Youth Work Week
Empowering Young People through Sport and Arts
7–13 November 2016
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What is Youth Work Week? 1
Youth Work in the Commonwealth 2
Commonwealth Youth Worker Awards 6
Ideas: Youth Work Week Events 7
Social media tips 9
Case Study Template 11
Press Release Template 13
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What is Youth
Youth Work Week celebrates the contribution and achievements of youth workers,
youth organisations and young people throughout the Commonwealth. We are
pleased to announce that for the fifth year running we will be celebrating Youth
Work Week across the Commonwealth, from 7–13 November 2016.
The Commonwealth, in partnership with the Commonwealth Alliance of Youth
Workers Associations and Commonwealth Youth Council, will be promoting
Youth Work Week 2016 to provide youth ministries, organisations, networks and
individuals with an opportunity to highlight the excellent work they do with young
people locally, nationally and internationally.
The theme for this year is Empowering Young People through Sport and Arts.
The Commonwealth encourages organisations to focus their events around this
theme where possible. During Youth Work Week youth groups and projects all
over the Commonwealth will be increasing the awareness and profile of youth
work. Their activities are organised locally by youth services, ministries, youth
organisations, youth leaders or other stakeholders in celebration of Youth Work
Week, and are entirely implemented and funded by the participating organisations.
Youth Work Week is a chance to highlight the contribution of youth work to the
development of young people and to turn public attention towards the positive
roles youth workers play in their communities. Groups and organisations are invited
to use the week to promote their work with young people. The Youth Work Week
campaign aims to highlight the role of youth work in supporting young people to
understand more about themselves, others and society, and equip them with skills
to operate in the wider world.
Since 2012, we have seen growing support for Youth Work Week. Youth workers
in Commonwealth countries have set up committees to consult on the role and
contributions of youth work to national development. Some hold recognition
ceremonies for outstanding youth workers, while others conduct conferences,
displays and performances, which often involve hundreds of young people.
For some groups the focus has been on providing new opportunities to young
people, while others focus on raising the profile of youth work to the general
public through the media. Some groups also target their messages to members
of parliaments and other political leaders. All of these activities are spearheaded
by ministries and departments of youth, national youth workers’ associations, or
informal collectives of youth workers and youth leaders.
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Youth Work in
The Commonwealth Youth Programme continues to prioritise youth work
professionalisation, and has executed a number of plans to support and raise the
profile of youth workers.
• Joint hosting of the second Commonwealth Conference on Youth Work, in
collaboration with the Government of South Africa and the University of South
Africa in March 2016.
• Formulation of a Commonwealth Youth Work Qualifications Consortium, in
partnership with the Commonwealth of Learning and University of West Indies
in Jamaica, which provides the opportunity for a virtual platform that will offer a
diploma and degree qualification in youth work.
• Creation of the Commonwealth Alliance of Youth Worker Associations
(CAYWA) as a collective of youth worker associations from across the
Commonwealth who are committed to raising the standard and status of youth
work by connecting, strengthening and championing the professionalisation of
the youth work sector.
The Commonwealth Youth Division will further plans to facilitate better networking
between youth workers, so you can share your good practices and reflect on your
contribution to supporting young people.
We look forward to hearing from you and seeing how you are celebrating Youth Work
Week this year.
With the introduction of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and with 15 years
to achieve tangible progress on the agreed targets, the role and contribution of
young people has become a recurrent theme for discussion within the youth sector.
This year’s International Youth Day, for example, is about focuses on the leading role
of young people in achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The Commonwealth has long advocated for the engagement and empowerment
of young people as a critical step in enhancing their contribution to development
outcomes. Within that context, the contribution and continued relevance of youth
workers becomes an important issue for consideration within the wider discourse
on youth involvement in the sustainable development. Given that the overall aim
of youth work is to enhance the life experience of young people and enhance their
contribution to society as active, involved, useful and valued citizens, we must
conclude that the contribution of youth workers today is as important as it has
ever been in history. This Commonwealth Youth Work theme seeks to highlight
the central purpose of youth work as defined in the CYP Diploma’s tutor training
manual “...to empower young people to play an assertive and constructive role in
the strengthening and regeneration of their communities” 1 .
