Year : 2006  Download

Democratic societies are built around opportunities and structures that involve all segments of society in matters that affect them. The youth constitute a large part of the world’s population which cannot and should not be left out from participating in matters that affect them. Realising meaningful institutional youth participation in inter-generational structures is a challenging enterprise that requires profound changes in how societies think about their young people. These reports examine the practical implications of shifting perceptions of youth and the role they play in society.

They also discuss the barriers to effective youth participation and the possible ways of overcoming them. Attempts by youth and youth groups at participating in human development have been met by barriers of various kinds. On the political front, youth have become victims of their own cynicism about politics in spite of the fact that politics is the terrain of participation where most influential decisions are made. On the economic front, poverty, underemployment and unemployment have barred young people from committing their energy toward their own good as well as that of society in general. Youth are plagued by problems of attitude that can be attributed to gerantocratic and conservative adults and their patronizing sentiments. More recently however, encouraged by the growing understanding of their causes, youth are now struggling to emerge as cooperators of a new social order. Today’s youth seem to no longer accept or revere the structures that exclude their voices and are increasingly demanding a voice of their own.