Enhancing Youth Participation in
Local Governance Sector
Table of Contents
Speech of the Minister of Local Government .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
List of Definitions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Introduction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Methodology for Developing the Youth Participation Policy Paper.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Objectives for Developing the Youth Participation Policy Paper. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
Youth Participation Policies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
Mechanisms to Activate Youth Participation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
Requirements for Implementing the Youth Participation Policy Paper . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
Speech of the Minister of Local Government
On the basis of the responsibilities and authorities stated in the Local government Units Law num-
ber (1) for the year (1997); the Ministry of Local Government (MoLG) dedicates crucial efforts to
prepare and develop policies that aim to regulate the local governance sector and enable local bod-
ies to take part in building the Palestinian state institutions and contribute to the process of sustain-
able development. Those policies aim at promoting civil participation, and ensuring monitoring,
integrity and transparency in the work of local government units and thus, achieving MoLG objec-
tives. The Ministry bases its work on interaction, participation, and transparency, follows principles
of social justice, and pursues a general policy of strengthening the decentralisation and empower-
ment of local government units to be able to provide efficient services to citizens.
For several years, MoLG in collaboration with local and international organisations have imple-
mented several models and methodologies for youth participation in the work of local govern-
ment units. Achieving good governance and participatory democracy requires the adoption of a
clear participation policy especially for the youth sector, through the development of a regulatory
framework illustrating the roles and responsibilities of relevant parties and stakeholders. Youth
participation is one of the key pillars of community participation policy. Hence, the Ministry directs
its efforts to promote youth participation in local governance through a policy paper on youth par-
ticipation in the work of local government units as the first step towards empowering youth and
enhancing their role to achieve sustainable development, especially since youth make up a high
percentage of the Palestinian population.
Youth participation policy is consistent with the Palestinian Government national plan, as it contrib-
utes to building the institutions of the Palestinian state and maintaining its sustainability through
encouraging such a vital category to play an active role in the Palestinian society. This will contrib-
ute to the progress, growth, and building of institutions that are capable of performing develop-
ment work and providing sustainable services. Moreover, youth policy contributes to the creation
of a suitable environment for the improvement of infrastructure and services. Hence, it supports
the establishment of local governance institutions that rely on youth and follow a participatory and
accountable approach, thereby enhancing integrity and community participation.
We would like to express our gratefulness to all partners and the team working to combine this
study. We hope to achieve the desired goals that we are positively looking forward to.
Minister of Local Government
Dr. Hussein Al Araj
List of Definitions
yy Local Government Unit (LGU): A local government unit within certain administra-
tive and geographic boundaries.
yy Council: The local council unit; including a municipal, local, or village council. On
the other hand, the administrative committee, development committee, and any
other council that is established according to Local Government Units law. Consists
of a president and elected members.
yy Local Community: The citizen, civil society organisations, the private sector, and
public organisations that are part of a civil concourse.
yy Youth Participation: A process in which young women and men are involved in the
local development process through active participation to assess needs. They plan,
implement, and monitor the work of local government units to ensure sustainable
development and good governance.
yy Community Participation: A main feature of good local governance that enables
the citizen and their organisation to participate in processes of planning, imple-
mentation, evaluation, and efficient utilisation of available resources. In addition,
community participation encourages the different initiatives and contribution to
serve the public interest and create local development without hindering elected
local government units’ authorities and responsibilities as provided by the law.
yy Social Accountability: A group of actions and mechanisms the citizens and their
organisation, civil society, media, and other non-governmental active parties use
to address decision makers to clarify decisions and answer inquiries related to dis-
tributions and management of projects, services, or opportunities.
yy Good Governance1
: Political authority’s application of its tasks within specific crite-
ria in order to achieve sustainable development, improve state resources, provide
integrity, accountability and respect, as well as serve public interests.
yy Youth Representative Bodies in Local Governance: Youth groups of both women
and men woks in cooperation with the local government unit, and capacitated to
participate in decision making processes on local and national levels, without con-
tradiction with applicable laws and regulations. Those groups take part in assessing
needs, setting up and implementing plans in their local government units.
1 According to United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, youth constitutes one-third of the entire
Palestinian society. The figures show, that young people within the age group of 15-29 make up
30% of the total population. In addition, they are the most educated category as the percentage of
young people enrolled in education from ages 15 to 29 is 41.6 % for the year 2013. Within that age
group the survey data indicates an increase of voluntary activities.
