Youth Agency, Inclusion & Development
Youth Agency, Inclusion and Development
The UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre has a particular focus on research, evaluation and programme development activities that concern young people. Our research and policy concern is how youth can be supported to exercise greater agency within their lives, how a stronger sense of inclusion can be fostered by those with influence and how meaningful developmental outcomes can be actively promoted. Our work in this area reflects the UNESCO Centre’s core principles of social support, resilience and children’s rights, while also embracing concepts such as participation, civic engagement and leadership.
Our youth research to date has focused on the following:
- Evidence surrounding effective ‘approaches’ that policy makers and practitioners take and can adopt in working with youth.
- The nature of spaces and settings that shape young people’s experiences and offer meaningful engagement, from the formally arranged to their informal, everyday environments.
- Youth voice, advocacy and activism, including promoting meaningful participation of young people in the research process.
- Exploratory research in specific community contexts both within and outside of Ireland is a special aspect to our research.
Further work in this area:
The UNESCO CFRC has undertaken a major programme of research in relation to youth mentoring in Ireland. This included a major mixed methods study of the Big Brother Big Sister community based mentoring programme in Ireland, incorporating the first randomised control trial conducted in a youth work setting in Ireland. The findings of this study, as well as additional studies and academic work in relation to youth mentoring, enhances our understanding of the outcomes and processes associated with this approach. For more information please visit our publications page here or visit Foroige's website on the Big Brother Big Sister Programme here.
Foróige, Ireland’s leading youth organisation, currently engages with over 50,000 young people throughout the country. The UNESCO CFRC has provided a range of research and evaluation supports to Foróige over recent years, which included the following:
- Research and evaluation studies –including the The Youth Citizenship programme, and the Volunteer Led Model of Youth Work;
- Developing An Evaluation Resource and training for Foróige staff;
- Hosted three Research and Practice Talking events in 2014 - research findings and innovative practice among youth workers were shared with over 240 Foróige staff.
A full list of UCFRC outputs in relation the Foróige partnership are also available here.
A significant aspect of policy development for young people over the past decade has been the development of youth cafés. Commissioned by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, the UNESCO CFRC has:
- Produced a Youth Cafe toolkit 2010 and Youth Cafe Best Practice Guide 2010 to support the running of youth cafés;
- Conducted an Irish Research Council funded study of the of the operational profile and perceived benefits of the youth café model in Ireland. Read more on this report here: Operational profile and exploration: Full Report.