Youth participation

Young people are the decision-makers of tomorrow. Yet for a long time their creativity and energy have been overlooked in development work. For any changes to be sustainable, young people need to be involved now.

Cooperation makes you strong
For a long time, young people - teenagers - have been neglected in development work. Yet a quarter of the world's population is aged between 10 and 24. In many cases, for example if their parents die or are looking for work elsewhere, these young people take on extremely large responsibilities in their home environment and community.

Young people: Potential going to waste
Their potential and energy for innovation are enormous. It is they who will make up the society of tomorrow. That's why it is essential to involve them in today's processes of change and development. They need to be listened to and supported in their concerns if changes are to become permanently rooted.

Having their say instead of taking orders
Development work today - if it is done well - no longer operates with a system of givers and takers. A participative approach is now standard, yet when it comes to young people, it does not always go without saying that they will be involved, unfortunately. Too often, young people are just on the receiving end of orders. It is only when a youth participation approach is adopted that they realise their concerns are being taken seriously. This empowers them and enables them to develop and implement their initiatives.

Youth participation works
The experience of terre des hommes schweiz shows that youth participation does have lasting effects. Children and young people are given the skills to formulate their rights effectively and to claim them. This means they can, for example, protect themselves from being exploited at work. Their participation is also vital in preventing violence. Only by involving the people who have been affected - the victims and sometimes the perpetrators as well - can alternatives to violence be found. In many of our projects young people are also developing initiatives to create an income for themselves. This gives them better prospects so that they do not leave their homes to work on the plantations or live in city slums.

The Youth2Youth logo


Help for young people from young people.

In all its work in every single country it is involved in, terre des hommes schweiz relies on the strengths of young people. That is why the training programme Youth2Youth has been developed and is growing constantly.