YouthCo in the Evaluation Spotlight

YouthCo is a community-driven organization run by and for youth that seeks to engage, educate and empower young people living with or at-risk of HIV and Hep C. Claire O’Gorman, the Peer Education Programs Manager at YouthCo shared some words about a needs assessment they conducted to better inform the delivery of their programming.

Get Connected is a program developed by YouthCO HIV & Hep C Society of BC (YouthCO) that aims to address these mental health, social, and health knowledge needs of youth 21 years old and younger. It uses GIPA principles in engaging youth to direct their own care and well-being through a community of support, inclusion, and empowerment. In order to better understand how YouthCO could most effectively address the self-identified needs of youth living with HIV, we held a day-long event in September, 2012, with 6 participants from 5 different communities. This event had a social emphasis with focus group discussions woven throughout the day. These included a discussion about health goals and barriers, vision boarding, brainstorming resources and ideas, and deciding how to put ideas into action.  

Three main themes emerged from the focus groups: the importance of connectedness, a desire for access to information, and the role of advocacy. The participants also offered tangible next-steps that YouthCO will take to improve services and programs in these three areas. This information was compiled into a final program report that we use to direct our programs and services for youth 21 and under living with HIV.

Creating opportunities for feedback and conducting focus groups with our participants allows YouthCO’s programs to be user-driven. Rather than making assumptions about what young people need or want, we ask and implement according to what they have told us in order to be more effective. This commitment to peer-driven programming acknowledges the value of youth’s ideas, opinions, and knowledge, which in turn empowers us to make informed decisions for their own well-being.”

Thanks for sharing YouthCo!

What sorts of evaluation activities is your organization conducting? Email [email protected] to showcase your evaluation work.


Elayne Vlahaki, MPH
Program Manager
BC HIV/HCV Evaluation Advisory Group