26 March 2023
youth Participation and Leadership Strategy
Young people have the best understanding of their own contexts and challenges. They also have the drive and passion to tackle these challenges, while bringing to the table their invaluable and unique perspectives on localization, relevance and diversity. However, too often, humanitarian and development actors fail to listen to and include young people in ways that are meaningful and without tokenism or manipulation. This infringes on young people’s right to be involved in decisions that affect them. It also results in missed opportunities to build context-relevant and sustainable solutions that address the mental health and wellbeing of young people and children in their communities across the globe.
Structures and frameworks for enhancing young people’s meaningful engagement, participation and leadership need to be prioritized because they are critical to ensuring the success of solutions that address the challenges children and young people face. This involves strengthening the capacity of young people to navigate the humanitarian and development sectors, including their ability and confidence to speak to diverse audiences; critically analyse the issues/problems that concern them; define, articulate and ask the right questions; and know how, when and where to direct these questions. It also involves supporting them with the tools to better understand issues related to their mental health, wellbeing, resilience and personal development, as well as how to advocate effectively for policy-to-action.
The MHPSS Collaborative aims to decrease asymmetries of power between adults and young people in mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) programme development, advocacy and research through the facilitation of safe and meaningful adolescent and youth engagement, participation and leadership. Our goal is to help facilitate and strengthen the voices, capacity, participation and leadership of adolescents and youth to meaningfully engage in advocacy, programming and research to address their mental health and wellbeing now and in the future.
Check out the full strategy in the document below: