What it means to involve Young Minds
During the Youth Convening, various African youth leaders made different pledges. This pledges were ambitious initiatives that participants believed are invaluable to the success of promoting youth inclusion and/or tackling youth challenges. However, despite their noble intent many are unable to fulfill their promises due to various issues. I believe that one of those issues is: how we can engage well established organizations and leverage on their network so that we can be ambassadors of change in our respective countries.
To provide this solution, I will start with an Ashoka quote ‘Africa’s youth are leaders of today’. The youth convening network brought together a sample of Africa’s young changemakers. Young people who are not only witnesses of problem, but advocates, doers and shapers providing tangible solutions. I am a change leader and having identifies this problem, I am compelled to provide a solution.
Youth inclusion, in my opinion, simply refers to ensuring young people are a part of development activities. This is from socioeconomic to political participation. However with the tainted state of politics in Africa, the youth inclusion agenda should be apolitical. It should aim to encourage active citizenship of young people from the community level to policy formulation. And the main line of action to focus on three key pillars: Education, integration and social advancement of young people. With this hind sight, our starting point is a youth round table discussion. We picture ourselves being able to create a movement of reflection, ideas and thought as to how we can address youth employment challenges in the country.
This initiative, though Noble, isn't one that we can undertake independently. It requires proactive engagement of stakeholders working with issues related to youth and employment. Hence our starting point is a round table discussion. An opportunity for all the stakeholders within this sector to engage, provoke thought and creating knowledge.
More often than not, we assume we know the realities of the other person. Assumptions are made by industry leaders as what can be done to tackle youth challenges. Policies are passed and various strategies put in place. However in the long run all this goes to waste as many of the approaches used fail. So the first step is engaging all parties affected including young people. Through their leaders, young people can voice their concerns and aid in coming up with solutions.
Through round table discussions we can initiate and solidify institutional relations. This efforts prove invaluable in establishing contacts and enabling the diffusion of activities and consolidation of support to undertake this endeavor.