What is a youth perspective?

Guidelines for debate: What is a youth perspective?

Guidelines for debate: What is a youth perspective?

The booklet “What is a youth perspective?,” (pdf) authored by Perla Sofía Vázquez Díaz[1], is the newest edition of Guidelines for Debate, a series of publications by the Mexican NGO Espolea, aiming to influence the formulation, implementation and evaluation of programs and policies through fostering debates of progressive ideas:

“The collection features a cool exchange of data and theoretical and methodological tools for analysis and action aimed at emerging political generations.”

The intent of the edition on the youth perspective is to clarify the term and its evolution and to consider approaches and tools for implementing a youth perspective. In the words of the author:

“When we analyze initiatives aimed at young people, often times we face a problem: there is no “youth perspective” in them. But what does it mean to include a ‘youth perspective’ in initiatives, actions, plans or programs for young people?”

The booklet sets out with an overview of institutional approaches to defining what youth is, from youth as a stage of life to youth as revolutionaries, summarising the approach and identifying elements to be questioned for each of them.

Drawing on the gender perspective as an example—a comparison bound to attract criticism as it tends to limit both gender and youth to social roles[2]—Perla Vázquez, while shying away from attempting a definition, describes the youth perspective as

  • glasses through which to analyze the role of young people in reality,
  • as well as tools of reflection through which to generate policy.

The small booklet is rounded off with a basic checklist for identifying the role of young people within a program or policy – a checklist which, as the author reminds readers, is not enough to define a youth perspective:

Basic checklist for a youth perspective

Basic checklist for a youth perspective

Both the starting point and the intention of the booklet and its author are most likely widely shared in the youth sector, regionally and globally. The approach, in particular the direct comparison with the gender perspective, is certainly worth critical consideration – a shame that this edition of the guidelines for debate stops short of where a—most useful and necessary—debate could begin: a definition of what comprises a youth perspective, and a review of the tools commonly used in youth policy development to ensure a youth perspective.


Link to the post announcing the booklet:
http://www.espolea.org/3/post/2012/03/gpd-qu-es-la-perspectiva-de-juventud.html

Link to the English pdf-file of the booklet:
http://www.youthpolicy.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/guidelines-debate-youth-perspective.pdf


Footnotes

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