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Dr. Mairead Seymour, Dr. Ann Marie Halpenny, Cathy Kelleher School of Languages, Law and Social Sciences, DIT.

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Presentation on theme: "Dr. Mairead Seymour, Dr. Ann Marie Halpenny, Cathy Kelleher School of Languages, Law and Social Sciences, DIT."— Presentation transcript:

1 Dr. Mairead Seymour, Dr. Ann Marie Halpenny, Cathy Kelleher School of Languages, Law and Social Sciences, DIT

2  To review national and international literature on the participation of seldom-heard young people and to identify best practice principles in the field. It is concerned with seldom heard young people’s participation within formal structures and initiatives in the context of public participation, such as youth councils and school/student councils. 2

3  to provide a detailed account of what is meant by ‘seldom-heard’ young people;  to examine the core aspects of participation as well as the barriers and challenges to participation for seldom-heard young people;  to identify approaches that can improve the inclusion of seldom-heard young people in decision-making that affects their lives. 3

4 (1) Literature selection (2) Critical engagement and synthesis of the literature (3) Thematic structuring of the review Exploration of the ‘grey’ unpublished literature 4

5  An umbrella term used to denote young people from a variety of backgrounds and life experiences whose voices are not heard in decision-making processes that affect their lives.  Young people may be seldom heard in multiple, overlapping and diverse ways in accordance with their gender, religious beliefs, social class or ethnic identity, as well as in relation to the issues and needs that are specific to their situation.  Given the complexity of the ‘seldom heard’ designation, it is preferable to consider seldom- heard young people primarily as young people with additional support needs. 5

6  Seldom heard young people exist within wider ‘seldom heard’ groups, such as within an ethnic minority group; or as groups in their own right, such as young carers.  Being ‘seldom heard’ does not imply that there is something inherent to certain subgroups of young people. It does however signal that existing participation structures do not adequately facilitate their voices being heard in decisions that affect their lives. 6

7  Participation as defined in this study refers to more than young people ‘having a voice’. It includes enabling them to have a real influence in decision-making on matters that directly and indirectly affect their lives.  Different types of participation such as consultative, collaborative, child or youth-led participation.  Approach determined on the basis of the needs and circumstances of the young people involved and the types of decisions being made. 7

8  Surveys and focus groups;  Councils, forums and committees;  Public meetings;  Youth conferences; youth advisory groups; user panels;  Online technologies, e-mail and text messaging; Activity-based workshops; informal ‘chats’ and discussion;  Ongoing informal consultation; games; and writing. Less apparent in the literature is the specific detail about the nature of the methods used, the types of young people involved or how the methods are employed to engage them in participation activity. 8

9  Practical and personal barriers  Perceptions of participation  Recognition of young people’s agency  Proximity to decision-makers  Gaps in knowledge and skills  Resources for participation activity with seldom-heard young people  Legislative and policy barriers 9

10  Directly targeting the involvement of seldom- heard young people in mainstream participation structures.  Building partnerships with organisations representing seldom-heard young people.  Supporting young people through capacity- building and overcoming obstacles to participation. 10

11  Making participation meaningful  Using participation methods that are appropriate and responsive to their needs  Informal participation approaches  ‘Youth involvement’ approach to participation 11

12  Outcomes from participation: ◦ outcomes must make a difference to young people’s lives, the lives of other young people and their communities. ◦ outcomes demonstrated to young people ◦ incremental feedback important feature of the process.  Improve review, monitoring, evaluation and dissemination of participation activity 12

13  Embrace a ‘whole-systems’ approach: ◦ Participation embedded within the infrastructure of an organisation. ◦ Incorporating an approach that is committed to participation (culture), an adequate level of planning and resourcing of participation (structure), the methods, skills and knowledge to engage young people (practice) and a system to monitor and evaluate participation activity (review). 13

14  The heterogeneity of what constitutes seldom-heard young people requires diverse responses to promote their inclusion and involvement in meaningful participation activity and points to the need for principles to guide practice, rather than uniform, prescriptive approaches that are unlikely to enable young people to participate in ways that are appropriate to their unique circumstances. 14

15  Principles of best practice identified include:  Improving seldom-heard young people’s access to participation opportunities;  Enhancing participation experiences for seldom-heard young people;  Adopting a whole-systems approach to participation. 15

16  Adult recognition of seldom-heard young people’s capacity to act as agents of change;  Remove or minimise practical and personal barriers to their participation;  Skills training and support to enable seldom heard young people to take part in decision- making; 16

17  View seldom-heard young people as experts in their own lives, participating in relation to their own experiences, rather than on behalf of the wider population of young people;  Directly targeting the involvement of seldom- heard young people in mainstream participation structures and mechanisms, such as reserving seats and co-option;  Develop partnerships with organisations and front-line practitioners who represent or work directly with seldom-heard young people. 17

18  Approaches that are moulded by young people’s preferences and needs;  Opportunities to participate in relation to matters that are relevant to their lives;  Access to different forms of participation tailored to their preferences and the type of decision-making involved;  Opportunities to act as agents of change in bringing about improvements in their lives and the lives of others, if they so wish; 18

19  A sense of ownership of the participation process;  Flexible and creative participation methods;  Opportunities for informal as well as formal participation;  Approach based on the principles of ‘youth involvement’;  Outcomes that make a difference to their lives and the lives of others;  Facilitator and practitioner awareness of what constitutes meaningful participation for seldom- heard young people and what their expectations are from the participation process. 19

20  The development of a culture of participation within organisations that work directly with seldom-heard young people;  Expansion of the research base on participation;  Further integration of young people’s participation structures within existing political structures;  Adequate resources to fund the enhancement of participation practice. 20

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