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Title: Youth participation : The influence of approaches and setting on youths experiences in South Africa
Author: Phaswana, Edith
ISNI:       0000 0004 2679 7273
Awarding Body: London South Bank University
Current Institution: London South Bank University
Date of Award: 2008
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Youth participation as a theoretical, practical and policy approach is increasing globally. This thesis examines the experiences of elected youth leaders' participating in three selected settings (school councils, youth councils and youth organisations) in Limpopo Province, South Africa. The objectives of the study were to explore different projects (activities) and approaches (ways of involving youth) taken to participation; and to investigate the influence of approaches and settings (the environment where youth participate) on youths' experiences. A qualitative interpretive approach was adopted to conduct this research. Twenty-two indepth interviews and five focus group discussions were held with a purposively selected sample of elected youth leaders aged 15-34 years in Limpopo, South Africa. Additional interviews were done with staff members who worked directly with the youth leaders. To explore the approaches, a model suggesting possible approaches to participation was adapted and used to tease out various approaches at the study site. By focussing on a specific project, alternative approaches were identified across the sample: youth autonomy, adultyouth partnerships, youth-led collaboration and adult-led collaboration. When youth leaders reflected on their experiences, it was apparent that an opportunity for social learning was created, and this had a positive impact on them. However, there were relational experiences across all settings that are likely to affect youth in a negative way. Their observations of, and encounters with, different adults within these settings challenge professionals working with youth to review their practices. The findings also provide an insight into the setting-specific challenges that need to be taken into account to promote meaningful engagement of youth. The study contributes to the field of community youth development by providing empirical evidence of the importance of institutional characteristics that need to be taken into account in programme action. Youth leaders' accounts add to literature on youth participation by providing an alternative (youth) perspective of participation practices and experiences in a developing country context. This perspective emphasises how traditional notions of being young clashes with the principles of youth participation. Contextual factors are also likely to constrain meaningful engagement of youth in this context.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available