The Commonwealth’s Plan of Action for Youth Empowerment presents two equally
reinforcing perspectives on youth empowerment:
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1. Young people are empowered when they acknowledge that they have or can
create choices in life, are aware of the implications of those choices, make
an informed decision freely, take action based on that decision and accept
responsibility for the consequences of those actions;
2. Empowering young people means creating and supporting the enabling
conditions under which young people can act on their own behalf, and on their
own terms, rather than at the direction of others. These enabling conditions fall
into four broad categories:
i. an economic and social base;
political will, adequate resource allocation and supportive legal and
a stable environment of equality, peace and democracy; and
iv. access to knowledge, information and skills, and a positive value system. 2
Empowerment therefore can be seen as both an end and a means. The social,
political and economic empowerment of young people has been at the centre of
the Commonwealth’s youth work for over 40 years, as articulated in the 13 priority
actions of the Plan of Action for Youth Empowerment. Through this experience, the
Commonwealth recognises the connection and interactions between empowered
young people, governments, collaboration between stakeholders, and facilitating
enabling conditions for young people as critical aspects in the dynamic cycle of
Theme Youth Work Week 2016:
Empowering Young People Through Sport and Arts
Youth work is a very diverse profession not only in terms of social tasks and
employment situations, but also in the tools, methodologies and strategies
employed in engaging with young people. Youth empowerment through sport
and arts will be the focus of the Commonwealth Youth Work theme in 2016.
Through this theme, the Commonwealth will highlight some of the ‘out of the box’
approaches to positive youth development.
Across the Commonwealth, youth workers intentionally employ sport and arts
programmes as part of the youth empowerment strategy linking individual/personal
growth to wider social responsibilities. As young people participate in these
programmes they build personal, social and intellectual capacities that enhance
their contribution in the home, school, community, country and the wider world.
The impact and contribution of these programme at the individual or community
level should not be understated.
This year’s Commonwealth Youth Work Week campaign will showcase the value
of sport and arts programmes and approaches in working with young people. The
contributions of sport and arts in youth empowerment are listed below:
• The contribution of sport and arts in promoting social-emotional learning.
The arts are especially powerful vehicles because they appeal to all abilities and
cultures, and create a level playing field whereby background (socio-economic,
educational, etc) becomes irrelevant.
• The use of sport and arts in developing leaders and enhancing youth
participation in the community. These programmes inspire and instil the
belief that as a young person it is possible to achieve, to create, to become,
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1. Antigua and Barbuda
3. The Bahamas
8. Brunei Darussalam
30. New Zealand
33. Papua New Guinea
35. St Kitts and Nevis
36. St Lucia
37. St Vincent and
40. Sierra Leone
42. Solomon Islands
43. South Africa
44. Sri Lanka
47. Trinidad and Tobago
50. United Kingdom
51. United Republic
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to overcome. The vehicles of the arts and sport create a space for leaders to
emerge, youth voices to be amplified and for young people to test their own
capacity to transform the world around them.
• The value of sport and arts programmes in promoting social justice and
access for all. These empowerment programmes support young people’s
vision of the world they would like to live in and empower them to take steps
towards building/shaping that world. Sport and the arts programme curricula
supports the development of critical thinking skills, reflection and creates the
space for freedom of expression about their community.
• The opportunity provided by sport and arts in enhancing the economic
empowerment of young people. With the growth and expansion of sport and
the creative sectors, the role of media (particularly social media), the link to
culture and lifestyle, there is a growing opportunity to link the risk taking and
creativity in empowerment programmes to entrepreneurship.
