Frequently Asked Questions

The Adolescent Kit for Expression and Innovation is for anyone who is designing, leading or working in programmes for adolescents ages 10-18.

The resources in the Kit are intended for use in humanitarian programmes, responding to crises such as war, violent conflict, natural disasters and displacement. They can also be used in development contexts and low-resource settings, and as part of initiatives that contribute to peacebuilding. These might include child protection, psychosocial support, non-formal education, social engagement, arts, recreation or sport programmes, youth clubs or organizations.

The approaches and activities in the Kit are designed to reach and engage adolescents ages 10-18, recognizing the particular challenges this age group faces in humanitarian situations and the gap in programming to support them.

That said, the approaches and activities offered in the Kit can be adapted and used with younger children as well as older youth, for programmes and interventions addressed to those age groups.

Yes. The approaches and activities in the Kit are appropriate for adolescent girls and boys, adolescents with and without disabilities, adolescents from different religious and cultural backgrounds, and adolescents who are and are not literate. All the guidance materials offer recommendations for how to use the approaches, activities and materials in ways that equitably reach and support adolescents in all of those categories.

All resources in the Kit are 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 to support these adaptations.

Yes! All resources in the Kit, especially the guidance and tools, include information and recommendations to support programme 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.

Find out more in the technical note on adolescents with disabilities in the Foundation Guide, p. 38.

The Kit is available in Arabic here and MENA youth hub. Guidance in French and Spanish, plus additional resources to support translation, are forthcoming. If you would like to translate the guidance into your local language, please contact us.

No permission is required. 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! They are designed to be adapted, and you may adjust and integrate them into your programmes based on what will work best in your context.

We hope you will consider sharing updates and feedback with UNICEF so we can learn from your experience as we continue to develop and upgrade the Kit. Please contact us.

The Supply Kit is available in UNICEF’s global supply catalogue. UNICEF programme staff interested in procuring it 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.

The Supply Guide, available on this website, provides lists of supplies that can be procured in most contexts. It includes die-cut templates that can be used to build your own carriers, using cardboard or coroplast.

No! The activities and approaches in the Adolescent Kit are designed for use with simple and widely available resources that can usually be procured locally – pens, pencils, markers, paper, locally found materials. Some activities do not require any materials at all or can easily be adapted for use with various materials.

The Supply Kit is designed especially for settings in which these basic materials are not available at all – such as recent onset emergences or extremely low-resource settings. Sometimes, countries may prefer to procure the supplies internationally, if obtaining them through local markets proves costlier, or if such supplies are not available due to the security situation or for other reasons. When considering international procurement, keep in mind additional time for the Supply Kit to be delivered, as well as the cost of freight by air or sea.

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 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 suggested materials.

Not necessarily. Like any toolkit, the Adolescent Kit is intended to be flexible, so you can choose and use the resources you find most valuable or relevant for your programmes, to effectively work with and for adolescents toward your goals.

Yes! The Adolescent Kit includes much of the guidance, tools and activities (and supplies) you may need to start a new programme. But all the resources can also be used in an ongoing programme, together with the other plans, guides and manuals already in use.

No, it is a package of guidance, tools and supplies that can be used in different types of programmes for adolescents – including new programmes just getting started, or those already underway – to make them more effective and impactful for adolescents. The Kit is an excellent entry point to start working with and for adolescents affected by conflicts and disasters, or to strengthen ongoing work.

As with any ‘toolkit’, programme staff should pick and choose the tools, guidance and supplies they will find most helpful in building or strengthening their programmes.

The Kit can be used in many kinds of programmes, including:

Education and life skills programmes, and schools, especially to support adolescents in developing socioemotional and cognitive skills to build healthy relationships, cope with challenges, imagine possibilities, and pursue issues that interest and affect them.

Child protection programmes, especially to promote adolescents’ psychosocial well-being. See ‘Connect adolescents with support’ in the Programme coordinator’s’ guide for guidance in recognizing when adolescents need special services, and tools to support you in making necessary 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. A complementary Adolescents as Peacebuilders Toolkit is available for programme coordinators in implementing and monitoring peacebuilding programmes

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 to develop essential skills for working together and engaging positively with the world around them.

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.

For more in-depth information on how the Kit can contribute to different kinds of programmes, see the Foundation Guide and the chapter ‘Decide how to use the Adolescent Kit’ in the Programme Coordinators’ Guide.

Some countries have adapted the Kit to include additional topics, like gender-based violence or the sexual and reproductive health needs of adolescent girls. For example, UNICEF Indonesia has adapted it to activities focused on menstrual hygiene management and ending child marriage.

The International Rescue Committee has developed SAFE - Supporting Adolescents and their Families in Emergencies, a protection and psychosocial support program designed to increase the capacity of humanitarian actors to reach and engage adolescent girls and boys, and their female and male caregivers, in the early phase of a response. Curricula and training content in SAFE were adapted from a range of existing and tested sources, and the UNICEF Adolescent Kit for Expression and Innovation was a key reference for technical guidance and practical recommendations.

