Res Involv Engagem. 2022 Oct 22;8(1):57. doi: 10.1186/s40900-022-00393-3.
BACKGROUND: Youth violence is a global public health issue and the highest rates are reported in Low and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs). Higher rates of youth violence are reported in Sri Lanka as well. Students who fail to continue higher studies in schools or enter the universities in Sri Lanka, enroll in technical colleges and are associated with a higher number of risk factors of violence. This study aims to empower youth (15-29 years old) of a technical college in Matale district, Sri Lanka, to carry out activities among themselves to improve their knowledge, change perceptions, and violence-related behaviours.
METHODS: The Participatory Action Research (PAR) approach will be used. The study participants will be eighty students in a technical college in Matale district, Sri Lanka. The study period will be three years. Study participants will also be collaborators and they will involve actively in all stages of the study. A health promotion intervention will be implemented to identify determinants of youth violence and to design and implement actions while monitoring the changes. The data will be collected mainly through focus group discussions and key informant interviews both before and after the health promotion intervention. Additionally, a self-administered questionnaire will be used and the principal investigator will maintain a reflective diary. The qualitative data will be analysed thematically whereas quantitative data will be analysed using descriptive statistics. Data will be triangulated to increase the rigour of the study.
DISCUSSION: According to literature, PAR is not widely used in health promotion. The enabling and empowerment goals of health promotion are fulfilled in PAR. Thus, this will be a novel experience for researchers and this will stimulate discussion on the combination of PAR and health promotion. This study design itself promotes active participant involvement and it may generate effective youth-led, culturally appropriate actions to address youth violence. The findings will describe what works and why it works and will help Sri Lanka and similar LMICs to create safe environments for youth in educational institutes or training colleges.