Youth Participation Guide: Assessment, Planning, and Implementation

Abstract

The Swahili proverb, “Youth development will be brought about by youth themselves,” illustrates YouthNet’s belief that only through active participation and empowerment will youth be able to make safe, informed, and responsible decisions regarding their reproductive health and to contribute effectively to programs.

We believe a new paradigm is needed – one that moves from tokenism to one that truly engages young people as full partners in the design, implementation, and evaluation of strategies and programs. While most youth projects involve adolescents to some extent, it is rare that they are involved in significant ways throughout the course of a program.

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, program managers, staff involved in implementing activities, and youth who may be engaged at all levels of an organization’s work.

The Youth Participation Guide also hopes to foster individual and institutional commitment to involving youth in meaningful ways. While designed for working with youth RH and HIV projects, this Guide can also be adapted for use in other types of youth development programs.

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