With and for young people: how to amplify youth voices - part 2

IPPF European Network has developed a youth-centred approach (YCA) toolkit with the aim of improving the confidence and capacity of young people and adults to implement, upgrade and expand youth participation in our members. 

Here’s what Nika, former volunteer for pro familia’s youth network (pro familia in action), IPPF member in Germany – who coached member associations from Spain and Ireland, had to say about their experience working on the youth-centred approach.

Having freedom and responsibility as a young person

I became involved in the project with pro familia as a youth volunteer and coach for the youth-centred approach. I remember having a lot of freedom, responsibility and the opportunity to hold myself accountable. Although it was a little bit overwhelming, I liked working as part of a team and being encouraged to explore this new role.

Agents of change

I was so happy to see that the toolkit gave so much importance to having young people as agents of change. Seeing it in a written form really touched me, and I found it so powerful.

I also like the fact that the toolkit addresses various key players, on one hand empowering young people and on the other hand trying to convey this vision – of youth at the center – to people in decision-making positions within organisations.

Coaching other members

The experience was very enriching, it’s worthwhile investing time and energy in it, and as a young person also overcoming fear and insecurities.

After the coaching session I felt there was more interest in youth participation. It felt like there was momentum and opportunity for member associations to take more young people on board. I felt change was happening.

The youth-centred approach represented for pro familia and its youth network a great opportunity. I felt empowered by the growth I saw in pro familia and by what I gained on a personal level.

Key take-aways for a successful approach

It’s really important to look for allies, for people who are open to listen to you and to your ideas, to find people who are welcoming ideas coming from youth.

Speaking of SRHR, it’s crucial to reflect and acknowledge one’s position in society and the privileges that come with that. It’s also key to let people with diverse experiences speak for themselves. We all need to look at power dynamics through a critical lens and this doesn’t just concern age, but also race, gender identity, socioeconomic background, (dis)ability and many more categories. Reproductive justice means much more than fighting for policy changes; it implies that each and everyone of us addresses own biases and stereotypes surrounding bodies, gender, sex and relationships.

 

Interview conducted by Manon Kayser, IPPF EN