The definition is already in the name - youth-led advocacy is advocacy led by young people! This means that young people are meaningfully and inclusively involved in every aspect of the advocacy process – from selecting the issue, the audience, the advocacy strategies, to conducting advocacy themselves, and to monitoring and evaluating the successes and the areas for improvement.

Youth-led advocacy is important because it meaningfully and inclusively involves young people to ensure that their voices are heard and taken into account. When it comes to issues that concern young people directly, like a policy on sexuality education for example, then it is even more imperative that young people are involved meaningfully in order to ensure that advocacy strategies accurately reflect the needs and lived realities of young people in that context. Youth-led advocacy therefore also increases the effectiveness, reach, and legitimacy of advocacy strategies. Advocates are more likely to be taken seriously if they are seen as having a relevant constituency that supports their rights.

Youth-led advocacy can be initiated by young people or adults, and may involve a youth-adult partnership. The important distinction is that young people participate meaningfully, and that the advocacy agenda and methodologies are youth-led.