What is Youth-Centred Design? 

Human-centred design is a way of designing services that puts the needs of people first. This toolkit supports designing services and programs that put children and youth first - Youth-Centred Design.

Design is a creative approach to problem solving that puts less emphasis on expertise and more emphasis on a person's ability and willingness to think about different ways to solve problems. By including more voices in the process of design–where we seek to understand, ideate, build and test solutions to problems–we are better able to create solutions that work for the people who need them.

What is this toolkit?

The Youth-Centred Design Toolkit provides tools and techniques to include child and youth voices in the development of meaningful programming that reflects the real needs of today's kids.

Toolkits enable and inspire action. This one has been co-created with the children and youth of Canada to help everyone using it design better organizations, services, and programs that help kids. The YCD Toolkit is part of UNICEF Canada's One Youth movement to see what is possible when we create solutions with children and youth instead of for them.

Follow this link to read more about One Youth.

Why include kids and youth in the design process?

We think that kids are experts in their own experience. By including kids in the design process, we can create services with more meaningful and impactful outcomes for children and youth. By engaging with kids as collaborators, we gain insight and understanding. When we include children and youth as colleagues, we are able to work together to create authentic solutions that provide a better fit. 

Why do we need Youth-Centred Design?

Currently, Canada ranks 25 out of 41 rich countries on UNICEF’s Index of Child Well-being. That’s why UNICEF Canada has created One Youth and set the bold goal to make Canada #1 on UNICEF’s Index of Child Well-being by 2030.

We set this goal because Canada has the capacity to achieve better and more equitable outcomes for children and, in doing so, will join the ranks of top performing countries on the UNICEF Index.


This toolkit is a prototype. Help us test it!

Throughout this site you'll see buttons that look like this:

The Youth-Centred Design Toolkit is an early prototype to see how and if organizations and people that serve children will begin working with children and youth differently in the design of the services, programs and initiatives that young people use.

Throughout the site there are buttons asking you for specific feedback about sections of the toolkit or to feedback on the entire experience of a page or chapter. Please make use of those to help us improve this toolkit for the thousands of people that could benefit from it.