8 ideas to mainstream youth in organizational development

What is youth mainstreaming: Youth mainstreaming is a key approach to ensure that young people benefit equally from development efforts. Youth mainstreaming considers young people’s participation not just as a tool to achieve effective project implementation but as an end in itself.

The following 8 ideas may serve as an inspiration on how to put young people first in organizational development, when societies and borders open up after Covid-19.

8 ideas to mainstream youth into your work

Idea 1) Internal youth audit; Conduct an internal youth audit of the organization’s policies, budgets and programmes to identify how and where young people’s participation can be improved.

Idea 2) Youth advisory panels; Establish youth advisory panels with a mandate to provide a critical ‘youth-lens’ in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of programmes to ensure they are relevant and responsive to the needs of young people. This could e.g. be supplemented by bi-annual youth partner consultations on current priorities and programmes;

Idea 3) Youth focal point; Establish a Youth Focal Point function to ensure a systematic focus on youth in programme and policies. The Youth Focal Point must be given the necessary resources and space to monitor and evaluate, if youth targets and indicators have been prioritised and implemented.

Idea 5) Capacity building; Build the capacity of staff to understand and address relevant youth issues, and sensitize senior management too. This may include technical advice and skills to mainstream youth in the existing programmes, sharing positive stories of the benefit of including youth and enhancing the capacity of staff to engage in relevant local and national youth policy processes.

Idea 6) Recruitment strategy, professionals; Develop a recruitment strategy that promotes affirmative action of competent young people for professional positions. Recruitment processes must be specifically designed to attract young people and consequently have a strong focus on social media and outreach to youth organisations.

Idea 7) Mobilisation of youth; Develop a strategy that encourages young members to engage in democratic processes in their organisations. Such processes must be specifically designed to attract and mobilise young people to raise their voice.

Idea 8) Youth interns; Provide opportunities for both short and long-term youth internships (1-6 months) at the secretariat, i.e. young members, who can provide advice and validate youth priorities and interventions in specific policies and programmes