AYAC Youth Led Inclusion Project Wraps Up!

As part of its core work, AYAC is committed to building capacity of young people partly by championing and investing in youth led organisations.  We want to help ensure that the youth led sector is supported and resourced to make a genuine and lasting contribution to Australian society. Youth led organisations told us they wanted to widen their membership and reach to ‘disadvantaged’ young people but did not currently have the capacity to engage these groups.

In January, AYAC launched the ‘Inclusion Project’ and invited youth led organisations to apply for one-off grants for projects that directly engage and build the capacity of young people facing disadvantage.  We asked them to come up with innovative, creative ideas which trial new ways of engaging new groups of young people.

In 2012, AYAC provided funding for several projects run by Top Blokes, The Australian Youth Climate Coalition and the Left Right Think Tank.

Highlights from the Inclusion Project

Youth led participants reported many positive lessons and experiences during the Inclusion Project:

“Building networks with many government and non-government organisations was the most useful outcome of the project. In following campaigns we will be able to build partnerships from the connections we have made.”

“A greater understanding of indigenous youth from the organisations we consulted with to improve our approach has also been rewarding.”

“The importance of sport and music in connecting with indigenous youth was something we hadn’t considered previously.”

“A highlight of the project overall was seeing an incredible expansion of engagement with young people in regional areas.”

“It was inspiring to see young people become engaged with the issue of climate change and start to action from petitioning to meeting with a politician, running a stall or re-powering a business in their town with renewable energy.”

“This project has definitely given us the skills and experience to engage rural and remote young people in the future. This is because we learned a lot about what can go wrong and how to approach such a project differently.”

“All the participants telling us that they would love to continue volunteering with us and that ‘this doesn’t even feel like volunteering’.”

“Having The Project on Channel 10 ask if they can come film us.”

“We have learned that the most effective strategy to engage disadvantaged young people will be positive peer influence.”

What next?

AYAC wants to share these experiences with all youth led organisations so that more marginalised young people will have the opportunity to develop their abilities through the valuable experience of volunteering in the youth led movement.   All the youth led organisations that participated in the Inclusion Project have created useful resources based on their learnings, so that other youth leds can learn from their experiences.

If you want to find about how these youth leds trialled new ways of engaging disadvantaged young people, go to www.youthled.org.au (launching October 2012) for Inclusion Project resources.

Click here to read more about the Inclusion Project.