1. Youth Engagement
Grace Lubwama DPPD
University of Southern California
Sol Price School of Public Policy
1. Intended Research Topic
2. Reasons for Interest
3. Relevance to Readings
4. Research on Topic
5. Key findings
6. Implications and Next Step
3. Research Topic
 Sustaining the child well-being by linking community and
citizen participation to public policy by engaging children
and youth in the decision making.
 How do we get children and youth involved in civic
engagement and decision making in their own
 How do we empower children & youth to bring change
toward their sustained well being especially the most
vulnerable in their own community,
 and how it affects communities position within the context of a
larger social institutions.
 Interested in exploring different mechanism and approaches being
used to get children and youth involved in civic decision making.
4. Reason for interest- ↑ Poverty rates
5. Increase in Child poverty compared
to ave .population.
6. Reasons for Interest
• Research and data shows that traditionally children have been
disproportionally affected by poverty than any other group and that they are
at higher risk of poverty than the average member of the population. (Anne
Casey Foundation 2011 Kid Count Report)
2. Believe that children and youth should be able to express, engage, inform
and be involved in decisions as citizens, as part of the new paradigm for
their improved well- being.
3. Public Policy should matter for the well- being of children and youth.
4. Investing in the institutional infrastructure at the grassroots/local level
ensures sustainable child well being outcomes.
5. Youth people are more prepared for the new paradigm worth exploring
how to get them involved
6. A shift in focusing on the improvement in child well being will eventually
reduce child poverty
7. Empowered young people, demanding a better
 Wilkinsburg High School (PA) senior Jordan Howard thinks the district hasn't heard student
 "I feel we're being cheated out of high school," he said, saying students are missing out on
extracurricular activities and some advanced classes. ( Pittsburg post Gazette 2012)
8. Reason for interest
 YEP targets vulnerable youth who possess leadership potential but lack
opportunities to develop it in a positive way. Youth ages 14 to 18 learn to
identify local issues and problems in their communities, and to research and
 Youth participate in an intensive, 20-week leadership and advocacy
 Participants identify local issue of importance to them and their peers in their
 Learn about developing policy, advocacy and civic engagement to change
 They research and develop a detailed policy recommendation to present to their
policy makers in their community.
 What different approaches will each community use to get the youth
involved and participate/engaged in civic decisions in their communities
9. Child Well- being Defined
According to the Child and Youth Well-Being Index (2008):
 "the overall well-being of children and young people... is
defined in terms of averages of social conditions
encountered by children and young people.”
 According to Bradshaw et al., From a child rights
perspective well-being can be defined as the realization
of children’s rights and the fulfillment of the opportunity
for every child to be all she or he can be..
 Goal is improve CWB- It can happen if children/youth as
citizen participate in economic, social and political
decision making and for ensuring their sustained well –
10. Sustained Child Well- being
An Environmental View…….
 communities and environment are important in
contributing to and sustaining children’s well-being.
Bradshaw et al 2006- Children interact with their
environment and thus play an active role in creating their
well-being by balancing the different factors, developing
and making use of resources and responding to stress
i.e. looking at systems and
How do the different aspects affect/function with one another
Goal – Improved & Sustained Child
Well-being –Poverty reduction
Community Development Model – affect
change in their own community
Exploring mechanisms of engaging young people in the decision making
around issues that affect them and linking it to policy change.
What is the theoretical relevancy to practice?
What are the lessons learnt of the process and structure?
12. Theoretical Implications and
Informed by the readings
1. New Paradigm and Ecological World View Concept
2. Participation Theory
3. Collaboration Model
4. Sustainable Development
5. Rationality Theory-
13. Theoretical Implications
 Robert Putman- civic engagement and high levels of social capital
foster economic and community development which reduce poverty
 New Paradigm & Ecological View Concept-
 emphasizes the interconnection and self –organizing
capacity (Robertson 2007)
 Values and perceptions shared by a community
 Importance of dialogue and making meaning together
 Empowering individuals to define their narratives
(Miller 1993; Bosgason 2001)
 Equality and justice.