Youth reflect the path to and purpose of development as they contribute to an active role in shap-
ing the present and exploring prospects for the future. A strong society is an indication of powerful
youth, who are the builders of nations. Once the youth is aware and properly oriented, they will be
able to face the challenges of the present and more willing to fight for a better future.
As the most vital and influential category in a society where political participation is a crucial com-
ponent, youth are considered a key element in any democratic/political, economic, or social devel-
opmental transition. For more accountability in local communication, efforts should be dedicated
to invest in youth in order to activate and institutionalise the participation of young women and
men. In addition, actions should be taken to stimulate youth energies to enhance their confidence
as influential stakeholders. Youths should be aware of the fact that they are the contributors for im-
proving their societies that are challenged with critical aspects of politics in order to attain develop-
ment and democracy. Hence, MoLG focuses on the youth sector to promote their participation in
the local bodies. To achieve success in this regard, the following basic conditions should take place:
yy Acknowledgement youth’s minds and ideas, and dealing with youth as a vital entity and not
merely as an implementation tool.
yy Recognition of youth achievements and aspirations through learning the objectives and
means to reach those goals.
yy Provision of laws, policies and structures that stimulate an environment that promotes
youth participation, in addition to raising awareness on the importance of youth involve-
ment in local communities.
If the aforementioned conditions come to pass, youth will genuinely contribute to directing civil
efforts to the correct path.
In order to understand the importance of the role of young women and men in the Palestinian
society, MoLG has developed a policy paper to enhance youth participation following the MoLG
Strategic Plan. The Strategic plan clearly states the goal “achieve more democracy, transparency,
and community participation in the sector of local governance.” This goal has been translated into
the following initiatives:
yy The development of a pedagogical programme that contributes to raising awareness and
strengthening local governance concepts among school students.
yy The development of policies, standards, guidelines, and tools to promote community par-
ticipation and accountability means in the work of local government units in order to in-
crease the capacity of those units, and modernise integrity and transparency management
In order to offer better services to citizens and raise their performance and developmental services,
the role of monitoring in directing and adjusting the work of local bodies is important.
Since the majority of the Palestinian society is young, their active participation is necessary to
promote the principles of transparency, democracy and efficiency. Youth participation is one of
the community tools to monitor local bodies and ensure social accountability. The role of young
women and men has become significant and crucial for promoting the principles of transparency
and participation in the work of local government units that will enhance the citizens’ confidence
in the work of these units.
Going over initiatives that focus on the promotion of youth participation in the work of local gov-
ernment units, we conclude that a structural framework which regulates and institutionalises these
initiatives is absent. Some of those initiatives appear to be uncoordinated and individualistic, while
in other cases, the initiatives are implemented through civil and local institutions that encourage
youth participation and involvement without integration between them2
. Therefore, MoLG has in-
tended to develop a policy paper to promote youth participation in the work of local government
units involving all related parties and stakeholders. This will encourage local authorities to use the
policy paper as a legitimate reference.
Enhancing youth participation in a broader sense requires concerted efforts among various parties
in the Ministry, civil society organisations, and citizens. In addition, it requires institutionalising
the process through the adoption of a policy paper, followed by a regulatory framework outlining
the relationship, responsibilities, and roles between the different stakeholders. Moreover, youth
participation rules, standards, tools, interventions need to be agreed on, as well as the work to
increase awareness on the importance of young women and men participatory role in their com-
2 Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics’ statement on the occasion of International Youth Day
Methodology for Developing the Youth Participation Policy Paper
The methodology for preparing this paper focused on involving stakeholders through a participa-
tory approach, and reviewing relevant literature. An administrative framework has been formed
through establishing a Steering Committee and a Drafting Committee, as well as assigning a dedi-
cated team to develop the content and present it to the Steering Committee for their approval.
The following points summarise the methodology of developing the Youth Participation Policy Pa-
yy Announcing the beginning of the task to prepare the paper in the presence of all partners.
yy Forming a Steering committee to guide the process of developing the policy paper, and
holding the first committee meeting.
yy Reviewing literature on youth participation and other relevant documents, including the
Local government units Law for the year (1997), MoLG Strategic Plan (2010-2014), and the
Strategic Plan for Public Administration for the year (2014).
yy Conducting two focus groups, meeting in the Gaza Strip and West Bank:
1. The first focus group was attended by a number of young women and men active in
their local government units.
