It is our belief in democracy that makes us champions of young people: those who will not just inherit the future, but who can and should shape the present.

~ Kamalesh Sharma, Commonwealth Secretary-General

Welcome to Unit 4 Commonwealth values and youth development. In this unit, we discuss ways in which you might consider using the various principles we have talked about in this course. We start by considering ‘participation’ and look at its various meanings. The concept of ‘levels of participation’ is introduced – a concept that makes the distinction between externally directed and self-directed participation. We consider the factors that facilitate or constrain participation in group projects and decision-making. In particular, we consider the issue of who has power and control, highlighting the effects of gender, ethnic and other factors.Delegates at the workshop for Youth Ambassadors for Positive Living (YAPL) held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, from 5 to 9 May 2004.

The term ‘empowerment’ is examined and analysed. We advocate working with democratic styles of leadership – particularly through consensual processes – to encourage youth empowerment. Finally, this unit describes the main features and principles of consensual decision-making. It will take you roughly 5 hours to review and reflect on the material in this unit.