Rejuvenating democracy, giving youths voice

28 May, 2022 - 00:05 0 Views
Rejuvenating democracy, giving youths voice

The Herald

Tinashe Nyamushanya 

Youth Interactive Writer

One of the pillars of democracy-development strategy for a sustainable future constitutes the influence of youths as fundamental support of intergenerational equity. 

Henceforth the involvement of youths in a national development spectrum aligns with the global best practices on youth empowerment.

Meaningful and robust youths empowerment strategies therefore should place the youths at the locus of power in decision making. 

This would mean that strategies that aim at advancing the status of youths are true representative of the concerns of youths as key stakeholders of the empowerment program. 

Put simply it means that “No decision about us without us”.

The most pertinent question to answer then will be the circumstances or the enabling environment that will enhance the participation of youths in the development processes. The yardstick measure that determines a conducive development climate for youth empowerment will be policy influence and protection by the law.

With reference to policy influence, it seeks to unpack the level of youth representation in key decision making platforms and forums. 

Development oriented institutions such as political parties, Government institutions, civil society organizations among others should embrace on youths quotas, legislative quotas and party quotas for youths. Critical to this is the establishment of National Youth Policy framework that seek to enfranchise the youths to formally participate in the  development facets of a nation. 

The protection of law meant the creation of a National Youth Council Act as a key precursor for creating an enabling environment for youths participation.

Some of the current identified predicaments for youth voice include the following:

Minimal Investment in youths to take on representation role: this entails that a number of youths have not been nurtured, groomed and exposed to debate, present and deliberate on current issues hence in most cases left behind.

Lack of knowledge and awareness about the roles: Most youths are unaware of what representation would entail beyond attending development functions and campaigns.

Gender Power Relations: the structural set up of the most African societies impedes and disenfranchise the youths participation in the development process mainly through patriarchal system for the female youths and conservative values for the male figures.

Financial limitations: Without financial muscle it is quite difficult and impossible to influence developmental policies despite the presence of innovative ideas. The national development systems are highly monetized hence inadequate resources would render the youths less influential.

Hence rejuvenating democracy through giving youth voice would mean instituting forums for quick regular discussion with youths to share ideas. It would also mean to popularize and raise awareness about good developmental attributes that are expected from the youths.

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