Youth Participation: Concepts, Models and Experiences

  • Child Participation
Pages: 84
Year of Publication: 2006
Country: Africa

Youth have been making enormous contributions to the improvement of life on the planet. There is hardly any function, social, cultural or economic, where youth have not sometime filled from leaders of crusades to nation presidents, from prolific writers to media pundits.

Yet the acknowledgment of their contributions to human and societal development has not been full and proper. Their contributions were not also proportionate to their demographic weight as youth have remained mostly excluded from society’s important and critical socioeconomic decisions. There are also instances where youth are exploited through their labour and courage in militant and insurgent groups and as instruments of political struggle though they end up being the least benefited.

Thus, one can fairly say that attempts by youth and youth groups at participating in human development has been greeted by barriers that come in varied forms and shapes. The problem starts with the lack of a universal definition of youth and the associated subjectivities and idiosyncrasies.

On the political dimension, 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. This cynicism has also its roots partly in the lack of youth-friendly structures and methods of work. Existing political and organizational settings are mostly replete with a culture of patronage and change resistance.

On the economic front, poverty, underemployment and unemployment have barred young people from committing their fresh energy, intellect and force to their own good as well as that of the society. According to an ILO report, halving the world youth unemployment rate would add at least US$ 2.2 trillion to global GDP, equal to around 4 per cent of the 2003 global GDP value. Furthermore, as the report points out, people who get a good start to working life are less likely to experience prolonged unemployment later. “We are wasting an important part of the energy and talent of the most educated youth generation the world has ever had”, said former ILO Director-General Juan Somavia. The problem of unemployment and underemployment is compounded by

Language: English
Published by: African Child Policy Forum (ACPF)
Author: Shimelis Tsegaye
Located in: Publications

An independent, not-for-profit, Pan-African
Institute of policy research and dialogue on the African child.

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Founder Assefa Bequele, PhD

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