2. The second focus group was held with the participation of a number of civil society
organisations that mainly work with youth.
yy Conducting a two day workshop in both the West Bank and Gaza targeting stakeholders: 25
participants took part in the workshop: Mayors of local government units who participated
in youth participation initiatives, mayors who did not participate in implementing similar
initiatives, a number of MoLG managers and staff, representatives of some civil society or-
ganisations, donor institutions working on similar initiatives, relevant ministries and public
organisations, experts, citizens active in their communities, and members of the Steering
yy Developing the first draft of the paper as a result of the workshops and focus groups.
yy Presenting and discussing the first draft of the Steering Committee.
yy Developing the final draft of the policy paper, then obtaining the approval of the Steering
Committee and the endorsement of MoLG.
Objectives for Developing the Youth Participation Policy Paper
The aim of developing the Youth Participation Policy Paper is to achieve social justice and promote
practices of good governance at the level of local government units. In addition, the policy aims
to utilise the energy of those powerful young women and men to implement societal change con-
tributing to social and cultural development along with all the different elements of development.
The objectives and policies of enhancing youth participation in the work of local government units
respond to the national development goals, which seek to:
˃˃ Encourage participation to ensure equality between male and female citizens, construct equal
rights and duties, distribute programmes and services effectively, and address the differences
and needs of both women and men.
˃˃ Access the optimal use of public resources, which is based on the real needs of society.
˃˃ Implement projects and development plans that respond to the needs and priorities of the lo-
cal community, especially younger women and men.
˃˃ Ensure compliance with laws and regulations.
˃˃ Youth participation contributes to the development of young women and men in a positive
manner, which increases their self-confidence, and builds their abilities to communicate and
mobilise, as well as their ability to claim their rights and participate in decision-making at the
˃˃ Contribute to concentrating the various development paths at the community level to address
needs and requirements of youth participation as a top priority of local development pro-
grammes, which will make young women and men accountable in their communities
Youth Participation Policies
This policy aims to create a stimulating and enhanced environment for the participation of young
women and men in the work of local government units. Youth participation has a positive impact on
the integration of young people in decision-making at the local level, and building their capacities
to ensure the achievement of local development on the basis of community participation through:
yy Promoting awareness among local authorities and community on the importance of youth
˃˃ Promote youth participation (participation of young women and men) through awareness
programmes offered to schools (male and female target schools equally), and raise the
awareness of male and female citizens towards youth participation.
˃˃ Highlight the significance of youth participation (women and men) through lobbying and
advocacy campaigns, and direct the media towards bridging gaps/shortcomings in regards
to the subject of youth participation in local government units.
˃˃ Provide outreach programmes for local government units’ staff on the importance of youth
work and capacity-development in particular.
yy Enabling young women and men to participate in the work of local government units and
strengthening their involvement:
˃˃ Develop the capacity of young women and men to identify their needs and raise their aware-
ness on the work and role of local government units.
˃˃ Raise the awareness of young women and men on local development issues, and their inter-
dependence and implications on various community groups like women, men and children.
˃˃ Ensure an effective participation of young women and men in developing strategic plans for
local government units and general budgets that meet the needs of the different segments
in the society.
˃˃ Attend local government units’ sessions and take part in decision-making. Participating in
these sessions is subject to the approval of the majority of attending local council members,
and taking decisions should be done confidentially among local council members only with-
out the presence of youth or any other citizens.
˃˃ Play an active role in social monitoring and accountability.
˃˃ Network with official and unofficial youth organisations at the national and local levels; es-
pecially youth clubs and women’s organisations. This will ensure support and develop the
capacity of groups of young women and men who are able to play an active role at the level
of local government units.
yy Institutionalising youth participation:
˃˃ MoLG approval and adoption of the Youth Participation Policy Paper.
˃˃ Assign a young social worker/officer in the local government unit structure according to the
personnel system of LGUs, considering the financial capacities of the LGU and without any
conflict with the LGU ratified budget. Alternatively, this task can be delegated to one of the
LGU staff, to follow up on youth issues and coordinate with local institutions. Further, pro-
vide a centre for young women and men to practice their participation role.
˃˃ LGUs budgets should be responsive and sensitive for youth needs and activities.
˃˃ Provide a representative body for youth within a clear formatting structure to allow equal
membership for women and men and ensure active participation.
˃˃ Develop plans that address the diverse needs of both young women and men aligned with
the local government units’ strategic plan.
˃˃ Ensure/form a supporting committee including both men and women.
