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LOCALIZING THE AFRICAN YOUTH CHARTER

Convinced that Africa’s greatest resource is its youthful population and that through their active and full participation; Africans can surmount the difficulties that lie ahead (AYC, 2006:1)

Africa’s robust Youth environment and increasing Youth population makes her the most youthful populated continent in the world. According to the African Union, about 65% of the total population of Africa is currently between the ages of 18 and 35 years, making Africa the continent with the youngest population when compared to regions such as Europe and Asia.

Since inception and for over a decade of work in Africa, AfriGrowth Foundation’s Youth-focused programs have been customized towards building the capacity of African Youths to serve as active change agents. In line with its continuous investment in Youths, on October 29, 2020, AfriGrowth Foundation convened a Virtual Conference, tagged the Illuminate Africa Youth Conference, which created a virtual open and inclusive platform for African Youth Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), key stakeholders on Youth Development in the continent and African Youths in the Continent and diaspora to converge with the intent to dialogue and address pertinent issues affecting their participation and engagement in developing the Continent. The maiden edition with the theme– Instituting Pan-African Youth Engagement and Inclusion in Post COVID-19 Africa, explored the roles of African Youth Civil Society Organizations in a post COVID 19 era, especially in the implementation of the African Youth Charter.

There was effective participation from credible stakeholders and key players in the public and civil society sector:

1. Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, Nigeria;

2. Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports, Angola;

3.  Permanent Mission of Nigeria to ECOWAS;

4. West African Civil Society Institute;

5. West Africa Civil Society Organizations Forum; and

6. Youth Civil Society Organizations from Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon, Sierra Leone, Kenya,  Malawi, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Angola, Egypt, India, Saudi Arabia and the United States.

  

The African Youth Charter does not only provide the Governments, Youth, Civil Society and International Partners with a continental framework, which underlines the rights, duties and freedom of Youth. It also paves the way for the development of national programs and strategic plans for Youth empowerment. The Charter is particularly important because it builds on earlier Organization of African Unity documents such as the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child of 1990. It remains the most comprehensive African Union Youth policy framework.

Findings from the pre-conference survey conducted by the Foundation revealed that 65% of respondents (African Youths) had no knowledge of the African Youth Charter. 72% of the respondents had no understanding of the Action Plan for Africa Youth Empowerment (APAYE). This lapse knowledgebase of Youth as regards important policies and programs was the bane for effective engagement and participation. One of the unanimous assertions from resource persons in the civil society sector was that the domestication and implementation of the African Youth Charter was yet to make the needed impact on the lives of African Youths. Some observed lack of accountability and engagement from the African Union, in respect of monitoring the implementation process.

Stakeholders, resource persons and participants affirmed that the African Youth Charter is indeed a veritable document, which can effectively champion youth engagement, inclusive development and empowerment. A clarion call was made for improved synergy and partnership between civil society organizations to enhance advocacy and overall implementation of the African Youth Charter. Currently, 39 African countries have ratified and adopted the African Youth Charter. It is imperative for African Youths to effectively champion the post ratification process by advocating for the implementation of the Charter. This will be achieved via the creation of partnership and synergy of diverse Youth Civil Society Organizations in Africa.

Based on the global clarion call for Youth engagement and inclusive development, the Based on the veritable findings and outcomes of the Conference, AfriGrowth Foundation is emboldened to facilitate activities and programs, under its Illuminate Africa Youth Initiative, premised on improved advocacy and implementation of the African Youth Charter, in partnership with other CSOs, international agencies and key stakeholders in government.

In the first phase of this project, AfriGrowth Foundation will facilitate a credible Publicity Campaign on the African Youth Charter, in order to create more awareness on the Charter; targeting 5 Million African Youths. This plan will be executed using the digital and social media; as well as the print and broadcast media. There will be veritable stakeholders’ engagement; targeted government, as well as international agencies. In the second phase, AfriGrowth Foundation will facilitate a learning series, in which African Youth CSOs will be trained and enlightened on how to participate in the domestication of the Charter in their respective countries. AfriGrowth Foundation is open to forging credible partnership, which will culminate in the successful implementation of this program, as there’s power in collaboration.

The importance of the African Youth Charter presupposes that, the goals of development are only attainable where the Youths are aware of their innate responsibilities to themselves, their family and their nation. With the adoption of the African Youth Charter, Youths should be fully involved in ensuring ratification and implementation in African States. AfriGrowth Foundation is fully aligned to this assertion and will continuously advocate for a more collaborative and open approach.

 

Join AfriGrowth Foundation in Advocating for the Implementtion of the African Youth Charter
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