> What is the Adolescent Kit for Expression and Innovation?
The Adolescent Kit for Expression and Innovation (Adolescent Kit) is a package of guidance, tools, activities and supplies for supporting adolescents ages 10-17 who are affected by conflict, poverty and other humanitarian crises. It provides an innovative approach to working with adolescents in humanitarian situations that can be integrated into UNICEF and partner country programmes, or introduced as a stand-alone initiative.
> Who is the Adolescent Kit for Expression and Innovation for?
The Adolescent Kit for Expression and Innovation is a package of guidance, tools, activities and supplies for use by anyone who is designing, leading or working in programs for adolescents ages 10-17. It is especially for programs that involve providing adolescents with positive, healthy activities for them to have fun, learn, grow, and get actively involved in projects and issues that interest them.
The resources in the kit are especially intended for use in humanitarian programs, responding to crises such as war and violent conflict, natural disasters and displacement. They can also be used in development contexts and low-resource settings, and initiatives that contribute to peacebuilding. These might include child protection, psychosocial support, nonformal education, social engagement, arts, recreation, or sport programmes, or youth clubs or organizations. The approaches and activities in the kit are designed to reach and engage adolescents ages 10-17. They are for adolescent girls and boys, adolescents with and with disabilities, adolescents from different religious and cultural backgrounds, and adolescents who are and are not literate. Throughout all of the guidance materials there are recommendations for how to use the approaches, activities and materials in ways that equitably reach and support adolescents in all of those categories.
All of the resources in the kit are also designed for use with adolescents at different levels of maturity, with different interests and priorities, and in different contexts. The guidance, tools and activities include suggestions and recommendations throughout to support these adaptations.
The resources in the kit are for use by:
- "Programme coordinators," meaning staff members who have a key role in designing, managing or running a programme or intervention that uses the activities, tools and guidance in the Adolescent Kit. This may include programme managers, programme of officers, technical specialists or other staff within UNICEF or other organizations.
- "Facilitators," meaning trained professionals or volunteers who work directly with a group of adolescents to facilitate activities and run sessions. These may also include teachers, coaches or animators.
Some of the guidance materials, tools and activities, such as the Programme Coordinators' Guide and the Facilitator's Guide, are primarily intended for one of these categories or the other. Others, such as the Foundation Guidance are designed for program coordinators and facilitators to use together in order to building and implement programs with a shared understanding of their goals for adolescents, and the approaches they will use. The Supply Guide may also be used by program coordinators, facilitators, or both.
Adolescents themselves may also be able to use some of the resources in the kit with minimal or no support from program staff. For example, individual adolescents with some training in facilitation, or groups of adolescents who can work well as a team, may use the Activity Guides, Energizers or Inspiration Cards to get ideas for activities they can organize for themselves.
> What is the purpose of the kit?
The Adolescent Kit aims to bring about positive change in the lives of adolescents in challenging circumstances. It is a package of resources to support adolescent girls and boys to develop key competencies that can help them to cope with stressful circumstances, build healthy relationships, learn new skills and engage positively with their communities. It targets the most vulnerable adolescents in humanitarian situations, through cross- sectoral approaches that focus on arts and innovation. This involves bringing groups of adolescent girls and boys ages 10-17 together in a safe space on a regular basis to have fun, cope with difficult experiences, learn and work together.
UNICEF created this package of resources in response to a request from colleagues and partners working in humanitarian and other programming contexts, who faced a lack of program resources for adolescents ages 10-17, tailored to their capacities, and adaptable to different situations and contexts. Program staff can use the resources in the kit to catalyze and design new programs, based on relevant and essential outcomes for adolescents, and effective approaches and practices they can use together with adolescents to achieve those outcomes. They can also use the resources to strengthen ongoing programs - for example by making them more challenging, interesting and rewarding for adolescents, and making them more effective in reaching and engaging those adolescents who are hardest to reach.
> Who developed this kit?
UNICEF's Adolescent Development and Participation Section, a cross-sectoral support team based at UNICEF Headquarters led the development of this kit, collaborating throughout the entire project with programme leaders, partner organizations and adolescents in Indonesia, South Sudan, Myanmar, Bhutan and Palestine. Colleagues and young people in Haiti, Uganda and Jordan also contributed to research and development for the kit.
