Connecting Youth Rights and Youth Involvement

There is a moral imperative inherent in youth rights and youth involvement. Rather than seeing the situation as a purely charitable consideration, or a civic responsibility, I believe it is a soul-wrenching mistake to deny young people the full rights of citizenship, effectively making them second class citizenry. That’s because denying anyone is wrong.

It is from this place that I want to propose an economic strategy to bring awareness and conscientiousness to the related, but not identical, movements for youth rights and youth involvement. The youth rights movement is primarily concerned with securing more civil rights for youth – the rights to voting, better education, etc. The youth involvement movement focuses on the same, but more along the lines of systemic integration that focuses on more youth councils, more youth forums, youth research, youth teachers, etc. The commonality between these two movements is that they both focus on participatory rights for young people, rather than the right to protection, which is what many old-line children’s rights organizations focus on.

Because of this commonality of these efforts I propose that the connection between these two movements be made more explicit and drawn more acutely. This would mean identifying the key principles that connect the two arenas connection, and drawing out the opportunities for collaboration and communication.

Later I will post a draft set of principles I am proposing in order to begin this dialog. I’d love to know what you think!

Written by Adam Fletcher, this article was originally posted to Learn more at!

Published by Adam

For almost two decades, Adam F. C. Fletcher has led international outreach focused on engaging people successfully. Working with thousands of youth-serving nonprofits, K-12 schools, government agencies, international NGOs and other organizations around the world, his work spans the fields of education, public health, economic development and social services, and includes professional development, public speaking, publishing, social media and more. He founded the Freechild Institute for Youth Engagement, SoundOut and CommonAction, as well as writing more than 50 publications and 500 articles. He has also established 150-plus community empowerment projects.

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