These provides a foundation of possibilities in improving a
sustaining the well- being of children in communities that are
vulnerable especially by involving the youth.
14. Participation Model/ Theory
It is a conceptual framework that:
 Provides understanding the world in similar terms of
transpersonal and spiritual phenomena
 Shared meaning
 Roberts 2004- citizen participation is cornerstone for
democracy- individuals ought to be involved in the
decisions affecting their lives, running their lives and
managing their communities
Children & Youth need to be involved and engaged in
Communities/ civic decision making.
15. Collaboration Model
 Relational networks;
 Collectiveness before individualism,
competition and self interest (Healey
 Approach is emphasized in the literature
of planning theory as great to addressing
local environmental concerns and issues
 Sustainable Community is one that satisfies its needs
without diminishing the prospects of the future
generation. ( Brown 1996)
 The concept of sustainability is based on the premise
that people and their communities are made up of social,
economic, and environmental systems that are in
constant interaction and that must be kept in harmony or
balance if the community is to continue to function to the
benefit of its inhabitants
 Child well-being has present and future repercussions on
the lives of children and the community at large.
 Important to strengthen local communities, creating
space for citizen engagement and linking to policy
change for sustainability (Norberg 1996)
17. Rationality ( Rational Theory)
 What is logical, objective, fact based and has method
 An economic principle that assumes that individuals
always make prudent and logical decisions that provide
them with the greatest benefit or satisfaction and that are
in their highest self-interest.
 Herbert Simon proposed the theory of bounded
rationality, which says that people are not always able to
obtain all the information they would need to make the
best possible decision.
 Involving youth in the problem solving and decision
18. Research Findings
 Guiding light Conference- is a powerful
interactive conference on creative civic
engagement from a grass root perspective in
 Formal interviews- citizen participation important
 David Korten
 “Imagine an economy in which life is valued more than
money and power resides with ordinary people who care
about one another, their community, and their natural
environment. It is possible. It is happening. Millions of people
are living it into being. Our common future hangs in the
19. Findings from Research
Sierra Health Foundation Report 2010 (Engaging Youth in
Community Change; Outcomes and Lessons Learnt)
Goal: Improving the well-being of children
 Foundation launched REACH: Connecting Communities and Youth
for a Healthy Future with a vision to ensure healthy development
and leadership opportunities for youth between the ages of 10 and
 Across the seven communities, several hundred youth and adults
participated in sustained ways during the 3 year period.
 based on 346 interviews (87 with youth participants)
 and more than 320 observations of REACH meetings and events,
as well as a review of key REACH documents and relevant literature
 outcomes and draws on an analysis of REACH evidence to
articulate lessons for the field of community youth development.
20. Key Findings from REACH
 REACH-funded coalitions became a place to go for youth
development ideas and activities in the participating communities.
 In all seven communities, there was observed increasing awareness
of key youth issues, developing capacity to bring youth perspectives
to local decision-making bodies, and gathering momentum for
particular ideas, strategies and approaches.
 Coupling youth engagement and community change is difficult-
Putting youth engagement in the center of a community change
strategy can yield benefits, but requires more time, resources, focus
and commitment than many anticipate.
 Developing and sustaining a focused community change strategy
can provide clarity about how and why to engage youth, but it
doesn’t necessarily respond to what matters most to youth.
21. Primary Implications of these
 Need to develop capacity to bring youth
perspectives to local decision-making
bodies, and gathering momentum for
particular ideas, strategies and
 Exploring how and why to involve youth in
civic decision making, while respond to
what matters most to youth.
22. Next Steps
 Narrow Topic - Exploring mechanisms of engaging
young people in the decision making around issues
that affect them and linking it to policy change.
 National Policy Platform- Linkage
 What is the theoretical relevancy to practice?
 Additional Research- classes
 Explore methodological component
 VIDEO- Youth Voice