Attending and actively participating in key conferences and meetings are important parts of advocacy.
When attending a stakeholder meeting as a youth advocate, you should engage with various actors about your issue. These events will help you learn more about your issue from different perspectives and hopefully introduce you to the processes and decision-makers, ultimately responsible for making the policies and legislation around your issue.
Don’t underestimate yourself. Many young people assume that they don’t have the necessary qualifications or skills to attend meetings, workshops or conferences. While you may be just beginning in your education or career, remember that your experiences and ideas are important. You might not be the head of an organisation or hold a PhD in Economics, but your lived experience as a young person today matters, and your voice and views should be heard.
Being confident in yourself is a big part of the battle. Show up. Listen. Say something if you feel the time is right. Make contacts with people. None of this is easy. But you will feel so much better for having tried and having ‘put yourself out there’.
Tips and Tricks for Getting Invited
Get on the list. Securing an invitation to a local or national meeting might be as simple as being on the right mailing list or network. Identify organisations and government sections that work on your issue and ask about stakeholder meetings and whether you can be added to a list of contacts for upcoming meetings, or to a general mailing list.
Use social media. Many decision-makers use social media platforms. If you are on social media, make sure you are following government officials, government departments, organisations, media, business, or other stakeholders related to your issue and see if they are sharing information about meetings, workshops or conferences.
You can create a position paper as you prepare to represent your group. Complete the template in the Youth Advocacy Guide Workbook, and read more about presenting your issue at conferences and meetings here.