Youth participation in CYP

Youth participation represents a progressive new outlook on the role young people can play in society. Young people are no longer seen as passive recipients or victims of social and political forces. In their new role, they are seen as stakeholders in society, with vested interests and a role to share in the exercise of power at all levels.

Young woman taking at a seminar in Australia organised by the Commonwealth Youth Programme (CYP) South Pacific Regional Centre.The CYP’s approach to youth participation supports and relies on young people’s full inclusion in society – in social, political and economic life. It aims to ensure that all young people (especially marginalised groups) have access to the skills and opportunities they require to make a living, become full citizens and contribute to progress in their communities.

The CYP has four Regional Youth Caucuses and a Commonwealth Youth Caucus which provide a mechanism to ensure that young people are involved in consultations and decisions about the shape of the CYP’s own programs. These enable youth representatives to make recommendations to Ministers for Youth Affairs at their triennial meetings. Each region also supports youth networks and exchanges between young people so that they can learn from each other and collectively try to influence national and regional policies.

For example, in Africa there is an HIV/AIDS Network that includes ten ‘Ambassadors for Positive Living’ who take a high profile role to talk openly about HIV spread and prevention, and about the impact of HIV on young people, while visiting schools, churches and mosques, youth groups, government officials and politicians.