Meaningful and inclusive youth participation

Youth participation

Rutgers wants a world where young people, in all their diversity, have the right to actively participate in their own lives and enjoy their sexuality. With our partners, we have a unique focus on meaningful and inclusive youth participation, placing it at the very heart of our research, advocacy and programme work.

Rutgers realises the need for working with young people, instead of only working for young people.

Rutgers sees meaningful and inclusive youth participation as our responsibility. It is infused in our way of working.

  • We keep young people’s interests at the core of programming.
  • We ensure young people’s participation at all levels of decision making and phases of a programme.
  • We create a supportive environment for meaningful and inclusive youth participation.

Our programmes focus on young people in all their diversity, their participation is a right and we know it has a proven positive impact on young people, adults, organisations and programmes.

So Rutgers includes young people as key actors and not just core impact groups.

Creating spaces for young people

Young people’s lack of participation is a multilayered issue, often starting at home, carrying through to organisations, movements, policy-shaping and decision-making.

We create spaces for young people to have a seat at the table and encourage them to take an active role at all stages of decision-making processes and programme development and delivery.

Their opinions are respected and taken seriously. They can participate on equal terms with adults or work independently, making decisions solely based on youth voices.

Our work with young people

Rutgers engages young people as researchers, healthcare providers, educators and advocates to raise public support, campaign for improved policies and laws, deliver services and strengthen civil society.

We support young people as they develop personally, grow in confidence and deepen their own understanding of sexual and reproductive health and rights. We help them to expand their relationships and social networks and increase their civic engagement and ability to bring change.

Our work has also helped adults gain insight and be more in tune with young people’s needs and increased the commitment of other organisations to ensuring young people have an equal seat at the table.

Programmes such as Right Here Right Now and Generation G have a strong youth advocacy component. Explore4Action and She Makes Her Safe Choice involve young people as researchers.

Rutgers is committed to supporting youth advocates to speak at UN events we attend each year, such as the Commission on Population and Development and the Human Rights Council.

Youth-centred research

All our work is rooted in research, gathered together with young people. This improves the data and is an entry point for organisations and programmes to explore meaningful and inclusive youth participation work.

The research leads to effective, responsive programmes and advocacy, which meet the needs and realities of young people and support them to reach their potential and fulfil their ambitions.

Rutgers has a long history of working with young people. We are always learning from young people and looking for ways to improve our work. We use our expertise, evidence and learning and share it with others to create better programmes alongside young people and boost youth engagement.

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