National youth development is often the sole responsibility of the government ministry or department where the youth portfolio lies, whereas youth issues should be mainstreamed across various sectors and line ministries such as health, finance, economic development, housing, justice, foreign affairs, education, and agriculture.
the process of assessing the implications for women and men of any planned action, including legislation, policies or programmes, in all areas and at all levels. It is a strategy for making women's as well as men's concerns and experiences an integral dimension of the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programmes in all political, economic and societal spheres so that women and men benefit equally and inequality is not perpetuated.
Youth mainstreaming is a two-fold strategy for pursuing youth development. Inspired by the experience of gender mainstreaming, it involves ensuring youth is reflected in policy and project stages in various sectors and ensuring there are specific projects addressing youth. Together these add up to a youth responsive approach.
By reflecting, addressing, being sensitive to, and being responsive to youth issues, mainstreaming is meant to both looking at the impact of a policy/project on young women and men, and involve young men and women in order to ensure youth participation in the decision-making of those policies and/or projects that affects them.
Advocates of youth mainstreaming point out that young people represent a disadvantaged and marginalised social group, being over-represented among the global poor and unemployed. As such it is argued that "pro-poor" strategies must be "pro-youth", and that any development intervention seeking sustainable impact must address the youth cohort.
The basic steps in youth mainstreaming are to factor youth impacts and youth participation into all stages of a project, of whatever size and sector:
Situation Analysis: Young women and men’s condition and position need to be researched. Young people can act as peer researchers, informants in the process.
Planning: Young people should be a target population, and young people’s views and aspirations should be taken into account.
Implementation of Activities: Young people should be maximally involved, consistent with their informed consent and their education, livelihoods and leisure needs.
Monitoring and Evaluation: There should be youth-specific indicators, including those related to the quantity and quality of youth participation in the project. M&E should also involve asking young people’s view of how much progress has been made and what the challenges are.
Budgeting: Specific line items should cover youth-specific activities and the mechanisms to be put in place to secure their participation in all stages of the project.
The steps that institutions can take toward youth mainstreaming are:
Capacity-building on youth mainstreaming
Designation of youth mainstreaming focal points within each department
Integration of youth mainstreaming in planning, budgeting and Monitoring and Evaluation procedures.