Youth Participation
& Leadership

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader."

John Quincy Adams,
6th U.S. President
First things first...

What is youth participation & leadership?

“Meaningful youth participation means that young people … work in all stages of decision-making in organisations and can participate on equal terms with adults at a number of levels, or alternatively work independently from adults and make decisions solely with the involvement of youth voices.

 

(Source: Youth Do It)

why it matters!

Why aren’t young people involved in the decision-making process around policies that directly affect them? One suggestion is that the status quo sees young people as immature and inexperienced to participate in the decision-making process.

Do you agree?

Here are a few reasons why it’s important:

(Souce: SALTO Youth)

Participation is Human Right

Fundamentally, every human being, including young people, has the right to express their views. This is also entrenched in the UN charter.

It Empowers Marginalised Groups

Participation helps to shift and address imbalances of power in society. This includes young people and people with minority or disadvantaged backgrounds.

It creates efficiencies

Involving young people in decision making processes allows one to receive meaningful feedback and ultimately enhance the living conditions for society as a whole.

It can be educational

Youth participation can also be a transformative process whereby young people can learn how to be activie citizens in society.

RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH

We've done some
digging for you
...

We want to eliminate inefficiencies when attempts are made to solve social or environmental challenges. To achieve this, we are sharing useful knowledge and disseminating research findings that’s relevant for CYF 2022.

Below, you will discover research insights from the following sources:

Conclusions from the 12th UNESCO Youth Forum

The 12th edition of UNESCO’s Youth Forum was held online on 19 November 2021 with the title “Co-creating with Youth the Post-COVID Period”.

 

Practical recommendations from the youth focused mainly on education, youth employment and entrepreneurship, promotion of sustainable and equitable societies, protection of cultural and natural heritage, design of evidence-based policies for youth well-being, promotion of youth engagement, ethics of communications, digital literacy and access to information.

Key insights:

Creation of networks of young leaders, as
relevant, in collaboration with existing youth
networks engaging with UNESCO, to work with
national education stakeholders and UNESCO.

This should be done by young researchers and
youth organizations who would collaborate in
generating evidence on the impact of the
pandemic on youth well-being, particularly on mental health, to raise awareness and prevent
the spread of misinformation and stigma against
vulnerable populations.

This is needed to create peer-to-peer mentoring and guidance opportunities for youth-led start-ups, as well as opportunities for pairing with companies, national governments or non-profit organizations, in order to enable them to become fully functional and sustainable businesses.

Research should be conducted by young experts and researchers, to identify main barriers in accessing education and key reasons for early drop out, and collaboration with parliamentarians, particularly young
parliamentarians, in drafting proposals for
legislation that would guarantee the right and
access to education even during school closures, that would require schools to provide technology
and data for learning purposes and that would ensure governmental funding for those purposes.

United Nations Youth Strategy 2030

The UN Youth Strategy aims to facilitate increased impact to address the needs, build the agency and advance the rights of young people in all their diversity around the world, and to ensure their engagement and participation in the implementation, review and follow-up of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Key insights:

The UN will support youth leadership across the organisation and build staff awareness and capacity on
youth-related issues.

The UN will strengthen knowledge production and management systems; become a credible source of expertise on youth development and engagement; and facilitate evidence-based global awareness on the realities and needs of the world’s young people.

The UN will accelerate resource mobilization efforts and facilitate partnership solutions to advance the implementation of the UN Youth Strategy and
strengthen the funding base and mechanisms for
youth-focused programming and youth-led actions at
all levels.

The Hungarian National Youth Strategy 2009-2024

” The overall aim of the Strategy is to ‘help exploit the resources young people possess and support the social integration of age groups’, which is to be implemented through the system of horizontal and specific aims.”

Specific objectives:

This includes:

  • Having children, family – to strengthen the social, economic and mental conditions of youth required for having and raising children and enhance the establishment and safety of their family environment,
  • Self-sufficiency – improving the employment and housing of young people,
  • Equal chances, solidarity – improving the employment and housing of young people.

The aim is “to reduce the chances of social exclusion and marginalisation and improving opportunities for social mobility.”

This includes:

  • Learning and its environment – to provide competitive knowledge and develop competences required for independent living,
  • Creating cultural values, culture mediation – to improve the quality of cultural consumption and participation in culture, reduce regional inequalities, improve access to info-communication, enhance coping and cooperation in an intercultural environment,
  • Awareness raising and social integration – to strengthen social and individual responsibility and awareness of youth groups (health, sustainable development, and so on), facilitate their integration and develop their communities.

This includes:

  • Civil society – to create conditions that enable the participation of youth organisations in providing services, to make use of the experience of youth organisations and members of the age group and to represent youth-specific criteria in governmental decision-making,
  • Resources and conditions – to establish and operate a transparent resource allocation system supporting youth initiatives and the youth profession,
  • Youth policy, the youth profession, youth work – to strengthen youth policy and the enforcement of child and youth rights, to elaborate the training portfolio and life path model of youth assistance and youth profession.

Further
Reading: