Youth participation in decision-making
Effective youth participation is about creating opportunities for young people to be involved in influencing, shaping, designing and contributing to policy and the development of services and programmes.
These opportunities are created through developing a range of formal and informal mechanisms for youth participation from youth advisory groups to focus groups, from on-going consultation work to supporting youth-led projects. There are many reasons for including young people in decision-making.
- Youth participation means better decisions and increased efficiency
- Evidence shows that policies and programmes designed after consultation with users are more likely to be effective. By using youth participation you are more likely to get it right the first time and avoid wasting time and money on services young people don't want to use.
- Youth participation strengthens community capacity
- Giving young people a place in decision-making builds a broader base of citizen involvement and creates stronger, more inclusive communities. Youth participation is necessary in the development of active citizenship because it balances young people's social rights with their responsibilities.
- Youth participation contributes to positive youth development
- Research shows that young people who are supported to participate in decision-making are more likely to have increased confidence and self-belief, exercise positive career choices and have greater involvement and responsibility in the future.
- Youth participation enhances your organisation's relationship with young people
- Youth participation challenges negative stereotypes of young people and help break down barriers between adults and young people. Involving young people in decision-making can improve attitudes towards understanding about young people and create a greater awareness of youth issues in an organisation.
- Youth participation is a right
- New Zealand became a part of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCROC) in 1993. UNCROC states that all young people under the age of 18 have the right to participate in decision-making. It recognises their rights to express their opinions, to have their opinions considered in decisions that affect them and to receive and give information and ideas.