Youth Engagement

Definition of Youth Engagement

“It is an intentional and intensive process where young people are engaged in problem-solving that benefits everyone.” Ali Raza Khan, Founder, YES Network Pakistan

Let us now look at the different parts of that definition:

● Intentional: It means that Youth Engagement is seen as an organized activity where young people are provided well-structured space, support, value and recognition from an institution or community to carry out missions that are left unattended or unresolved.

● Intensive: It means that Youth Engagement is not seen as a side agenda or something to be done on one sunny morning or during free hours by the young people. It is seen as a deliberate process to mainstream young people in all phases of programming to address a critical need. It means young people are not asked to simply plug into pre-determined programs.

● Process: Youth Engagement is a dynamic process where young people establish a positive and reciprocal relationship with others. This process is based on mutual respect and trust. It is not like other traditional concepts of relationship with youth where young people are seen as ‘lesser’ or ‘weak. In this process, young people and adults form a partnership to make a difference in their community.

● Young People: It means ALL young people should be engaged in problem-solving. It does not focus on troubled or prepared young people only. It does not exclude young people on the basis of education, background, skill, gender or setting. It views every young person as a vital resource to drive change in the society.

● Problem Solving: Youth Engagement brings a massive shift in the field of youth development as it challenges young people to serve rather than to be served. It does not perceive young people as a problem to be fixed but as someone with a lot of potential to solve problems. The most exciting thing about this approach is that by engaging young people in problem-solving, we help young people to stay away from problems and grow in profound ways.

● Benefits Everyone: Youth Engagement has a positive impact on everyone. It helps young people to grow in profound ways. It provides the most viable and cost-effective ways for a community to meet its challenges and to lay a foundation of a bright future.

Uniqueness of YES Network Pakistan

WHY YOUTH ENGAGEMENT IS A BIG CHALLENGE?

Issue

Solution

Youth engagement is limited to addressing youth problems.

Broaden the Outcomes

Youth engagement is considered as the responsibility of youth-serving institutions.

Broaden the Professionals

Youth engagement is limited to participation of young people in crisis situations.

Broaden the Situations

Youth engagement is confused with programs which provide basic services to young people.

Broaden the Services

Youth engagement is limited to participation of young people in co-curricular activities.

Broaden the Definition

Youth engagement is considered as an episodic activity.

Broaden the Timeframe

Youth engagement is confused with the participation of young people in training programs.

Broaden the Targets

Youth engagement is considered as a waste of time by major stakeholders.

Broaden the Understanding

Youth engagement is considered as an activity meant for male youth only.

Broaden the Gender Equality

Youth engagement is limited to the participation of prepared youth.

Broaden the Scope

Youth engagement initiatives are very less in numbers.

Broaden the Numbers