Youth mainstreaming

Not to be confused with Mainstreaming (education), which focuses on students with special needs.

Youth mainstreaming is a public policy concept. The Commonwealth of Nations describes it in this context:[1]

National youth development is often the sole responsibility of the government ministry or department where the youth portfolio lies, whereas youth issues should be mainstreamed across various sectors and line ministries such as health, finance, economic development, housing, justice, foreign affairs, education, and agriculture.

It is modeled on gender mainstreaming, which the United Nations defined in the 1990s as:[2]

the process of assessing the implications for women and men of any planned action, including legislation, policies or programmes, in all areas and at all levels. It is a strategy for making women's as well as men's concerns and experiences an integral dimension of the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programmes in all political, economic and societal spheres so that women and men benefit equally and inequality is not perpetuated.


Youth mainstreaming is a two-fold strategy for pursuing youth development. Inspired by the experience of gender mainstreaming, it involves ensuring youth is reflected in policy and project stages in various sectors and ensuring there are specific projects addressing youth. Together these add up to a youth responsive approach.

By reflecting, addressing, being sensitive to, and being responsive to youth issues, mainstreaming is meant to both looking at the impact of a policy/project on young women and men, and involve young men and women in order to ensure youth participation in the decision-making of those policies and/or projects that affects them.

Advocates of youth mainstreaming point out that young people represent a disadvantaged and marginalised social group, being over-represented among the global poor and unemployed. As such it is argued that "pro-poor" strategies must be "pro-youth", and that any development intervention seeking sustainable impact must address the youth cohort.


The purposes of youth mainstreaming include:


The basic steps in youth mainstreaming are to factor youth impacts and youth participation into all stages of a project, of whatever size and sector:

The steps that institutions can take toward youth mainstreaming are:

Essential questions

  1. Are young women and men part of the target population?
  2. Will the situation analysis disaggregate data by age-group as well as gender, socio-economic, ethnic group etc?
  3. Have existing youth structures (e.g. National Youth Councils, youth NGOs and youth clubs, secondary schools, colleges) been consulted as part of background research?
  4. Will young people be given a role in conducting the Situation Analysis?
  5. Will young people’s views be canvassed and taken into account when setting goals and objectives?
  6. Do young people fall under the general goals and objectives?
  7. Are there youth-specific goals and objectives?
  8. What are the youth-specific line items in the budget? Will control over any of the budget be shared with/delegated to young people?
  9. What are the youth-specific activities likely to be?
  10. How is flexibility built into the project design, so that young people’s decision-making will be given expression?
  11. What are the youth-specific performance indicators?
  12. How will young people be involved in monitoring and evaluation?

See also

External links


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