The Youth Participation in Development Guide was created as part of a joint project between the DFID CSO Youth Working Group and the DFID Equity and Rights Team in the UK with the goal of furthering the participation of young people in the decision making process within development and support 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.
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.
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 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.
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.