What have we learnt from a 15,000 Euro Youth project support by the International Secretariat?
Since joining Busiki LRP, I have heard the Youth being christened all sorts of names. The one I hear most is, “the youth are the most disoriented and most tasking lot to work with”. Well, the Youth themselves vehemently disagree and usually give truck-loads of reasons for this, in their defense. There’s an adage that says, “Never judge a book by its cover”. Young people who are jobless, sidelined, have no opportunities, are not integrated into community issues fully and have no foundational skills are a liability and a high risk to a Country. Any Country!
Whilst still working on its baby steps in relation to Youth, Busiki LRP received 15,000 Euros to implement a Youth Project that focused on supported Youth to develop skills for economic self-reliance beyond formal employment. Not only empower and strategically anchor them for leadership, communication and most importantly, constitutionalism as well as outlets to identify and nurture their talents.
Programmatic interventions need long-term support structures to be effective in empowering would be leaders, change agents and models. The huddles faced by the Youth are in the contexts of group and social insufficiencies such as programs, sports and debates that in turn give rise to identity, self & group confidence as empowerment and nurtured leadership should be key. A broad-based “blanket” approach of ad hoc interventions on this front targeting large numbers of Youth does not lead to sustainable benefits rather, creates a buzz.
I have established that when the Youth are accorded participatory roles in initiating, harnessing and nurturing their own programs, they are more likely to develop their leadership skills incrementally. However, it is not enough to avail resources both financial and human, however; it is prudent to involve the Youth in designing plans, implementation of activities, monitoring and reporting success stories as well as highlighting failures.
It is prudent to design Youth programs that offer specific spaces for customized engagement of the female Youth in relation to time, spaces and content. M & E frameworks should also disaggregate the Youth outcomes on gender basis to accommodate an in-depth analysis of program design and relevance to the female Youth. As such, explicit attention must be paid to young women to ensure that all programs take root and “grow”.
Wittingly or Unwittingly, Governments and Organizations fund Youth programs to the tune of “a drop in the ocean” and expect outcomes that are not commensurate to the time, effort and resources – human and financial. To mitigate the realization of desired outcomes in working with the Youth, it is prudent that contextualized operation strategies be in place to support and partner with Youth in different regions. This aspect caters for diversity of cultures and ideals.