BlessWorld Foundation International

Affecting the World Through Health
A Global Health Initiative

Youth Participation



What is participation/youth participation?

Participation is a fundamental human right- everyone deserves an opportunity to engage meaningfully in his or her community. It involves engaging and taking part in social, economic, financial and physical developmental activities that occur in a given community and society.  Active participation empowers young people and enables them to play vital roles in their personal development as well as in that of their communities. It also helps them to acquire vital life-skills, develop knowledge on human rights and promote positive community action. To effectively participate in any community, young people must be empowered and given the proper tools including information, education and accessibility. To ensure that youths participate in decision-making is a priority area of the UN agenda on youth.

How can youths participate and in what ways can they do so?

It is important to collectively and better understand what youth participation involves as well as how it can be implemented for youths of all ages. In any society, it is a well-known fact that youths are the major human resource for development and key agents for social change, economic growth and technological innovation. Youth participation can be strengthened by ensuring that youths are involved in every aspect and stage of activities including planning, implementation, monitoring, reporting and evaluation of instruments, strategies and programs. Additionally, youth participation can be improved through several approaches such as education, information sharing and capacity building. Using old and modern inclusive technology mediums such as short media messages and internet, youth-friendly information and resources can be developed by or with young people themselves. This gives them some sense of belonging and helps them understand their importance and relevance. When youths are involved in planning and decision-making, activities are more likely to be attractive, relevant and enjoyable for them. Involvement increases the efficiency, effectiveness of programs as well as their attendance, display good behavior, improved self-esteem and skill acquisition. It is also essential to involve every youth including youths with disabilities.

What are the benefits of youth participation?

To guarantee the perpetuation of youth participation, United Nations adopted the World Programme of Action for Youth (WPAY), an international strategy to more effectively address barriers, and increase opportunities for participation in the society. Subsequent WPAY resolutions deal with policies and programs that involve youth and promote their participation in social and economic development. Youth participation is important and has benefits for the young people themselves, the youth group and community as a whole. Young people become more confident and enthusiastic when they see that their views are being taken seriously and acted upon. Finally, youth participation strengthens personal and social development and promotes a more democratic society.

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