The initiative to develop the team was co-led by an adolescent education and engagement specialist and a human-centered design expert. The consulting team that created resources for the kit also included specialists and writers with expertise in education, child protection, peacebuilding, youth engagement, participatory research, graphic and multimedia design, and video production. UNICEF program specialists in education, protection, disability, gender, communication for development (C4D), life skills, psychosocial support, sexual and gender-based violence, humanitarian affairs, and communications also provided technical input and review throughout the initiative.
> Why a kit for adolescents in humanitarian contexts?
Adolescents are a key age group affected by conflict and other humanitarian situations. Their rights are often violated during times of crisis, and they may face risks to their lives, health, development and wellbeing. Evidence suggests that the majority of interventions for children in humanitarian situations focus overwhelmingly on younger girls and boys under the age of 10, with very few targeting adolescents specifically.
The Adolescent Kit aims to address the gap that exists in support, by providing humanitarian organisations with a practical package of guidance, tools, activities and supplies to reach and engage adolescent girls and boys. It brings together approaches for working with adolescents that have been tried and tested with adolescent girls and boys around the world, and found to be effective for making positive change in their lives. It revolves around evidence that adolescents often demonstrate great resilience in challenging situations, and tries to nurture this through activities that build on their strengths.
> Why is it called the "Adolescent Kit for Expression and Innovation"?
The guidance tools and supplies in the Adolescent Kit for Expression and Innovation support activities for adolescents that give them opportunities for expression. They involve the arts, such as drawing, performing drama and dance, speaking and writing. The also include learning activities for adolescents to reflect on their emotions, perspectives and aspirations. Foundation Guide
The activities also open opportunities for adolescents to tap into their natural capacities for innovation. They especially draw from pedagogies such as project-based learning and human centered design, with activities for adolescents to develop and use their skills for problem-solving and creativity to imagine and experiment with new possibilities. Foundation Guide
All of these expression and innovation activities are intended to be fun, interesting, challenging and engaging for adolescents. But just as importantly, they are designed to contribute to essential outcomes for adolescents, promoting their psychosocial wellbeing, their learning and use of life skills, and their active involvement in pursuing their own goals and shaping the world around them. These outcomes are consolidated and described as "ten key competencies," which are the overarching purpose of all of the activities and approaches in the kit. Ten Key Competencies
The name of the kit was chosen to help humanitarian responders who might consider using it - especially program staff from different sectors, to understand what kind of resources are in the kit, and how they might use those resources to strengthen their work with adolescents. Child protection, education, youth engagement, and peacebuilding specialists all recognize that when adolescents have a chance to express themselves, and to be part of innovative possibilities, these opportunities can help them to recover from difficult experiences, develop essential skills, and get involved in positive change.
The name of the kit also helps program staff to understand what is not in the kit. The kit is often referred to just as the "Adolescent Kit" for short. But an important understanding is that the kit does not include everything adolescents need in humanitarian contexts or other challenging settings. For example, it is not specifically designed to address issues such as menstrual hygiene, or reproductive health, nor does it include supplies related to those topics. However, it can be used together with other guidance, tools and supplies on initiatives that do support these issues in relation to adolescents' needs and rights. Program staff using the adolescent kit are always encouraged to adapt the activities and approaches it offers, including by integrating them with others to respond to the key challenges and opportunities facing adolescents in their contexts.
> Who can use the Adolescent Kit for Expression and Innovation? (Do I need to get permission from UNICEF or anyone else to use the Adolescent Kit?)
The Adolescent Kit for Expression and Innovation includes a package of over 500 pages of guidance and tools for program coordinators and facilitators, with approaches, activities and other suggestions to start or strengthen programs for adolescents. The guidance and tools are designed to be adapted, with programme staff and adolescents adjusting and integrating them into their programmes based on what will work best in their context. All guidance, tools and activities are available electronically in English on an open-source basis. Anyone working with adolescents - especially in humanitarian and other challenging circumstances - is welcome and encouraged to use these resources! No permission is required. However, we hope you will consider sharing updates and feedback with UNICEF so we can continue to learn from your experience as we continue to develop and upgrade the kit.
You can find all guidance, tools and activities on our website, www.adolescentkit.org. Guidance in French, Arabic and other languages, and additional resources to support translation, are forthcoming.