˃˃ Review available evidences to produce a gender-sensitive procedural guidance and training
manual that addresses the objectives of the policy paper
Mechanisms to Activate Youth Participation
The following mechanisms should be considered to ensure youth participation in the work of local
government units. These mechanisms may be implemented only within the financial capacities of
LGUs, considering no contradiction with applicable laws and regulations.
1- Assignment of a staff member to support young women and men participation in local
government units, within the financial capacities of LGUs, considering no contradiction
with applicable laws and regulations.
2- Assignment of adequate financial resources (budget item) to respond to the needs of
youth, within the financial capacities of the LGU.
3- Distributing real and effective roles for young women and men and trusting their ability
to implement change, considering no contradiction with applicable laws and regulations.
4- Involving interested young women and men in the planning processes of LGUs, to insure
integrating their needs and issues in the LGUs’ plans.
5- Creating a youth-friendly environment by building positive relationships between the lo-
cal government units, young people, and local institutions; particularly for young women
as they are less represented in local institutions as a result of dominant societal and or-
6- Increasing youth’s sense of belonging and security and enhancing their self-confidence
through forming support committees for both sexes.
7- Providing young women and men with information about the services provided by the
local government unit, the challenges it faces, and decision-making processes using ef-
fective and transparent adult learning mechanisms. Considering no contradiction with
applicable laws and regulations.
8- Providing guidance and training based on the needs of both young women and men, to
help them develop consensus and enhance their full participation.
9- Prepare a gender-responsive procedural guidance and training manual under the supervi-
sion of the Ministry of Local Government, to develop the capacity of young women and
men, and to create an environment that accepts their participation.
10- Allocating a youth centre under the local government unit to ensure a space for young
women and men to conduct meetings and activities, within the financial capacities and
approval of LGUs.
11- Organising social accountability sessions and mechanisms on the performance of local
government units to ensure an adequate environment for active youth participation in
terms of space and time, especially for young women.
12- Organising voluntary campaigns with the participation of young women and men to sup-
port local government units in fulfilling their duties to their communities.
Requirements for Implementing Youth Participation Policy Paper
The implementation of this paper requires thorough efforts between related parties as follows:
The role of MoLG in the implementation of the Youth Participation Policy Paper
˃˃ Approve the paper, circulate it among local government units, and encourage them to adopt
˃˃ Develop a gender responsive procedural guidance and training manual to develop the ca-
pacity of young women and men, and to create an environment that accepts their participa-
˃˃ Amend the laws and legislation of LGUs to take into account the participation of young
women and men in municipal work.
The role of Local Government Units within in the implementation of the policy paper
˃˃ Provide training centres to develop the capacity of young women and men in the local gov-
ernment unit ensuring equal opportunities and capabilities, under the condition of the ap-
proval of the LGU and it’s financial capacity. Those centres also serve as a space for those
young women and men to conduct meetings and activities.
˃˃ Expand the circle of exchange by building external partnerships, highlighting the role of
young women in changing common societal culture.
˃˃ Conduct fundraising to support the participation of young women and men in local govern-
ment units under the supervision of relevant official bodies.
˃˃ Adopt, implement, and circulate the recommendations and provisions of the policy paper.
The role of civil society and media institutions in the implementation of the policy paper
˃˃ Adopt the policy paper and promote its implementation within the available resources.
˃˃ Build the capacity of young women and men through civil society institutions.
˃˃ Support young women and men through the adoption of effective projects on the subject of
the active participation of both sexes.
˃˃ Conduct advocacy and lobbying campaigns focusing on the importance equal participation
of young women and men.
˃˃ Unify civil society and media institution efforts to support the policies of young women and
men participation, focusing on young women.
The role of the Municipal Development and Lending Fund in the implementation of the policy
˃˃ Include youth participation in the performance indicators for local government units with
the adoption of positive discrimination and equal participation of both sexes.
˃˃ Contribute to the development of a gender responsive procedural guidance and training
manual to develop the capacity of young women and men, and to create an environment
that accepts their participation.
˃˃ Play a role in the development of the capacity of young women and men based on their
needs, and develop the capacity of local government units on the importance of youth par-
ticipation and expected results of their contribution.
˃˃ Amend performance indicators to include the subject of youth participation and to increase
the proportion of women participation.
˃˃ Stimulate the local government units through supporting programmes that promote youth
participation of both sexes.
˃˃ Guide donor initiatives and programmes towards enhancing youth rights to participation in
local government units, with special priority for initiatives and programmes that ensure and
enhance equality of participation for both sexes.