Effective Facilitation & Youth Engagement: A Toolkit for Working with Youth

Monitoring and Evaluation Youth Engagement Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program
Last Reviewed

Welcome to the Toolkit

Youth engagement shows up in Teen Pregnancy Prevention (TPP) Program projects in many ways: facilitating group activities that resonate with youth (and also meet project goals); involving youth as partners in project design, implementation, and monitoring; and making sure every activity and interaction reflects a fundamental understanding and respect for youth.

This toolkit is designed to help your TPP project meet its goals of facilitating high-quality group activities that are engaging, equitable, and accessible to all participants. It is also intended to help you take a step back and reflect on what your project is doing to center youth and engage with them respectfully, and to give you resources to strengthen these efforts.

This toolkit was developed in partnership with Health Resources in Action (HRiA).

Illustration of three people sitting on office chairs in a circle, talking to each other.

The toolkit will help TPP project leaders and/or facilitators:

  • Understand and support the development of facilitator competencies
  • Learn how to build and manage positive group behaviors
  • Explore options for group activity observation tools
  • Reflect on group activities to identify successes and opportunities for improvement
  • Involve youth as partners in project design, implementation, and monitoring
  • Center respect for youth by recognizing and counteracting adultism across the project

Use this toolkit in whatever way best meets your project needs. If your project is just getting started, consider reviewing all action steps and resources. Or pick and choose the ones that will strengthen your project’s approach to facilitation and youth engagement.

Strong, effective facilitators are the cornerstone of every TPP project. So, it’s important for facilitators to have the knowledge, skills, abilities, and behaviors (collectively known as competencies) to develop strong relationships with youth, perform their job well, and contribute to a successful TPP project. Use the resources below to assess and strengthen your competencies as a facilitator.

Action Steps Supportive Resources

Assess facilitator competencies to identify strengths and opportunities for improvement.

TPP Facilitator Self-Assessment

Brush up on best practices for building and managing positive group behaviors.

Tips for Building and Managing Positive Group Behavior

Observing and reflecting on TPP project activities allows teams to understand how facilitators implement activities and manage groups so they can build on what works and change what needs improvement. OPA expects TPP grantees to observe programs and facilitators. For guidance, review the notice of funding opportunity for your grant program.1,2

While observation tools are unique to each grantee organization, and often included as part of the EBP model package, you can explore examples of observation tools below, along with an activity reflection guide. Check with your grantee organization program administrator to obtain the observation tools approved for your TPP project.

Action Steps Supportive Resources

Engage an observer to document the fidelity and quality of the evidence-based program delivery. The observer should be someone who can attend the activity but is neither a facilitator nor a participant.

Program Observation Form for TPP Program Grantees Job Aid

Ask the observer to also document the facilitator’s strengths and opportunities for improvement.

Observation Tool: Group Activity Facilitation

Reflect on an activity you facilitated or co-facilitated to identify successes to build on and challenges to address for future activities.

Group Activity Reflection Guide for Facilitators

While monitoring fidelity, quality, and youth engagement in group activities is essential, it’s equally important to take a step back and reflect on what your TPP project is doing to center youth and engage with them respectfully. Project leaders can use the resources below independently or with their team to guide this reflection and identify strengths and opportunities for improvement.

Action Steps Supportive Resources

Identify what your TPP project is doing to foster partnerships with youth and steps you can take to increase youth partner involvement.

Assessing Your Project's Youth Partnerships

Reflect on how adultism (behaviors and attitudes that discriminate against young people) shows up in your TPP project and learn alternative caring behaviors that can counteract adultism.3

Recognizing Adultism and Increasing Alternative Caring Behaviors

  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Population Affairs Notice of Funding Opportunity: Advancing Equity in Adolescent Health through Evidence-Based Teen Pregnancy Prevention Programs and Services Opportunity Number: AH-TP1-23-001.
  2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Population Affairs Notice of Funding Opportunity: Teen Pregnancy Prevention Tier 2 Rigorous Evaluation Cooperative Agreements Opportunity Number: AH-TP2-23
  3. Bell, J. (1995). Understanding Adultism. A Major Obstacle to Developing Positive Youth-Adult Relationships. YouthBuild USA.