Date of Conferral





Human Services


Barbara Benoliel


Research has provided evidence that child participation and agency can contribute to child protection. Child participation and agency in the context of war and conflicts are still under-researched. The purpose of this qualitative multiple case study was to explore the agency experiences of adolescents in Yemen in implementing and leading community service initiatives following participating in a youth empowerment program. Using Zimmerman’s empowerment theory to guide the study, 5 people aged between 18 and 22 years who had participated in a program were interviewed about their agency experience when they were adolescents. Narrative data was analyzed using thematic analysis and cross-case synthesis. Archival photos and documents were analyzed and included in the data. Study findings included (a) positive impacts of child agency, (b) the value of adult mentorship, (c) lack of awareness about child participation, (d) deficiencies within the Yemeni education system, and (e) possible secondary negative consequences of child agency. The main result of the study is a child agency model, which explains how child agency consists of inputs, process, and outputs. More research is recommended to explore the deficiencies in the educational system and child protection in the context of child participation and agency programming. Campaigns to raise awareness about children’s rights to participation are recommended. Findings may be used by international human rights organizations to promote child participation, agency, and empowerment.