Treat Youth As Assets, Not Problems
Guiding Principle for Good Youth Reproductive Health Policy
Policy should recognize and promote young people as a positive force for economic and social development, not exclusively as a problem group that must be addressed. Most laws and policies exist to control "bad" youth behavior. The reality is that much of the advocacy around youth reproductive health issues takes a negative approach by focusing on the risky behaviors (unprotected sex, drug abuse, violence, etc.) and on the negative consequences to society. While such an approach may be effective to mobilize policy makers and the public to take action, it does reinforce the image of young people as a problem to be solved. Thus, it is a challenge to write policy that recognizes the legitimate problems that young people and society face while also shining a positive light on young people and their capacity to get involved in the programs which target them.
International Youth Foundation. IYF is one of the leading proponents of the youth development approach, which helps young people develop fully into caring, committed, and connected people with the skills they need to succeed in life.
Q. How are YRH policies related to broader youth policies?
Youth policy looks at broader youth concerns, such as education, jobs, and healthy living. Youth reproductive health policy is a subset of these broader concerns. For more on youth policy, visit the web site of the International Council on National Youth Policy.