The Adolescent Kit for Expression and Innovation also includes a supply kit with materials and resources that can be helpful if you are starting or strengthening a program with adolescents. The supply kit is available in UNICEF's global supply catalogue. UNICEF program staff interested in procuring the kit can review the catalogue and procure it directly. UNICEF's partners who are interested in procuring the supply kit should contact their UNICEF focal point to discuss this possibility. [UNICEF Supply Catalogue]
The Supply Guide, which is available online, also provides lists of supplies that can be procured in most contexts. It also includes die-cut templates that can be used to build your own carriers, using cardboard or coroplast.
> Is the Adolescent Kit a program?
No, the Adolescent Kit is not a program. It is a package of guidance, tools and supplies that can be used in different types of programs for adolescents - including new programs just getting started, or those that are underway - to make them more effective and impactful for adolescents. Like any "toolkit," programme staff should pick and choose the tools - or guidance or supplies - that they will find most helpful in building or strengthening their programs.
> What kind of programs is the adolescent kit intended for?
The adolescent kit can be used in...
Education, schools and life skills programmes, especially to support adolescents in developing socioemotional and cognitive skills to build healthy relationships, cope with challenges, imagine possibilities, and pursue issues that interest that affect them. [Hyperlink to Adolescents and life skills technical note in the Foundation Guide].
Child protection programmes, especially to promote adolescents' psychosocial wellbeing. [Hyperlink to Adolescents and psychosocial support technical note in the Foundation Guide]. Offering fun, challenging and engaging activities is also a way for protection programme staff to build relationships with adolescents, as a first step to connect them and their families with other essential services and support. The chapter Connect adolescents with support in the Program coordinator's' guide offers guidance to support staff in recognizing when adolescents need special services, and tools to support them in making these referrals and connections.
Peacebuilding education and advocacy programmes, especially to support adolescents in developing and using essential competencies to cope with the effects of conflict, positively transform conflicts, build peace in their own lives and beyond. The framework of Ten key competencies, which are addressed by all activities and approaches offered in the kit, was developed with an emphasis on studying the knowledge, attitudes and skills that are essential for young people affected by conflict. Many of the activity guides, and the Take Action phase outlined in the Facilitator's Guide also offer possibilities for adolescents to design and carry out projects themselves, which can include actively contributing to conflict transformation peace in their communities in ways that reflect their vision and priorities.
Youth development programmes, such as peer-to-peer education initiatives and adolescent clubs, by offering more ways for groups of young people to have fun and get to know each other, and develop essential skills for working together and engaging positively with the world around them. Youth clubs and organizations, too, may find that some activity guides and the Take Action phase outlined in the Facilitator's Guide offer a helpful process for them to envision, plan and carry out projects and initiatives together.
Arts, sports and recreation programmes, by suggesting ways to plan and structure activities, so that they more effectively contribute to adolescent's feelings of safety and inclusion. The approaches and activities in the kit can also be integrated into ongoing programming, to open and strengthen opportunities for adolescents to develop and practice socioemotional and cognitive skills while they learn and explore the arts, sports or other recreation activities.
For more about where and how to the resources in the Adolescent Kit in different types of new or ongoing programs for adolescents, see Decide how to use the Adolescent Kit in the Programme Coordinators' Guide.
> Is this kit designed for both adolescent girls and boys, and does it reflect principles and practices of gender sensitivity and equity?
Yes! The entire Adolescent Kit for Expression and Innovation was developed with the recognition that reaching and engaging all adolescents requires attention to and actions to address the rights and needs of girls and boys in different contexts. All of the resources in the kit, especially the guidance and tools, include information and recommendations to support programme coordinators and facilitators in considering the interests, needs and situation of girls and boys in different contexts. They also recommend actions programme coordinators and facilitators can take to ensure that programs reach adolescent girls and boys, and offer them equitable opportunities to recover from stress, learn, and take positive action in their communities. [Foundation Guide]
> Is this kit inclusive for adolescents with disabilities?
Yes! The entire Adolescent Kit for Expression and Innovation was designed to support adolescents with and without disabilities through guidance, activities and approaches that promote inclusion, and for all adolescent girls and boys to enjoy the same rights and opportunities. All of the resource in the kit, especially the guidance and tools, include information and recommendations to support program coordinators and facilitators in ensuring that adolescents with disabilities are reached and fully included in all activities, and enjoy their benefits equally to and together with adolescents without disabilities. The Activity Guides were designed to be accessible for adolescents with different types of disabilities, and also offer adaptations to make them even more inclusive. The Supply Kit, too, was designed with features to accommodate adolescents with cognitive, sensory and mobility disabilities. [Foundation Guide]
> Does my team need special training to use the kit?
