Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Exploring Factors Motivating and Hindering Youth Participation in Youth Development Programs in Ethiopia
by Abate, Abebe Assefa, Ph.D., University of Illinois at Chicago, 2011, 154; 3549906
Abstract (Summary)

This research explores motivational and hindering factors for youth participation in structured youth development programs in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. I used the Ethiopian Social Security and Developmental Policy definition of youth, which is similar to the definition of the United Nations. United Nations defined youth as persons between 15 to 24 years of age. Several youth development approaches exist or are emerging. Of these, three major models include the protective, preventive/deficit, and Positive Youth Development [PYD] approaches. The preventive/deficit model is the most commonly used approach to youth development both in Ethiopia and world-wide. In this approach, young people are primarily viewed in terms of the problems they have and how these problems can be addressed. In Ethiopia the Positive Youth Development (PYD) approach has recently come to be an alternative approach to the youth development programs. In 2004 the Ethiopian Ministry of Youth, Sport, and Culture (EMYSC) revised its approach in working with youth and introduced a more positive and asset based youth policy to guide youth development efforts in Ethiopia.

The Positive Youth Development approach is a new intervention model in Ethiopia as well as world-wide. A thorough study is needed of the Positive Youth Development approach in general and youth participation in particular in the field of youth development.

This research was designed in response to the felt need towards engaging young people in efforts of democratization and nation building in Ethiopia. The main focus of this research however was exploring motivational and hindering factors for youth participation in structured youth development programs that are designed to fight poverty and HIV/AIDS.

This research design is a quantitative cross-sectional design that integrates three important scales in the field of youth development. Mack (2006) provides eight key principles of youth development that programs need to focus on when providing support and opportunities for all young people. Shier (2001) utilized major principle of youth development and introduced an alternative tool for measuring program commitment to [youth] participation. McGuire et al. (2009) developed a measure to explore barriers and opportunities for youth participation. These three scales together with other program characteristics (program service type, program funding source, and program approach), plus youth demographic data (age, gender, years of schooling, & ethnicity) were used to explain the research conceptual framework. The six research questions and the accompanying research hypothesis were also extracted from this research conceptual framework.

The major findings from this research indicated that there are four factors that motivated youth for program participation. Of the four factors, meeting ones personal goals comes first, followed by connection to adults, connection to other youth, and family involvement respectively. This descriptive finding suggests that the youth development programs need to work on designing activities that youth most value to be the best fit to their personal goals. Findings from a multiple regression analysis revealed that one of the personal factors, years of schooling, was a significant predictor of youth motivation for participation in current program activities. A one way ANOVA was done to see if program service type and program funding source were related to youth motivation for program participation. The finding neither showed the program service type nor the program funding source to be significantly related to youth motivation for participation in current program activities.

Another dimension of this research was program commitment to key principles of youth development, program commitment to youth participation, and the relationship between program commitment and youth motivation for participation in current program activities. 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 (level 3:youth views are take in to account in decision making) in a five level scale, or less by three points in a 15 point scale from the scores of program staff (youth participate in decision making). The difference was significant and program staff were more positive in their program commitment to youth participation than did the youths in the program. From the four program factors, only program commitment to principles of youth development was significant predictors of youth motivation for participation in current program activities. Program approach was the mediating variable in the conceptual framework. It was significantly related to program commitment to the key principles of youth development and years of schooling. However, it only mediates the relationship between years of schooling and youth motivation for participation in current program activities. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Linsk, Nathan
Commitee: Linsk, Nathan
School: University of Illinois at Chicago
Department: Social Work
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: DAI-A 74/05(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Social work
Keywords: Ethiopia, HIV/AIDS prevention, Income-generating activities, Youth development, Youth participation
Publication Number: 3549906
ISBN: 9781267867209
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