• The vision of sport and arts programmes to building partnerships that will
work to achieve development goals and targets. The youth workers in this
sector have been raising awareness on development issues, with the growing
focus on development today. There is an opportunity for youth workers in
this space to work together, pool resources, advocate for policy change and
collaborate around the new global agenda for sustainable development.
Commonwealth Member States
The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 53 nations (see map opposite),
supporting each other and working together towards shared goals in democracy
and development. There are two billion people living in Commonwealth nations,
over half of whom are under 25.
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The Commonwealth Youth Work Awards celebrate the achievements of some of
the most inspiring people – those who transform the lives of young people and the
communities in which they live.
In 2016 the Commonwealth Youth Programme is again welcoming nominations for
the Commonwealth Youth Work Awards from young people, youth organisations,
youth workers and statutory organisations. Nominate youth workers who are
passionate about their work, and who have made a great contribution both to the
young people and to the communities they work in.
The application forms to enter nominations from your country and community
can be found on the Commonwealth Website http://thecommonwealth.org/
deadline for applications is 31 August 2016, with the exception for entries that are in
progress for submission.
If you have any queries about Youth Work Week 2016 please email Ms. Sina Mario on
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Ideas: Youth Work
Here is a list of event ideas you can hold in your country or community as part
of Youth Work Week. Some of these will vary in popularity and relevance from
country to country, however we hope there’s something for everyone! Remember
to contact your local media and local politicians or people of authority – this is a
chance to highlight the impact and importance of youth work in your country!
1. Nominate your 2016 Outstanding Youth Worker for the Commonwealth Youth
Worker of the Year Award via this link https://commonwealth-youthworkers.
Workshops and Meetings
2. Use the theme! Run a workshop or training session by using the value and
principles of youth work through sport and arts to link young people’s individual
personal growth to wider social and civic engagement.
3. Hold a workshop, conference or consultation with stakeholders on the
contribution of youth work to national development, which may include the use
of sport and arts. These workshops can include intergenerational dialogue and
engage different stakeholders around youth work.
4. Use the Commonwealth Youth Division’s Youth Work Resources to discuss or
set up a National Youth Worker Association.
5. Organise a meeting with the Minister of Youth, or other senior officials to
discuss the main youth work issues in your country.
6. Hold performing arts workshops e.g. filming, radio presenting, music
skills – singing or instrumental (guitars, drums etc.), DJing, electronic music
production, stage theatre, dance – hip hop, jazz, contemporary.
7. Visual arts workshops e.g. murals, screen printing, Badge making, 2D
(painting/drawing), fashion, digital, photography.
Setting up/Strengthening Youth Work bodies
8. The countries that have already begun setting up youth work bodies could
conduct a consultation on establishing Codes of Ethics that guide youth work
professionals. The Commonwealth has a guide that you may use for this -
Guiding Framework: A Draft Code of Ethical Practice for Youth Workers.
9. Hold a national youth worker recognition awards ceremony to promote
outstanding youth workers in your country. Publicise the outstanding youth
work taking place in the mainstream and social media.
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Research and Advocacy
10. Conduct research on the challenges facing youth workers in your country,
share your report with the Commonwealth Youth Division.
11. Write a case study on successful youth work projects in your country and
share it with the Commonwealth Youth Division. Remember to send photos
and video content that can also be shared with others.
12. Circulate the Commonwealth Code of Ethics ‘Guiding Framework: A Draft
Code of Ethical Practice for Youth Workers’; review and share your thoughts
on a Commonwealth Code of Ethics in Youth Work; develop your own national
Code of Ethics for Youth Work Professionals.
13. Organise a flash mob - brainstorm with local young people and arrange a
random flash mob, but keep the date and venue secret from the public. It
could be in the form of a dance in a highly crowded public place or a red carpet
at the bus stop and clap people off the bus. A flash mob is a group of people
who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform an act for a brief time, then
quickly disperse, often for the purposes of entertainment, satire, and artistic
expression. Flash mobs are organised via telecommunications, social media, or
14. Run a local youth event – this could be in the form or a competition, music
event or dance competition.