The goal of SAFE is that adolescent girls and boys (10-19) are safer, more supported and equipped with positive coping strategies in acute emergencies. To achieve this goal, the SAFE program model is designed around two pillars:

  1. Working directly with adolescent girls and boys to provide them with essential health and safety information, encourage participation and develop social and emotional skills, strengthen relationships, and connect them with available support services.
  2. Contributing to a safe and supportive environment for adolescent girls and boys through working with female and male caregivers to develop their knowledge of how to protect and support adolescents, and collaborating with the community, other sectors and services providers to increase awareness of the needs and interests of adolescents.

There are clear complementarities between SAFE and the UNICEF Adolescent Kit, and we welcome their use in tandem to increase the support and participation of adolescent girls and boys.

The UNICEF Adolescents as Peacebuilders Toolkit is developed to complement the Adolescent Kit and using the same framework of 10 key competencies. The Toolkit includes guides and tools for setting programme goals focused on those competencies and measuring adolescents’ progress in developing and using them. Like the Adolescent Kit, it emphasizes participatory processes for collaborating with adolescents in setting and measuring progress toward goals.

Yes. The first two sections of the Programme Coordinators’ Guide include guidance and tools for use in setting programme goals that address adolescents’ development and their acquisition of the 10 key competencies, and in measuring their progress toward those goals. Throughout the Programme Coordinators’ guidance you will find other tools for monitoring programme activities and implementation.

The Facilitator’s Guide section on ‘Choosing an Activity Phase for your Adolescent Circle’, and the Activity Setting group goals in the Activity Box, also offer guidance for participatory processes that facilitators can use with adolescents to set their own wellbeing, learning and action goals, and to collaborate in assessing their own progress toward those goals.

Another useful resource for M&E tools is the Adolescents as Peacebuilders Toolkit, developed to complement the Adolescent Kit and using the same framework of 10 key competencies. The Toolkit includes guides and tools for setting programme goals focused on those competencies and measuring adolescents’ progress in developing and using them. Like the Adolescent Kit, it emphasizes participatory processes for collaborating with adolescents in setting and measuring progress toward goals.

Like all the resources in the Adolescent Kit, the guidance and tools above can be adapted for use with programmes designed in the field. Since the Adolescent Kit was designed to catalyze or strengthen a range of different kinds of programmes, there is not one universal M&E framework for use with it. Browse the country profiles or contact us for examples of M&E tools and frameworks developed by other UNICEF country offices using the Adolescent Kit in their contexts.

Yes. The final section of the Programme Coordinators’ Guide, ‘Prepare for your programme to transition or end’, includes suggestions for how to plan programmes for sustainability, especially by preparing for programmes to transition into new phases, or end, when the time is right. More information can also be found in the Country Profiles.

Not necessarily. Some teams find they are able to use and adapt the guidance, tools, activities and supplies to catalyse 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 want or need additional training support, read the Programme Coordinators’ Guide, beginning with the first chapter, ‘Decide how to use the Adolescent Kit in your programme’. You may also find it helpful to read the other resources in the Kit – check out the Quick Guide for a comprehensive, easy-to-read overview.

The resources in the Adolescent Kit include a Training Package, for use and adaptation by programme leaders with their teams. This includes a ‘training of trainers’ curriculum guide and corresponding PowerPoint presentations.

The Adolescent Development and Participation section of UNICEF can recommend experienced trainers to work directly with UNICEF country offices or other organizations on a consultancy basis. Contact us to learn more about training resources that are available or forthcoming, and/or to request support.

There is no set timeline. You can choose and adapt all resources in the Kit to address your programme goals and priorities.

With that in mind, timelines usually depend on the context and purpose of interventions using the Kit – for example, whether it’s used in new-onset humanitarian situations, protracted emergencies, development contexts, or settings in which adolescents’ situations are uncertain or in flux.

The Facilitator’s Guide and Facilitator Tools in the Activity Box include recommendations for how to plan sequences of activities for adolescents in different situations, and also with different developmental capacities and interests:

The “Starting our Circle” phase 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).

The typical time frame for the next phase, “Knowing ourselves”, is 2-4 weeks, but it could also take as little as a few days, especially if programmes will end as the humanitarian situation resolves. It could continue longer, if adolescents enjoy their activities and do not feel interested or ready to move onto something more complex or challenging.

The “Connecting” phase works best if carried out over the course of 2-4 weeks, so adolescents have a chance to learn and practise skills for collaborating with others and enjoy the rewards of feeling that they are part of a team.

The “Take action phase” is intended 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.

All resources in the Kit were designed to support our colleagues and partners in working with adolescents.

In some cases, adolescents may be able to use some of them with minimal or no supervision from facilitators or other adults. For example:

  • Groups of adolescents working together in or outside a structured programme could use many of the activity guides, to suggest possible projects to work on together.
  • Mature youth organizations or clubs with a high capacity for independence could use any of the resources in the Kit to strengthen or expand their work 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. 

But keep in mind that adolescents ages 10-18 are still children. While many may have the capacity, energy and will to undertake initiatives independently, all adolescents need (and have a right to) protection and support from adults – especially adolescents living in challenging circumstances and recovering from difficult experiences. 

With that caveat in mind, UNICEF is excited to consider creating new resources to include in the Kit that are designed especially for adolescents to use themselves. Contact us if you have ideas. We especially welcome suggestions from adolescents!

Please visit our Contact us page and fill out the form. We would love to hear from you!