The Family Planning Association of Hong Kong has long treasured the youth participation in its work. Since 1990s, a Youth Volunteer Scheme was established and short-term youth volunteers were often recruited to assist various sexuality education projects. To further achieve the realization of youth involvement and youth empowerment, and to actualize the concept of peer education, the Youth Volunteer Scheme was revamped in April 2001 with the following aims:
(1) To further increase youth participation as regards sexuality education so as to promote young people’s awareness of their sexual and reproductive health;
(2) To empower youth as Youth Ambassador for planning and organizing sexuality education activities and to promote peer education among youth in the local community;
(3) To involve more young people and enlarge network to disseminate information on sexuality education;
(4) Through working together with youth volunteers, our staff will better understand youth and be able to shape our programs and services to cater their sexual and reproductive health needs and interests.
Under the revamping scheme, 22 youth volunteers were carefully selected out of 51 applications, of which 14 youth joined the sexuality education team, named “Fam+2”. Monthly meetings were held with desirable attendance rate.
The volunteers are keen to attend related training to strengthen their confidence and skill in implementing sexuality education:
(1) A two-day orientation training camp was provided to youth volunteers with contents covering scope of sexuality education, exploration of sex attitudes, topical discussion and basic counseling skill;
(2) The Education Division also regularly provides various internal training to meet their needs for voluntary services;
(3) The Association provided sponsorship to two members to attend the ‘Youth Volunteer interflow Camp 2001’ in Macau. It was reflected that the camp was fruitful as they learnt more about volunteerism, while self-awareness was also enhanced.
Actions to Enhance Youth Participation and Youth Empowerment
Apart from offering training, recognition is indispensable to enhance youth volunteers’ participation and commitment:
(1) Invitation to attend the Annual General Meeting and Annual Dinner of the Association;
(2) Presentation of certificates and souvenirs for those with high attendance rate;
(3) Delivering verbal appreciation for good performance;
(4) Provision of reference letters for those with the needs to further studies or job seeking.
To further achieve youth empowerment, we have engaged youth to the following aspects:
(1) All the youth volunteers have a reasonable degree of autonomy in planning and organizing programmes;
(2) Members of the youth volunteer team were invited as one of the adjudicators for the naming competition of Young Men Sexual Health Clinic organized by the Association;
(3) To increase the participation of young people in the policy decision-making level, one of the youth volunteer was appointed as the youth representative to attend the Council Meetings of the Association.
On the whole, members of Fam+2 are active and dedicated to voluntary
Services. During the year:
(1) Two sexuality education programs were organized, namely, the Postcard and Slogan Design Competition, and the Quiz and Debate Competition for primary and secondary students;
(2) A pioneering two-day summer camp on children sexuality education was organized in August 2002;
(3) The volunteers assisted the Education Division in two programs – Family Sexuality Education Funfair and Parent Tea Gathering;
(4) Three volunteers represented the Association as youth speakers for a seminar titled “How young people view sexuality education in Hong Kong” organized by one of the Government’s department.
Lessons Learnt from Working with Youths
The volunteers’ enthusiasm and commitment for voluntary services impressed the staff very much. Through working with the volunteers, staff gained a deeper understanding about their interests, needs and psychosocial development in their age group which would, in turn, help to improve the future development of youth programs and services. Efforts will constantly be made to enhance their cohesion and sense of team belonging.
* This is a paper presented in the IPPF REGIONAL YOUTH FORUM: “Working Towards Youth Empowerment: Sexuality Education Activities for Youth", IPPF ESEAOR REGION , in HONG KONG, on 16 – 20 December 2002.