Youth in Participatory Development at the Community Level

Grace-Ann Phidhelia Cornwall


The participatory development framework in this paper is set in the context of pro-poor development practices. This paradigm made popular by Chambers (1998) advocates the harnessing of people's energies and indigenous knowledge and expertise. It presents an opportunity for "conscienzation" of persons. This has the potential for minimizing the alienation of participants in the development process so that they take their future into their own hands.

Copious literature reviews have indicated that although youth are an asset to the development process, failure to incorporate them in the local and national planning processes have dire implications on sustainable human development.

The paper begins by presenting an overview of the benefits of participatory development and its importance to social policy. There is an examination of the concept of youth within an age-category and in its social context. This is followed by a discussion on youth in participatory development, the benefits to be derived and the factors that stymie the process of participation at the local level. The paper concludes by identifying policy implications and recommendations for sustaining youth participation in local development.

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