Youth Mainstreaming in Pacific Development: Challenges and Opportunities
Development outcomes are poor for young people in the Pacific and show little hope of improving without a concerted, collaborative effort. This research seeks to explore the concept and practice of youth mainstreaming (YM) and the challenges and opportunities for it in New Zealand-based development agencies as a means to achieve these better outcomes. Currently there is little scholarly literature about YM, particularly in the Pacific. This research employs a mixed methods methodology comprising four methods: a literature review, interviews with regional stakeholders based in the Pacific, an exploratory multi-case study of three New Zealand (NZ) development agencies and a questionnaire. The findings suggest that while youth are accounted for in the work of many NZ development agencies working in the Pacific, mainstreaming of youth perspectives is limited, often to youth-specific projects. Challenges to YM include a lack of staff knowledge and skills in YM, a lack of knowledge about youth development and limited resources. However, despite these challenges, there is willingness among New Zealand development agencies to learn about youth development and cooperate with each other. This is likely driven by the fact that youth development fits with a number of mandates, be they rights-based, community-based or focused on economic growth. This thesis provides some recommendations to NZ development agencies about how to mainstream youth in their operations. Ultimately, the aim of this thesis is to develop industry knowledge and dialogue about youth development in the Pacific and encourage greater inclusion of youth in development initiatives in the region.