Home > Evaluation of work with marginalised youth.

Keane, Martin (2009) Evaluation of work with marginalised youth. Drugnet Ireland, Issue 30, Summer 2009, pp. 16-17.

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The Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (OMCYA) established an Inclusion Programme in December 2007 aimed at engaging margnalised young people in 'youth participation structures and processes'. Seven organisations were allocated funding to support such involvement by the young people they represented.  An independent evaluation of the first year of the Inclusion Programme has now been published.1

 The seven participating organisations and the number of participants from each organisation involved in the Inclusion Programme and other youth participation projects are shown in Table 1. Grants were offered to these organisations so that they could help young people become involved in structures such as the Children and Young People's Forum (CYPF)2 and Comhairle na nÓg.3 These structures provide a mechanism whereby the views of young people are sought on issues relevant to them, such as recreation policy and youth cafés.
Programme evaluation and data collection methods
Site visits were made to six of the organisations and the evaluator conducted face-to-face interviews and a number of telephone interviews with key stakeholders in all seven organisations, including 21 young people, and 11 adults who were youth leaders, project leaders, steering committee representatives or directors of the organisations. Each organisation submitted two progress reports during the first year of operation.
 Level of participation by young people
Sixty-eight young people were involved in projects specifically relating to the Inclusion Programme and a further 18 were involved in other youth participation structures. More than half of the total number is accounted for by the high numbers attending the Ferns Diocesan Youth Service in Wexford. The evaluator states that the numbers involved are a 'simple and important criterion' of success; however, it must be noted that in most cases the numbers were small. This may reflect the 'bedding down' time it takes to initiate this type of intervention and to attract marginalised young people.
 Key findings from evaluation
The young people interviewed identified the benefits of participation in the Inclusion Programme and other youth participation projects in terms of opportunities - to get involved; to have a voice; to make new friends and understand different points of view; to improve personal skills, such as communication, confidence and team working; and to feel a sense of achievement.  The evaluation notes that the personal stories of the young people are testament to a programme that was well organised, well supported and meaningful and the ultimate benefit was that young people felt empowered and valued in the projects, as reflected in comments such as: 'you are not judged on your background' and ' people don't treat you differently'.
 The evaluator states that the achievements of this programme represent progress in a short space of time. However, continued commitment and drive is required from the OMCYA and participating organisations to ensure that young marginalised people continue to benefit from engaging in youth participation structures, and that such structures benefit from integrating the views of young people on issues affecting their lives.
1.McEvoy O (2009) Evaluation report on the inclusion programme. Dublin: Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs.
2. The Children and Young People's Forum (CYPF) was established in 2004 to advise the OMCYA and the Minister for Children on issues of concern to children and young people. Thirty 12-18-year-olds from all over the country participate in the Forum.
3. Comhairle na nÓg is a network of local youth councils which give children and young people the opportunity to be involved in the development of local services and policies.
Item Type
Publication Type
Drug Type
All substances
Intervention Type
Prevention, Harm reduction, Education and training
Issue Title
Issue 30, Summer 2009
Page Range
pp. 16-17
Health Research Board
Issue 30, Summer 2009
Accession Number
HRB (Available)

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