Involving youth in programme implementation
The table below gives some examples of how youth can be involved in programme implementation. It also shows how levels of youth engagement can vary according to the activity. A mixture of approaches may be used – these will depend upon young people’s desire and ability to combine participation in programming with their other responsibilities, as well as how activities are designed and facilitated.
Checklist for quality youth participation
Use the following checklist at the implementation stage to ensure meaningful youth participation throughout the process:
- We have encouraged the participation of young men and women who are often excluded from programme activities on the basis of their race, sex, disability, or any other status
- We have put in place mechanisms that allow young women to participate – e.g. by ensuring there is available child care and by ensuring activities do not clash with young people’s other responsibilities and that young women have ‘safe spaces’ where they can meet and reflect in a supportive environment
- We are supporting youth with money for necessary transport and refreshments
- We have tried to involve youth in issues and activities that they are interested in, and that are appropriate to their capacities and skills
- We are supporting young people with regular opportunities for review, debrief and constructive feedback
- We are regularly assessing risks associated with youth involvement in programme implementation
- We are encouraging and building the capacity of adult staff to actively provide on-going support and encouragement to young people involved in programme implementation.
Youth in project management
It is young people’s right to be involved in the decisions that are likely to affect them. Young people know what they need, and how project management decisions might be perceived by young people in the area. Involving them – and other rights holders - in project management decisions can help to ensure that your projects are robust, relevant and effective, as well as sustainable, as young people are trained to become future project managers
- Map out where decision making takes place
Ask young people if and how they might like to be involved
- Are there monthly project management meetings between the NGO and its partners?
- Is there a project management committee/steering committee?
- How do you make decisions relating to the location of project activities, agreeing budgets and plans or hiring staff?
- Do you normally seek input from rights holders on these decisions?
- Do not assume that all youth want to be involved – they may not be interested in participating in management processes and more interested in direct participation in implementing programme activities.
Recruitment / selection
- Invest time in preparing adults involved in programme management for youth involvement.
- Give adults a chance to voice their concerns frankly – they may unconvinced about the benefits of involving young people, or concerned that they will have to give up power to young people.
- They may also need support to change their ways of working in project management meetings, so that the procedures and language used do not prevent young people from participating meaningfully.
Preparing and supporting youth
- Carefully consider how you will select the youths for involvement in project management processes. It may be easier to select a well-educated, vocal and articulate young person as they will need less support to prepare them to participate.
- However, remember that youths should represent their constituencies and that the most marginalised youths will offer unique perspectives, and will often have the most to benefit through their involvement.
- Make sure that your selection procedures do not exclude less literate youth or young women – e.g. if you ask for written applications or a presentation as part of the recruitment process; or if restrictions on female mobility mean that they are unable to participate.
- Make sure young people are clear in advance on what their role will be, and how much influence they are likely to have over decision-making.
- Make sure young people understand what they will get out of the process.
- Develop an induction plan for them – and involve them in the development of this plan.
- Consider what training they might need before they are able to participate: this could include planning skills, time management abilities, financial literacy or simple training on how to chair a meeting.
- Consider whether you can pair up youth representatives with an adult for mentoring purposes.