Youth Led Programming – A Sustainable Approach

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. Young people need to develop skills for economic self-reliance beyond formal employment. They need skills in leadership, communication and most importantly, constitutionalism. They need outlets to identify and nurture their talents. Three core pillars anchor the genesis of a sustained Youth engagement in any context.

a     All Rounded programming at Community Level
It is prudent to initiate community programs predominantly because more often than not, the challenges and problems faced by the Youth are in the contexts of group and social insufficiencies. Such programs need to give rise to Youth oriented institutions which in turn identify and initiate cohesive ventures such as sports and education that in turn harness Youth identity, self & group confidence as empowerment and nurturing of selfless leadership and self/community governance. Idyllic programs should thus be designed as youth platforms towards adult life to empower and capacitate them on political, economic and social spheres. These institutions will provide requisite platforms for peer bonding as well as the biased male-female relationships – in relevance to GBV.

b     Participation, Leadership and Ownership of Programs
Youth who are spared from economic huddles and are relevantly accommodated in decision making are more likely successfully transit to Adult life. To realize multiple-fold success in the Youth context, its programs need to have and enforce Youth-leadership from the onset. I have learnt that when the Youth are accorded decision making roles in initiating, harnessing and nurturing their own programs, they more often than not tend to participate adequately and as such develop their leadership skills incrementally.
It is not enough to avail resources both financial and human, however; it is also prudent to involve the Youth in designing yearly plans as well as implementation of activities. Over and above else, to realize quality in this pillar, it is prudent for the Youth to be trained on practical citizen skills as debates and public speaking, advocacy, budgeting and Monitoring.

c     Critical attention must be paid to Young women if programs are to be sustainable and far reaching.
Participation of Female Youth Country over is less than satisfactory. Whilst young men are more likely to participate in social ills than young women, young women are more likely to suffer more. In most cases, young women are more likely to have the greatest burden in the household and community settings stemming from lack of access to information, lack to decision making spaces e.g. family planning to gender based violence and HIV/AIDS. Female Youth are less likely to part take in relevant education, skills training, leadership or political events.

It is prudent to design Youth programs that offer specific spaces for direct engagement of the female Youth in relation to time and content. M & E frameworks should also disaggregate the Youth outcomes on gender basis to accommodate an in-depth analysis of program relevance to the female Youth. 

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