Exploring Factors Motivating and Hindering Youth Participation in Youth Development Programs in Ethiopia

2012-12-07T00:00:00Z (GMT) by Abebe A. Abate
The main focus of this research was exploring motivational and hindering factors for youth participation in structured youth development programs that are designed to fight poverty and HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia. This research design is a quantitative cross-sectional design that integrates three important scales in the field of youth development. The response from program staff and youth indicated that both groups have a more positive perception of their program commitment to the key principles of youth development with the exception that the scores of youth were slightly lower than the scores of program staff. The finding from program commitment to youth participation however indicated that the scores of youth to be lower by one level in a five level scale. The findings from the youth survey indicate that the major factor of youth motivation for program participation is related to meeting personal goals. When analyzed in the context of other variables, only years of schooling and program commitment to key principles of youth development were significantly related with youth motivation for participation in current program activities. The findings suggest that program staff need to redesign their program in a way that both risk and protective factors are integrated for a more positive program outcome on the lives of urban youth in Ethiopia. Moreover, programs need to conduct periodical self evaluation and design mechanisms to increase youth participation and make sure that youths participate to the level of youth sharing power and responsibilities for decision making throughout youth development program activities. These research findings should inform policy makers to help create a collaborative environment between adult and young people, and between governmental and non-governmental programs, as the main focus area of improvement. Another focus area that this research should inform is the importance of designing mechanisms to enhance family involvement into youth development programs. Moreover, the results of this research should encourage social work educators to incorporate youth issues in the social work curriculum, and show the need to conduct continued research to explore the perception of youths on participation in program activities in Ethiopia as well as world-wide.