Skip to content

Youth Sounding Boards

Programme Management Tool


One approach to youth engagement is to establish a youth sounding board (YSB), which is a consultative group with the purpose of providing ongoing input on selected policy, strategic and implementation issues. The composition and mandate of a YSB may vary from case to case. In the following, inspiration for setting up a YSB is provided.

The establishment of a YSB can benefit programme implementation in a number of areas. Operating with a YSB will, for example, provide the embassy with:

  • access to a group of youth representatives with whom the embassy can continuously or on an ad-hoc basis discuss and get a youth perspective on context and programme-related issues
  • an opportunity to better understand the target group and the particular challenges and needs of the youth
  • a platform for direct and possibly continuous youth consultation.

The YSB will furthermore:

  • provide their views on the design of programmes and ultimately create better programmes
  • safeguard and strengthen young people’s voice and perspective in relation to policy and programme formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation.

YSBs can be established at different stages and at different levels within a country programme, either as an overall mechanism or linked to a specific thematic programme or development engagement. Depending on the stage or programme level, composition and scope of the YSB mandate will vary.

An YSB established in the formulation phase can be set up with an open, explorative mandate, where the objective is to tap into the existing knowledge and experience of youth. A YSB established as part of the implementation may have a monitoring role and mainly address programme implementation issues, and it can also provide valuable input in the evaluation and closure of a programme or development engagement (DE). Likewise, a YSB established with a national perspective may address overall national policy context issues, whereas a YSB established to follow a specific DE may have a more limited scope.

Please note that it requires special efforts to select and gather the right people to be on the YSB, and it is important to be very clear about the purpose and terms, not to create unrealistic expectations among the YSB members.

How to Work with a Youth Sounding Board

During the design and planning, i.e. the formulation of a country policy, programme or development engagement, the YSB may provide youth-related information on the context; i.e. first-hand information on young people’s daily lives, their challenges and aspirations, and the gaps between young people’s needs and the available resources. The YSB can be established on an ad-hoc basis and the possibility of a later formalisation kept open.

During implementation and monitoring, the YSB will have a true sounding board role and may be involved in discussing activity plans, commenting on reports and mid-term review (MTR), and some youth members may be represented in monitoring visits and MTR.

At the end of a programme or development engagement, the YSB can provide youth perspective input and feedback on ToR and evaluation questions, as well as findings and recommendations.

The figure below demonstrates how listening to youth at different stages of the programme implementation cycle can provide valuable input to the work of embassies.


Establishing a YSB

If an embassy decides to operate with an YSB, the objectives and scope of the YSB, the specific tasks, selection of members and composition, as well as the frequency of meetings, possible cost coverage and remuneration etc. must be clearly defined.

Please refer to the Generic Terms of References

Further Reading on Youth Sounding Boards,


In case of questions, please contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Global Youth Advisor at [email protected]