Unemployed and also excluded, youth can be a source of disruption
SEE ALSO :Team to give idle youth jobsTraditionally, youth are viewed as part of the problem. Youth have not been successfully integrated into civil society and decision-making frameworks. Youth are most vulnerable to social problems, with almost no voice in governance. This has enormous negative implication to the country and communities. Young women are doubly disadvantaged. The active, informed and voluntary involvement of young people in decision-making and the life of their communities, both locally and nationally is fundamental. Participation means work with and by people, not merely work for them. The human rights approach to development acknowledges that youth have the right to participation, including under 18 years old who have the right “to express views freely in all matters affecting [them], the views…being given due weight in accordance with [their] age and maturity” (Convention on the rights of the Child 1989, Article 12). In its programming, International Center for Policy and Conflict sees and engages youth as bedrock assets in inclusive participatory development, especially in policy formulation, planning and participatory budgeting processes. The country must seize the opportunity created by devolution. Youth must be as part of solution rather than part of the problem because they have vast potential for contribution to communities untapped. Promoting ownership Youth are drivers of core drivers of economic development. Creation of work opportunities can turn current wasted productive capacity into positive force for development, especially at the county level. Youth need to be empowered to participate in decisions affecting their livelihoods.Youth are critical resources making an impact in communities today.
SEE ALSO :What to do in a toxic workplaceYouth as participants in development have made impact in that: it strengthens young people’s abilities to meet their own needs, prevents/reduces vulnerabilities to political, economic and social instabilities; builds young people’s commitment to solutions, promoting ownership and sustainability of interventions, and enables the exercise of citizenship, promoting learning, empowerment and greater control. What needs to be done to escalate youth active participation? First, recognize youth as leaders in their communities and emphasise youth capacity and interest in contributing in the full spectrum of decision-making on policy decisions that affect their lives both at national and county levels. Second, adopt open and inclusive youth-led participatory development approach, ensuring that it draws upon their energy, creativity and skills to create positive change and implicitly values young people as an asset for society. Young people’s ownership of the strategy will be a key determinant for its success. Third, expanding and broadening the base of youth civic engagement must be prioritised and supported. Greater civic engagement is a pathway towards public governance reform and more equitable development in the region as it is believed to decrease the likelihood of involvement in violent and extremist groups; build stronger social and civic values that are essential foundations for good governance and employability peaceful co-existence. Finally, youth engagement in public life does not take place in a vacuum. On the contrary, their participation and involvement will be shaped by, and need the opportunities provided by the broader ecosystem of rules, laws, institutions, policies and practices Mr Wainaina is Executive Director, International Centre for Policy and Conflict
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