Youth Participation Handbook

Year of production: 2017

Image is illustrative. Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

This Participation Handbook is designed to be user-friendly and provide an introduction to the concept of participation, particularly youth participation; we hope that it will encourage young people and youth workers alike to engage with the process.

The ‘What is Participation?’ section seeks to locate the process and practice of participation in a range of contexts to illustrate its centrality to community structures and ideas of the common good. Stretching from the global perspective of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child to forms of local consultation, the concept of participation is seen to be flexible and responsive.

The ‘Models of Participation’ section contains only a small collection of examples; given the constraints of both time and space we offer examples of models that, complement or contrast, that range in sophistication, and that offer choices depending on local realities.

The ‘Case Studies’ section is included to illustrate three examples, at different scales, from UK projects.

We devised The 360 Participation Game for a training course in Lithuania last year involving youth workers, community artists, civil servants, and trade unionists from Lithuania, Norway and the UK; with participants coming from diverse traditions it meant creating a game that did not privilege any particular community of interest.

The final section, ‘Activities’, is a collection of methods for exploring some very complex themes: for example, Dot Voting may appear to be a very simplistic tool but could be expanded to enable deeper consideration of the issue of voting methods as a theme within a broader programme examining citizenship and engagement. Similarly, the well-established World Café could be used to equally good effect examining the local potential for youth empowerment in a youth project or as a tool for interrogating the possibilities of critically engaging with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.