Contributing to Society
Increasing young people’s agency by building their capacity and opportunities to drive change on the issues that matter to them most
*Agency is the ability to act, to be actively involved in shaping one’s future. Agency is what young people have when they feel in control of the things that happen around them. When they are able to make choices and decisions to influence events and have an impact on their world.
- More organisations genuinely embed youth voices in their work
- Young people are equipped and connected to shape better futures
- A greater diversity and representation of young people influence decisions that affect and matter to them
WHY ‘Contributing to Society’?
Young people want to make a difference and see their impact on the world. However, they often feel undervalued and sidelined from decisions on the policies and practices that affect their lives. The young people most impacted by compounding challenges and government policy are traditionally the groups that are most under-represented.
By recognising young people as experts in their own lives, we value and encourage their contributions to society. Moreover, evidence tells us that when communities and institutions listen to and engage young people’s expertise, they do a better job of keeping up with the rapid pace of change and design more fit-for-purpose services and practices.
However, youth-led organisations that seek to increase the visibility and capacity of young people are chronically under-funded and typically rely on teams of passionate young volunteers balancing work and study commitments. Youth-focused organisations and services need resources and systems in place to listen and respond to the needs and priorities of young people.
We see real opportunity in building young people’s skills, capacity and networks to create change and increase their representation and participation in all aspects of society. To enable young people to tell their own stories, engage their peers and lead their communities, meaning young people’s voices have more power and impact.
We seek to prioritise work that is youth led, co-designed and/or actively incorporates the voices of young people from design to delivery. We value initiatives that take a strengths-based approach and harness young people’s insights and lived experience.
We particularly seek to build representation of young people from rural and regional, culturally and linguistically diverse and First Nations backgrounds.
The following are examples of the types of activities that VFFF supports in this funding area to achieve priority outcomes:
- Resourcing organisations to better listen and respond to young people’s concerns and ideas
- Giving young people a ‘seat at the table’ within decision-making bodies
- Supporting peer-to-peer leadership programs
- Connecting young people to tackle issues that affect and matter to them
- Increasing young people’s democratic engagement and civic participation
- Creating space for young people to tell their own stories and use their voice.
“In strengthening a spirit of unity - in the family, the nation and beyond - young people have an essential part to play, and their enthusiasm needs to be used to the full. To help them appreciate their responsibilities to society, both in work and in leisure, and to guide their enthusiasm towards improving the quality of life, not only for themselves but also for others and for future generations, will serve well the whole community and the nation.”
Sir Vincent Fairfax
94th Annual Meeting of the Boys’ Brigade (Inc.), 3 December 1976
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Little Dreamers - Building Capacity to Respond to Increased Demand
Youth Insearch - Strengthening Youth Insearch's Young Leaders Model
Outloud Inc - Capacity-Building SupportThe Nest Community - The Nest Exchange Project
Deadly Inspiring Youth Doing Good - The DIYDG Home
Youth Action - The Youth Action Throughcare Initiative
The Man Cave - Supporting Healthier Masculinities NSW
Traction - Building Young People's Capacity for Leading Self Leading Others