Youth Development

The UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre has a particular focus on research, evaluation and programme development activities in the area of Youth Development. Such interventions aim to enable young people to thrive and engage fully with their own development as well as that of their communities.

Our work in this area reflects the UNESCO Centre’s core principles of social support, resilience and children’s rights, while also embracing concepts such as participation, civic engagement and leadership.

Some of the themes evident in youth development programmes are:

  • A positive approach to promoting the well-being of young people;
  • A desire to enhance the social support available to young people, for example, through mentoring programmes involving adults or peers;
  • Building the resilience of young people by strengthening protective factors and minimising risk factors where possible;
  • A recognition of the potential for young people to take leadership roles and contribute to their communities;
  • Promoting the rights of young people;
  • Supporting youth organisations with the establishment of practices that promote best practice and enable reflection and evaluation of their work.

The UNESCO CFRC’s work in this area includes the following:

UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth & Civic Engagement

The UNESCO chair held by the CFRC has the objective of promoting civic engagement for children and youth by providing relevant expertise in research, teaching, policy and good practice. The Chair has created sustainable partnerships in Universities and organisations in Ireland, Northern Ireland, USA, New Zealand, Canada, Zambia and Czech Republic. 

Youth Mentoring

The UNESCO CFRC has undertaken a major programme of research in relation to youth mentoring in Ireland. This included a major mixed methods study of the Big Brother Big Sister community based mentoring programme in Ireland, incorporating

tyouthdevelopment_small.jpghe first randomised control trial conducted in a youth work setting in Ireland. The findings of this study, as well as additional studies and academic work in relation to youth mentoring, enhances our understanding of the outcomes and processes a ssociated with this approach.

A full list of UCFRC publications in relation to youth mentoring are available here

Foróige Partnership

Foróige, Ireland’s leading youth organisation, currently engages with over 50,000 young people throughout the country. The UNESCO CFRC has provided a range of research and evaluation supports to Foróige over recent years, which included the following:

A full list of UCFRC outputs in relation the Foróige partnership are available here.

Youth Cafés

A significant aspect of policy development for young people over the past decade has been the development of youth cafés. Commissioned by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, the UNESCO CFRC has:

Youth as Researchers

The UNESCO CFRC, with the support of its patron Cillian Murphy, is committed to the development of young people’s capacity to undertake and / or participate actively in research. Activities to date have included the following:

  • Production of a training manual and workbook for young researchers;
  • Provision of training and support to 40 young people throughout Ireland to undertake research studies;
  • Production of video resources to disseminate research findings.

Key Resources