Reaching Out to African Youth on the Post-2015 Agenda
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More than 60 percent of the population in African countries is younger than 35, making the youth Africa's best development asset now and in the future. Thankfully, African youth voices are being reached out to and being heard. African Monitor is in partnership with Text To Change and other local partners with an initiative titled Voice Africa's Future that uses innovative mobile technology to include youth participation in the post-2015 development framework. The initiative took place in 10 countries with both offline and online work where African youth were able to express their vision through various events, roundtables and thousands of SMSs. They just published the report titled "Emerging Perspectives of African Youth on a Post-2015 Development Framework" (http://www.africayouth2015.org/assets//files/VAF_Final.pdf) that examines the youth responses.
The perspectives of the most marginalized and poorest were sought in rural and urban communities. First, youth were asked to answer "what is your hope or dream of a better future for you and Africa?" Then they were requested to rank the concepts that emerged from the first question in order of significance to them. The report features the eleven broad themes that have two overarching and cross-cutting themes. The cross-cutting themes that emerged were 1) African Advancement and 2) Youth Empowerment&Self-Development. African Advancement was defined as an "African youth vision for a united and independent Africa advancing in political, social, cultural and economic aspects and promoting its African identity, culture and value system." Youth Empowerment and Self-Development was defined as an "african youth vision for empowerment and self-betterment as the next generation of leaders, entrepreneurs and professionals."
The categories unveiled from the initiative were as follows:
-Employment and access to economic opportunities
-Better access to quality education and skills development
-Peace and stability
-Better access to quality health services
-Environmental sustainability and conservation
Read the report (linked above) to go through the individual countries of Botswana, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Ghana and read insightful quotes from the participating youth. One of my favorites is from a young female in Molepolole who’s better future for Africa is: "A self-reliant and independent Africa that prioritizes taking care of its people. An economically diverse Africa which has alternatives as far as its economy is concerned. A loving and caring Africa, that its people are educated and well informed on the different ways of life and not only academically but socially as well, a politically stable Africa with democracy being the core root."
The youth emphasized that development goals in the post-2015 development framework need to result in improved livelihoods, to eliminate human deprivation, hunger and poverty and that they should be embedded on equal societies,which promote gender equality, the reduction of income inequalities and elimination of all forms of exploitation, marginalization and discrimination against the aged, disabled, children and other vulnerable groups. Through their responses, youth showed they are confident they can be the generators of development, not just receivers.