Last month during the High-Level Meeting on Road Safety, we announced the launch of our Policymakers Toolkit – a document that will guide policymakers and decision-makers on how to meaningfully engage and involve young people. Meaningful youth engagement, particularly in road safety, is something we’ve championed since the very beginning. We believe that young people have a right to be involved in the issues that most affect their lives.
Talking about meaningful youth participation
Our Toolkit highlights that meaningful youth participation happens when youth experiences, youth ideas, youth expertise, and youth perspectives are integrated into institutions that support the development and implementation of programs, policies, and decision-making efforts.
To effectively engage with youth, three mechanisms need to come together; mindset, way of thinking, and commitment. To begin the process of meaningful youth participation, a fundamental shift in perception of the role of young people in society must occur. Under mindset, society, especially leaders and policymakers need to change its bias and view young people as politically credible and as experts of their own.
In terms of the way of working, all sectors of society must come together to systematically integrate meaningful youth participation within policymaking and decision-making structures as a cycle of continuous relationship building. Successful integration would mean taking a multi-method approach so that young people can choose the best way they could participate.
The final mechanism talks about commitment and investment. For leaders, decision-makers, and policymakers, it poses the question; “how far are you prepared to go?” Commitment and investment will rely on how societies, organizations, and governments sustain and follow up the integration of meaningful youth participation.
Our Toolkit provides examples of how young people are already taking action and how they are ready to work hand-in-hand with local and global leaders to address the road safety crisis.
What you can find in the Toolkit
Our upcoming Toolkit also emphasizes points on why it’s so important to meaningfully involve youth in the decision-making and policymaking processes. It cites how youth are recognized as key stakeholders in the Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021-2030 and how they should be recognized in both formal and informal spaces of the policymaking process.
To support this, our Toolkit provides the following resources; a model for meaningful youth participation, a road map to develop meaningful youth participation, a self-assessment scorecard, and some case studies to use as additional guides.
The model and road map to develop meaningful youth participation provide reflective questions that will guide policymakers and leaders through each step of building a cycle of inclusive youth participation. The scorecard, on the other hand, provides a tool to score the current work an organization is doing with youth while at the same time tracking the progress of the efforts to meaningfully involve youth.
Finally, the case studies will show examples of how the different aspects of the road map are used in programs that result in beneficial outcomes for the organization. It also provides insights directly from young people on why they should be engaged.
Our Policymaker’s Toolkit is still being finalized but we will send word as soon as it is out!