Young people have been the most discussed topic in international development scenario. There are various conferences that are organized keeping young people in the heart of its agenda. How successful are we to engage young people? When designing, planning and implementing the program for young people, do we measure how are we ensuring meaningful young people participation?
In one of the meetings that I attended in Washington DC, I learned about Hart’s Ladder of Participation Activity. It is a simple activity through which we can analyze our program for young people. It shows different steps of young peoples’ participation in the program.
The bottom rung of the ladder starts with Manipulation step. It means that young people are not involved in any phase of the program but adults are using young people’s voice to represent their own opinions. Decoration and Tokenism don’t involve young people in meaningful participation as well. In the rungs going upward, it talks about the steps where young people are assigned but informed, consulted and informed which basically describes that young people are informed and aware about what’s happening and they are consulted but they are not the ones who are making decisions. There are Adult-initiated, shared decision and young people initiated and directed projects which shows the better steps of young people’s participation in the program. The top most effective way of young people’s participation is the step where young people and adults share the decisions together.
This is one of the very basic but important activities we can do to analyze our program. Here is the link where you can find the activity brief-