Youth participation

The terms youth participation and youth involvement are used interchangeably to describe one of the key strategies in positive youth development. It relies on building mutually beneficial adult-youth partnerships by contributing and accepting expertise that are unique to each group.1-5

Youth participation refers to numerous ways of involving young people as an integral part in the process of planning, identifying needs, finding solutions, implementing programs and decision making within organisations and communities.3,4

Benefits of youth participation

Depending on young people’s interests and skills, youth influence on organisations can occur at various levels, ranging from involvement through consultation to shared leadership.3 Utilising meaningful youth participation can contribute to structuring programs, policies and services that affect young people’s lives to adequately address their needs and interests as well as benefiting and contributing to the organisation’s success.1,2 By meaningfully engaging young people, they are able to gain skills and a sense of empowerment and make healthy connections with positive role models, both peers and adults. Read more…

Roles for young people

It is important to note the different definitions referring to youth engagement or participation. Rather than simply being an approach of involving young people as consumers or recipients of a service, youth participation (in terms of promoting positive youth development) is regarded as a strategy to meaningfully engage young people, viewing them as resources, contributors and/or leaders of a program. Read more…


  1. Advocates for Youth. “Youth Involvement in Prevention Programming.”
  2. Civil Liberties and Public Policy program. “Principles of Meaningful Youth Participation.” Beyond Borders,
  3. Dotterweich, Jutta. “Practice Matters – Strengthening Youth Involvement.” New York City: ACT for Youth Center of Excellence, Cornell University, University of Rochester, the New York State Center for School Safety, and Cornell Cooperative Extension of New York City, 2004.
  4. Mokwena, Steve. “Putting Youth Engagement into Practice: A Toolkit for Action.” London: Commonwealth Youth Programme, Commonwealth Secretariat,, 2006.
  5. Scheve, Julie A. , Daniel F. Perkins, Claudia C. Mincemoyer, and Janet A. Welsh. “Say Y.E.S. To Youth: Youth Engagement Strategies.” edited by Prevention Research Center for the Promotion of Human Development Department of Agricultural and Extension Education, The Pennsylvania State University.