The Other Crisis: Address to the Board of Governors’; Washington: World Bank.

Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children (2008) ‘Market Assessment Toolkit for Vocational Training Providers and Youth’; New York: Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children.

Youth Employment Network. ‘Why Youth Should Be Involved in Policy-Making’; Web-based document retrieved 16.12.2009 http://www.ilo.org/public/english/employment/yen/downloads/youthguide/part2_why.pdf

PART THREE

DFID (2008) ‘Gender and Social Exclusion Analysis’; London: DFID.

DFID (2008) ‘Preparing a Country Plan, DFID How-To Note’; London: DFID.

UNESCO (2003) ‘Gender Mainstreaming Implementation Framework’; Rome: UNESCO.