Some teams find they are able to use and adapt the guidance, tools, activities and supplies to catalyze new initiatives or strengthen ongoing programmes without additional training or technical support from UNICEF. Others have found it helpful to seek technical support as they get started.
As a first step to determine whether you will want or need additional training support, read the Programme Coordinator's Guide, beginning with the first chapter, "Decide how to use the Adolescent Kit in your programme." The following sections of that guide give further suggestions for how to use resources in the kit to start or strengthen your work with and for for adolescents, each focusing on different areas of programme planning and implementation. You may also find it helpful to read the other resources in the kit, starting with the Foundation Guide and the Facilitator's Guide. (The Quick Guide also offers a comprehensive, easy to read overview of all of the resources in the kit.)
The resources in the Adolescent Kit also include a training package, for use and adaptation by program leaders with their teams. The training package focuses on steps for teams to develop plans collaboratively for how they will use the resources in the adolescent kit, and training process to build their understanding and capacity to use the approaches and activities it offers. The training package includes a "training of trainers" curriculum guide and a corresponding powerpoint presentation. [Training package]
UNICEF can also recommend experienced trainers to work directly with UNICEF country offices or other organizations on a consultancy basis. Contact us using the information below to learn more about training resources that are available or forthcoming, and/or to request support. Do we need to use all of the guidance in the kit?
Not necessarily. Like any toolkit, the Adolescent Kit is intended to be flexible, so you can choose and use the resources that you find most valuable or relevant for your programmes, so that you can more effectively work with and for adolescents toward your goals.
> Do we need to use all of the guidance in the kit?
Not necessarily. Like any toolkit, the Adolescent Kit is intended to be flexible, so you can choose and use the resources that you find most valuable or relevant for your programmes, so that you can more effectively work with and for adolescents toward your goals.
> Can we use this kit together with other programme resources we (or our partners) already have?
Yes! The Adolescent Kit includes much of the guidance, tools and activities (and supplies) you may need to start a new program. But all of the resources are also designed to be used in an ongoing program, together with the other plans, guides and manuals already in use.
> What is the recommended timeline for using the kit?
First, an important reminder is that the kit is not a programme - it is a set of guidance, tools, activities and supplies for use to catalyse or strengthen programs for adolescents. Anyone using the kit always choose and adapt any resources they may use for the kit, adapting them to address their programme goals and priorities.
With that in mind, the timelines for programmes or interventions in which the kit is used are usually related in large part to their context and purpose. For example, the kit may be used in rapid response programs to new-onset humanitarian situations, such as sudden displacement due to natural disasters or conflict. Or, it may be used in protracted emergencies, development contexts, or settings in which adolescents' (and others') situations in flux, or may remain uncertain for long periods of time.
In that regard, the Facilitator's Guide and Tools include recommendations for how to plan sequences of activities for adolescents according to four "phases" that are appropriate for those in different situations, and also with different developmental capacities and interests:
The "Starting our Circle" phase includes short energizers and games for adolescents to get to know each other. It is especially for adolescents who are very recently displaced, adjusting to a new setting, or starting to work together as a group. It can be used for just a few days in a brief emergency response programme, or 1-2 weeks as adolescents adjust to a new setting (and perhaps prepare for another phase that will follow).
> Does the kit include modules on topics such as health, hygiene, reproductive health, HIV/AIDS, sexual and gender based violence, or children's rights?
The guidance, tools and activities in the Adolescent Kit reflect a unique design, so that it is fully adaptable ta wide range of programming contexts. It is also designed to promote the best and most effective practices especially by facilitators planning and leading activities with adolescents.
An important understanding for anyone preparing to use the kit is that instead of offering pre-written modules, it offers guidance for how to plan sequences of activities according to four "phases" that are appropriate for adolescents at different developmental levels, in different settings and with different interests. The Facilitator's Guide provides more explanation and guidance on how to identify and plan the right phase for a group of adolescents. The Activity Guides, Energizers and Inspiration Cards serve as the "building blocks" that facilitator can use to plan each phase. This flexible approach is also intended to make it feasible and easy for facilitators to integrate activities or topics from other manuals, lessons or guides they may have available.
