Youth Participation

Youth Participation

Condition for success and sustainability

With the youth participation approach, terre des hommes schweiz pursues the goal of young people taking active influence and responsibility for the development of their environment through co-determination. In participation processes, the members of the target group are the experts of their life situation. Participation democratises society, in that those affected have a say in what their present and future looks like.
Three teenagers with black and yellow T-shirts. Print: I might be young but I have a BIG voice.
Kids have something to say. Listening is half the battle.

Article 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child grants every child (and adolescent) the right to freely express his or her views on all matters and decisions affecting him or her. Opinions must be considered appropriately and in accordance with their age. On the basis of this article, the conviction has prevailed in development cooperation since the mid-1980s that the active involvement of the target group in all decisions affecting them is crucial to the success of development projects. Participation processes strengthen the self-interest and acceptance of those affected by development processes in order to make projects sustainable. Participatory processes strengthen ownership, which in this context means personal initiative and personal responsibility in development processes. Participation of the target group in the process is thus considered Condition for success and sustainability in development cooperation.

contribution to democratic and peaceful structures
Through the participation and empowerment of the population, it is possible to change existing power relations in favour of the civilian population. The German Society for International Cooperation notes that young people who are involved in democratic values and processes from an early age also contribute later - as active citizens - to the development of stable democratic and peaceful structures in their countries.

Promotion of decision-making and assertiveness
In addition, society benefits from the creative potential of young people, which is captured through participatory processes. Young people bring in unexpected solutions and take responsibility in the project, the organisation and in their environment.
In addition to the social benefits, participation also contributes to individual development. Participative processes promote identity development among young people by strengthening their self-confidence, as they are taken seriously and supported as actors. They develop resources such as decision-making, assertiveness and negotiating skills.

At the project level, young people are specifically involved in the brainstorming, planning, implementation and evaluation of projects. The degree of participation and the methods are always adapted to the young people concerned in order to avoid the risk of overburdening them. Adapted to the prerequisites such as age, educational level, experience with participative processes, the young people make as many decisions as possible themselves. The process support is always based on the resources and needs of the respective young people.
The young people are also involved in decisions affecting the organisation. For example, young people are interviewed when the organisation's annual planning is being discussed in order to adapt the planning to their needs. terre des hommes schweiz sees participation as a mutual learning process for young people as well as for organisations. Young people assume responsibility and organisations must be prepared to give up power in return. This requires a high degree of openness and flexibility from our partner organisations.
Young people should have a say in all areas of society that affect them. This can be the school, health institutions or (local) politics. Our partner organisations are committed to giving young people a voice in the various sub-systems and thus enabling them to participate in shaping them in a way that is appropriate for young people. This is achieved through youth advisory boards, hearings of young people or round tables. If direct contact is not possible, the organisations act as a mouthpiece for young people.

Example projects Youth participation

Sunset in the background and a plaque with the warning of free running camels.

imagine - in Switzerland

Young people defy the lack of prospects - self-organized youth groups in Nicaragua


Luciano Gagliardi
Projektkoordination imagine und Internationales Jugendnetzwerk, Fachstelle Jugendpartizipation
061 338 91 62 | luciano.gagliardi(at)terredeshommes.ch
Luciano GagliardiProjektkoordination imagine und Internationales Jugendnetzwerk, Fachstelle Jugendpartizipation

061 338 91 62 | luciano.gagliardi(at)terredeshommes.ch

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