YPAR (Youth-led Participatory Action Research) is an innovative approach to positive youth and community development based in social justice principles in which young people are trained to conduct systematic research to improve their lives, their communities, and the institutions intended to serve them. YPAR is a cyclical process of learning and action research is done not just for he sake of it but to inform solutions to problems that young people themselves care about. YPAR can be useful for any young people wanting to make a difference, and is an especially powerful approach for young people who are experiencing marginalization due to racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, classism, ableism, or other forms of oppression,.
YPAR CAN HELP TO:
- Redefine who has the expertise to produce knowledge and create change in our communities. It's not just the professional researchers, but the young people surviving and thriving through the issues.
- Provide skills of inquiry, evidence, and presentation that are important to the development of students as leaders and change agents.
- Generate findings that provide insight into the issues young people face as well as the resources and support to help them address those issues.
- Develop each young person's worth and voice within the sociopolitical world and empowers them to take action.
- Evaluate programs, policies, and practices that affect young people and our future.
FOUR STEPS TO MAKING THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE
Adult allies guide youth through the four steps below and act as a resource; however, projects are all youth-led.
1. A PARTNERSHIP
Before tackling on community issues and changing the world, you must first understand the expected roles and relationship between YPAR youth and adult allies.
2. DEFINE THE ISSUE
There are an array of challenges that stand between us and the future we hope to create. YPAR provides the framework for your team to determine the issue you intend to address.
Now that your team has agreed to an issue, it's time to go out and collect, then analyze information around the issue. This information collection will help determine your action plan.
4. MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE
With a clear understanding of the issue through data and experience, you are now ready to plot your course of action and start to positively impact the community.