Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Civically engaging young African leaders


In Africa, where young people make up the majority population in many countries, there are some promising opportunities for engaging young people in community service. These initiatives are showing the benefit of tapping into the enthusiasm of young people to improve and build their communities.

This week President Obama is also tapping into that cohort by hosting young leaders from over 40 sub-Saharan African nations to discuss the future for their society and what they hope to see within the next 50 years.

The event is a town hall meeting, and representatives will come from both governmental and private sectors. Discussions will likely examine transparency and accountability in government, as well as entrepreneurship and empowerment of each nation’s citizens.

Representatives are attending workshops at the State Department about education, freedom of expression, human rights advocacy, HIV/AIDS and other governmental and continental concerns. Representatives will also visit Capitol Hill, meet Members of Congress, visit the US Chamber of Commerce, and meet former Peace Corps volunteers. Additionally, in September there is a planned launch of a regional African Youth Volunteer Corps. The African Youth Volunteer Corps (AUYVC) intends to “promote youth participation, capacity building and empowerment through service and skills exchange driven by the philosophy of Pan-Africanism,” and will engage young Africans as volunteers in different African communities.

Through AUYVC, Africans aged 23-30 years will be able to find positions as interns, Junior Professional Officers or Volunteers within Member States of the African Union. The goal is that after four years the program will successfully have over 2,000 volunteers, from 70% of African countries.

This promising initiative is tapping into a valuable resource in Africa – it’s young people – to meet critical needs in communities throughout the continent. More resources about innovative service programs in Africa can be found on ICP’s Program and Policy Database.

photo courtesy of: Alex Johnson

1 comment:

Karthik said...

Give them the power of making real decisions on the ways that they fund, allocate, grant, change, impact and even present to your community. Let them do the work while you give structure to help them find their voice.
Engaging Young People


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