15. Run a social media campaign – use this as an opportunity to gain more
interest in your social media presence whether it’s on Facebook, Twitter or
blog sites. You can run a competition or do a poll around the theme, including
Commonwealth in the conversation, and build a profile by running an article,
competition, poll or question on each day of Youth Work Week. Don’t forget to
What are the Youth Work Resources?
A list of Commonwealth resources that you can adapt and use to set up any of the
event ideas for Youth Work Week. They include:
1. The Commonwealth Guide to advancing development through Sport.
2. The Commonwealth’s A 12-Step Guide to Establishing a Youth Worker
3. The Commonwealth Professional Youth Work, Concept and Strategies.
4. Guidance on developing Code of Ethics for Youth Workers and Youth Worker
Association which promotes enabling, empowering youth work.
5. Engaging Young People in National building, the youth workers’ role.
6. A practice based guide for youth facilitators, Co-Creating Youth Spaces.
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Social media tips
Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are the most popular social media platforms
currently in use, and the majority of young people will have accounts on or access
to these sites. These platforms are powerful tools that enable the sharing and
exchanging of ideas, perspectives and information.
Not only is social media an opportunity to increase your engagement with young
people, but it is also an opportunity to raise the profile of your work and/or your
organisation, as posts on social media are regularly picked up by media and quoted
in news stories. Here are some tips for maximising your social impact:
Targeting young people and stakeholders on social media
Twitter: Hashtags are the best way to track and sustain interaction with young
people. An effective way of using hashtags is to use existing ones that already have
followers. Start using the Commonwealth hashtag #cwyouthwork and share it with
your colleagues and followers so that they can become engaged in the conversation
around youth work.
Facebook: Make your status updates more engaging by including questions or raising
statements for discussion on the 2016 Youth Work Week theme – Empowering
Young People through Sport and Arts. You can also use Facebook to publicise your
events related to Youth Work Week, and to track similar activities that are being run by
Instagram: Photos can be powerful testimonials to the impact and reach of youth
work. Upload photos of yourself ‘in the field’ or interacting with youth stakeholders
to provide insight into your different projects. Short videos are also a great tool to
capture attention and spur interest in your work.
Tips to make a video log:
Making videos to showcase your work is easier than you think. Some assume that
you need to own a hi-tech camera and hire a professional, which doesn’t always
have to be the case. Most of the time, effective stories can be told simply by using
your mobile phone. Here are some tips to help you get started on vlogging:
1. Audio. Always do a ‘sound check’ to ensure that audio levels are sufficient.
Get your subject as close as you can to the microphone without sabotaging
the shot. Try to avoid noisy places or environments where there is a lot of
2. Lighting. Proper lighting is important. Whenever possible, take advantage of
natural light, but ensure that the lightning is consistent across your shots. Make
sure the source of the light is always behind the camera.
3. Positioning. Although the tendency may be to shoot with your phone in
an upright vertical position, remember that most video hosting platforms,
including YouTube and Vimeo, are designed to showcase horizontal/
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4. Balance. No one likes shaky shots! If you can afford it, invest in a tripod. If that’s
not an option, then use DIY methods such as building a makeshift tripod out of
a pile of books or lean against a wall to keep shakiness to a minimum.
5. Rule of thirds. Most photographers recommend using this rule. Instead of
placing your subject in the centre of the shot, divide your frame up like a tic-tactoe
board and place him/her at any of the intersecting lines.
But above all else, ensure that you have a clear idea of the message or narrative that
you want to get across. Without this in mind, no matter how good the quality of your
vlog, it won’t have the impact that you desire.
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Case Study Template
Real-life case study example
Press Release Template
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1. CYP Diploma in Youth Development, Module 3, page 25.
2. Commonwealth Plan of Action for Youth Empowerment
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London SW1Y 5HX