Youth-Adult Partnership on International Planned Parenthood Member Association Boards

  • By: Mahesh Shukla and Lakachew Walie
  • Published Date: June 2017
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To improve the access to and quality of sexual and reproductive health services for young people, the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) promotes youth participation on its Member Association (MA) governing boards.

This means training young board members as leaders and ensuring their effective collaboration with adult counterparts. It also means orienting adult board members on how to work in a productive partnership with young board members.

IPPF MAs are volunteer-founded and volunteer-led organizations. Volunteer members are elected to the governing bodies at national and subnational levels, which ensures a close link to communities served. MAs have distinct and well-designed governance structures, not only at the national level, but also at the subnational level.

The IPPF has a long tradition of providing services to young people, and because of this, IPPF is one of the few organizations of its kind that mandates 20 percent youth representation on the boards of its MAs with an expectation that this will create diversity in the governing body, help keep the IPPF services relevant to young people, and spur innovation.

As a result, IPPF boards have multigenerational representation where members of all ages are expected to work together to advance their organization’s mission.

However; the multigenerational composition of the board provides a challenge. Working together productively can be difficult because both young and adult members are likely to come to the board with past experiences and long-held ideas, attitudes, and behaviors.

Older and younger members both need orientation on effective collaboration; young members also need development of their leadership skills.

This report describes how the LMG Project, working with the Learning Center MAs, used published literature, survey findings, and interviews with young board members to create an orientation guide and orientation program: Forging Youth-Adult Partnership on the Board.