Organisational cultural alignment

When deciding whether a peer approach is right for your program, you might like to reflect on the core aims and vision of your agency. Weigh up whether a peer-based approach fits the culture of your organisation.

Consider:

  • Have you used a peer based approach before?
  • Is this method acceptable to your target group?
  • Are the core values of your organisation aligned with youth engagement and participation?
  • Is there ownership and engagement within your organisation for peer-based approaches?

Engaging in genuine youth participation will see a program or agency move beyond tokenism (such as inviting young people to sit on a committee without real capacity to influence decisions) towards a process of meaningful involvement in making decisions in an environment supported by experienced adults. To really engage young people, they should be viewed not as service recipients but as community members becoming more actively engaged and involved in the processes that affect them.

This means systematically incorporating structures that not only acknowledge young people as members of the community with all of the rights and responsibili­ties that entails, but that also provide opportunities for their active involvement beyond platitudes and tokenism. Find out more about youth participation.

It is important to sensitise all organisational staff to the project. This process should highlight the needs of young people, the input the project will make toward addressing those needs, and the importance of respecting the spaces designated for young people.

Consider:

  • Does your organisation welcome young people to participate in the shaping of their community?
  • Is your organisation willing to share, learn and work with young people so that they can be involved in the decisions that affect their lives?
  • Is there an understanding of the unique perspectives and individual strengths that young people have to offer?

You should also consider whether your organisation is accepted by the target group and whether your agency is the most appropriate one to undertake this type of program.

Consider:

  • Does your organisation already have an active association with the target group you are seeking to work with?
  • Are young people receptive to your organisation‚Äôs core vision and mission?
  • Can you identify key members of the target group to engage with?