Where We Fall Short: Challenges in Sustaining Youth Engagement is a case study that highlights the challenges in sustaining youth engagement. Some of the factors that reduce opportunities to sustain youth engagement include: lack of participation needed to sustain the work and a lack of core operational support that makes leaders unable to access or efficiently use the monetary and community resources available.

“Sustaining organizations and initiatives that promote youth engagement, as well as sustaining youth engagement itself, is challenging. Young people are critical contributors to program design, service delivery, and evaluation. Yet initiatives face significant challenges in developing the stable resources and strong organizational structures and systems needed to sustain their work. Many initiatives show initial promise in their start-up phase, but they often fade away because they are unable to access or efficiently use the fiscal and community resources that could help them thrive”

[Institute for Community Research (ICR)]. 

SCIC’s Do-It-Yourself Media Camps were opportunities for youth to cultivate their creative expressions on international development and global justice issues. The goal was to train youth in do-it-yourself media like film making, comic books, drawing, drama, and theatre as activism. The camp took place over a weekend where youth were offered trainings on the creative media skills. Youth spent their time working on their creative media projects and nearing the end of the camp the youth compiled all of their material and published several zines. After the camp, they were prompted and expected to take part in the youth media spin-off project where they were to do a different media project. Without the prescriptive, immediate, and intentional support the youth were no longer engaged and did not complete the spin-off projects.

Related Challenges:

  • Lack of jobs in sector
  • Exclusivity of activist communities

Related principles of good practice:
Sustain youth engagement by developing meaningful connections and relationships.