Youth-Adult Partnerships

A Youth-Adult Partnership (YAP) is a partnership in which both young people and adults are equally involved and share power. They listen to each other, define the aims of the program or activity together, and share decision-making. Young people themselves can concretely address their issues and realities and can work on defining sustainable solutions together with adults. We believe that in positive YAPs, both the young people and the adults benefit, and that program outcomes will be more responsive towards young people’s needs – a real win-win situation for everyone involved!        

A term that is often confused with Youth-Adult partnerships, is meaningful youth participation (MYP)While MYP and YAPs go hand in hand, they are not the same thing. See here how CHOICE defines MYP and why MYP is important. 

So, what is the relationship between YAPs and MYP? Basically, YAPs are a form of MYP, and embody a partnership between young people and adults, where both parties have equal decision-making power (they are partners). Importantly, young people and adults are seen as equal partners, who mutually recognize the value and contribution of both parties. Both young people and adults are meaningfully involved at every step of the way, each bringing in their own unique expertise and skillset. Sticking to this definition, a YAP would always be associated with a MYP. However, as you can also see in the Flower of Participation, a YAP is one of six existing forms of MYP. 

Why this toolkit? 

In the programs CHOICE works on, YAPs form a key strategy to ensure MYP and in turn, successful program outcomes. However, research shows that even though structures are created to meaningfully involve young people in programs, young people do not always feel trusted by adults. They often also miss a safe space in which they can have open discussions and dialogues with adults, when it comes to YAPs.  

Motivated by these findings, CHOICE commissioned an explorative study to gain greater insight into the overall picture of YAPs within SRHR. One of the most relevant results from the study was that trust is crucial in the implementation of YAPs. In this toolkit, we want to provide some tips that can help you in the setting up or improvement of a YAP.