Youth participation in a UNICEF study on education quality

While we are on the topic of youth engagement, I stumbled across this article, “Youth participation: success for research and for our future” summarizing the findings of a study conducted by UNICEF that collaborated with youth to find out the effects of deteriorating education quality in Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States. The article touches on a lot of what we discussed in class: empowering youth to have a voice in the issues that concern them, creating healthy alliances with adult mentors, and creating a safe environment for youth to discuss opinions openly.

The research study is called a Case Study on Youth Participatory Research on Education Quality in CEE/CIS Innovative Practices, Lessons Learned and Recommendations. The youth who participated  “identified the main issues to be explored, developed the questions, and tested and revised the research tools.” They also “developed advocacy statements and provided suggestions for how to address education challenges” (6). The study gave youth from marginalized communities a chance to “participate and express themselves for the first time” (21).

It may seem like common sense to involve youth in projects in which they are the primary stakeholders, but it hasn’t always been the case. It’s exciting that youth participation is becoming more legitimately realized among service providers and non-profits.