The goal of this guide is to support youth (and you!) to create more inclusive projects with a greater impact across our communities and the world.
This toolkit will support youth and organizations in making their program and project planning processes more inclusive to communities across the globe, while also taking a look at how these processes can be carefully considered when implementing the SDGs.
Organizations design and deliver programs in order to impact the communities and individuals they're working alongside. While most projects do their best to account for the diversity of its beneficiaries, there has been a movement to continue the process of ensuring programs are meeting the needs of the diverse communities and groups we serve.
The movement toward designing more inclusive programs seeks to support meaningful inclusion of youth who, for a variety of reasons, may experience unique barriers to access and participation in community programs.
In addition, it's not always possible that a project will have staff that reflect the many identities and unique experiences of program participants. This means that in order to start designing and planning more inclusive programs, it's important to begin challenging our existing perceptions and ideas around what our beneficiaries may need or want from our programs. In many cases this may mean your project will need to seek direct input from the participants themselves.
Allowing feedback and input from participants ensures programs and projects are remaining adaptable and are also able to collect ongoing feedback as their unique needs change over time - this is especially the case in reaching the needs of "youth on the margins".
In the context of this toolkit we use "youth on the margins" to refer to young people that belong to an identity or community group that experience distinct barriers and disadvantages in the broader society they live and work in. These aspects of their lives may also create unique barriers to accessing programs that are intended to serve them. Some examples of these identity groups include labels and statuses around disability, ethnicity, newcomer/refugee, sexual orientation, gender identity, race, language, and geographic location. Sometimes these identities intersect and create multiple layers of barriers.
Not only can these characteristics impact someone's access to a program, but it can also influence the way they experience and participate in your programs. For example, is the space you're using accessible for those with physical disabilities, do your activities account for those with differing levels of education or learning styles and abilities?
These are only a few of the questions that need to be asked as you go through the design process of your program. These questions begin to get more complex as we take the intersections of identities into account.
Designing inclusive programs requires us to fully acknowledge the unique identities our participants carry. While every person around the world has different aspects of their identity, many of the youth accessing our programs have multiple parts of their identity that experience disadvantages. We can call these disadvantages discrimination or oppression.
The SDGs touch upon themes that impact a variety of diverse groups across the globe.
In order to reach these goals by 2030, organizations/CSOs must be able to take into consideration the unique identities and needs of youth accessing their programs.
It is necessary to begin challenging our automatic perceptions of what people need and to include and empower them in the design process to ensure their voices are heard and their needs are accommodated.
Furthest behind first – the SDGs aim to improve the lives of individuals who are currently most in need of assistance, whether that is within or across countries and populations.
Now that we have explored some background about the SDGs and inclusive design, let's explore how projects happen:
There are several tools to help you plan and implement your project:
Business model canvas
Having a core team of people to support you is vital to your success. Not only do they bring much-needed skills and expertise to the table, but they can also help to carry your message forward!
When building a team, consider the following aspects: