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Background

Teen Advisory Groups (TAGs)

“The Teen Advisory Group (TAG) started in the Western Cape province of South Africa in 2008 with the aim to engage with adolescents as co-creators of social science research, and to develop adolescent and youth-informed policy and programming recommendations.

In 2018, The Accelerating Achievement for Africa’s Adolescents Hub (“Accelerate Hub”) established TAG groups in Kenema, Sierra Leone and Entebbe, Uganda. In 2019, these expanded to the Eastern Cape province of South Africa, and in 2020 to Kisumu, Kenya. Each of these TAGs aimed to:

  • Co-generate empirical data;
  • Build methodological ‘co-laboratories’ where participatory and arts-based methods are developed and tested in partnership with adolescents and young people (AYP); and most importantly,
  • Shift power during the research process.

TAG engages with qualitative, arts-based and participatory methods to gather context-specific information and to explore the subjective experiences and stories of participants. This approach was premised on the belief that when young people are meaningfully engaged in research, the research and resulting policy and programming is more responsive to their priorities and needs.

The first TAG weekend in 2008 gained adolescent input into the Young Carers Study (2009-2012, n=8,500). The group was a mix of prior research participants, adolescents at schools and those recruited through word of mouth. It provided two important foundations for the work of TAG:

  • Adolescents stressed the importance of meeting with other adolescents with similar highly stigmatized life experiences, away from their homes.
  • They also requested follow-up meetings each year.

Since then, TAGs of 15–25 adolescents have aimed to meet annually in weekend, activity-based workshops. The groups have become multi-generational due to older adolescents having children, with many of the initial participants taking on leadership roles as camp leaders. Due to COVID-19 these meetings were not possible – we therefore started remote engagement in 2020. Reflections, resources and empirical findings on AYP experiences and perspectives from this recent pandemic period are highlighted throughout this page.


Conference Posters

Teen Advisory Groups (TAGs)

The Accelerate Hub values the need for accessible research data. A variety of posters and illustrations were developed in collaborative effort between the Accelerate Hub and local illustrators to translate and represent findings across the various research branches, including TAG

'FINDING’ YOUNG VOICES

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Health service experiences of SA healthworkers and adolescents

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‘NOW MY LIFE IS STUCK!’

Conference

Videos

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Reports

Remote methods for engaging adolescents and young people in research

Mind Matters - Lessons from past crises for child and adolescent mental health during covid-19

Beyond masks- societal impacts of covid-19 and accelerated solutions for children and adolescents

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Posters and Illustrations

Peer Reviewed Publications

Resourcing resilience social protection for HIV

Now my life is stuck Experiences of adolescents and young people during COVID 19

HIV and SRH healthcare delivery experiences of South African healthcare workers and adolescents and young people during COVID 19

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Even if I’m well informed, I will never get it

Art-based reflections from 12 years of adolescent health and development-related research in South Africa

TAGAZINE

Digital Zine

The TAGAZINE is a visualised snapshot of the TAG members’ experiences during the height of COVID-19 and South Africa’s lockdown.

It is the result of everyone’s collective efforts and engagements over the last two years between the Western Cape and Eastern Cape. Despite being unable to be together in person, our virtual gatherings helped us stay together in heart and spirit.

The TAGAZINE represents the variety of activities that TAG members engaged with remotely over Facebook. It includes their insights, discussions and questions. It is also an interactive zine where the reader can engage with check-in activities and main activities that probe about experiences during the pandemic and how it has impacted our daily lives.

Feel free to engage with these activities yourself!

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Published

Papers

Even if Im well informed I will never get it

‘NOW MY LIFE IS STUCK!’

Resourcing Resilience