A second important understanding is that all of the approaches and activities in the kit address ten key competencies - broad categories of attitudes and skills. They do support adolescents in both developing and using these competencies to cope with crisis, build (and restore) healthy relationships, explore the world around them, engage with their communities and pursue their interests and goals.
However, the Adolescent Kit does not include lessons, activities or information sheets to build adolescents' knowledge of specific topics, such as those in relation to health or hygiene, children's rights or other issues. This is because the Adolescent Kit was designed for use and adaptation globally, for adolescents with different learning needs, different levels of education, different interests and in different contexts and situations.
The activities and approaches can be used together with resources that do focus on these topics - and programme coordinators and adolescents are encouraged to develop and/or integrate these materials into activities for adolescents, based on their needs and priorities. The Resources section of the Foundation Guidance offers an annotated list of such materials that may be useful and adaptable for this purpose.
The "Knowing ourselves" phase also includes individual activities for adolescents to begin to feel comfortable and trusting in a new setting, while also continuing to have fun and take a break from stress. It follows the "Starting our Circle" phase. A typical time frame for the "Knowing ourselves" phase would be 2-4 weeks, but it could also take as little as a few days (especially if programs will end as the humanitarian situation resolves). Or, it could continue for longer, if adolescents are enjoying their activities and do not feel interested or ready to move onto something more complex or challenging.
The "Connecting" phase is especially for adolescents who want to get to know each other as a group, and feel ready to to get to know the people and community around them. It will work best if carried out over the course of 2-4 weeks, so adolescents have a chance to learn and practice skills for collaborating with others, and enjoy the rewards of feeling that they are part of a team.
The "Take action phase" involves adolescents planning and carrying out activities together. It is intended especially for adolescents who have time and the skills to work together on projects that they plan and carry out together, based on topics and issues that interest them.
> Do I need to have the supply kit in order to use the approaches and activities that are offered in the guidance and tools?
No! The activities and approaches in the adolescent kit are designed for use with simple and widely-available resources - pens, pencils, markers, paper, locally-found materials - materials that can usually be procured locally. Some activities do not require any materials at all, and/or can easily be adapted for use with various types materials (The Supply Kit is designed especially for settings in which these basic materials are not available at all - such as recent onset emergencies, or extremely low-resource settings).
The chapter "Create your own set of supplies" in the Supply Guide provides a checklist of materials that will be helpful when using the activities and approaches in the adolescent kit, as well as a list of additional recommended supplies for all users that are not included in the supply kit. Each activity guide also includes a list of specific suggested materials.
> Can adolescents use any of the resources in this kit themselves?
All of the resources in the kit were designed for use with adolescents, and in some cases adolescents may be able to use some of the resources with minimal or no supervision from facilitators or other adults. For example:
Groups of adolescents who are working together in or outside a structured program could use many of the activity guides, to suggest a variety of possibilities for projects they will work on together. Especially the Inspiration cards are intended to give creative ideas, presented simply, to stimulate adolescents' ideas for projects they can work on together
Mature youth organizations or clubs with high capacity for independence could use all of the resources in the kit to strengthen their work together and expand to work on new possibilities. For example, the Programme Coordinators' Guide offers outreach steps and strategies an organization could use to connect with hard-to-reach adolescents within their communities. The Take Action phase and activities offer a flexible process for developing concepts, and then planning and carrying out projects together.
Adolescents can take responsibility for managing the supplies. The Supply Kit was designed so that adolescents can assemble the carriers and storage pods, which are also lightweight and small enough for most adolescents to carry them.
A key overall understanding about the adolescent kit is that UNICEF designed it to support our colleagues and partners in starting or strengthening programmes for adolescents, especially when they are working in challenging contexts. Programme teams leading initiatives for adolescents are always encouraged to keep in mind that adolescents ages 10-17 are still children. While many adolescents may have the capacity, energy and will to undertake initiatives independently, all adolescents have a need and a human right for protection and support from adults. This is especially true of adolescents living in challenging circumstances and who are recovering from difficult experiences.
.. With that caveat in mind, UNICEF is excited about the idea of creating resources that are especially for use by adolescents to include in the kit. We welcome ideas about how to do this - especially any suggestions from adolescents!
Do you have…
… more questions?
… ideas or suggestions to share?
… requests for support?
… updates on your own experiences using the Adolescent Kit?
We would love to hear from you!
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