African youth leaders create the Youth Advocacy Guide
UNICEF launched on 24 July 2019 NAIROBI / JOHANNESBURG, the Youth Advocacy Guide, to help young people cope with the problems they face in their communities. Co-created with young African citizens, the Guide aims to empower young people to make positive changes in their lives and their communities.
The Guide was created through workshops with young people in Kenya, Uganda, Mozambique and Côte d'Ivoire, along with hundreds more, from dozens of countries in sub-Saharan Africa, submitting input via the internet. The Youth Advocacy Guide seeks to support their efforts to address concerns ranging from unemployment to child safety, the quality of education to climate emergencies.
With the world's 10 youngest countries being in Africa, never has there been such a critical moment to listen to the youth of the continent. They want a seat at the table, where decisions are made about their world. The UNICEF Youth Advocacy Guide aims to help them find that seat and articulate their opinions.
The launch of the Youth Advocacy Guide comes at a special time. This year we commemorate 30 years of the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child. The four core principles of the Convention of the Rights of the Child are non-discrimination; devotion to the best interests of the child; the right to life, survival and development; and respect for the views of young people. UNICEF believes the Youth Advocacy Guide is a tool for young people to access what is envisioned in the Convention.
The Guide will help youth as they embark on fact-finding missions to gain a deeper understanding of their issues, develop an advocacy plan, and then meaningfully engage with policy. It also has sections on the importance of networking with like-minded individuals and how best to research topics of interest.
The creation of the guide was done in 4 steps.
1st stage: workshops with SAIIA
UNICEF and the South African Institute of International Affairs organized workshops with young leaders in these four countries: Kenya (12 young people), Uganda (21 young people) Mozambique (11 young people) and Ivory Coast (10 young people). The 54 young authors presented their experiences in youth engagement and the barriers preventing them and their peers from creating the change they want to see. Many felt that adults did not take them seriously, while others expressed a lack of understanding of the policies that affect them and the processes of public participation. In the Guide, editors propose proactive ways to overcome these challenges.
In Côte d'Ivoire, from 27 to 30 November, 10 young leaders of various organizations were trained as part of the drafting of the youth advocacy guide at UNICEF, on advocacy techniques by the South African team SAIIA. This training has been rewarding for us as we have been equipped with tools that will allow us now to reach Roger Hart's level 8 on the scale. The ideal situation in which the voices of young people are heard and taken into account by politicians. In addition, we have seen the importance of consulting policy documents before any change action is taken, as this allows us to avoid repetition but rather to carry out actions that produce real changes and take into account the opinions populations. Finally, with each other's experiences, we have reflected on the content of the youth engagement guide, we want this guide to be accessible to all and easy to understand.
From now on, any young person wishing to engage, to carry out actions to impact and make change things will be able to be inspired by a guide written by young people, which will give him the steps to follow and studies of cases allowing him to lead to well his idea. Because yes, everything starts from an idea in the face of a finding that will have to materialize to create a better world.
As a result of these workshops, we moved on to the second stage: The Call for Story Submissions.
From December 13, 2018 to January 07, 2019 we have from a Google form made calls to history. We were looking for stories of young active citizens, young people who solved a problem and made a positive difference in their communities by advocating for positive change.
We had collected a large number of stories that led us to the third stage, that of the study of stories.
This step consisted of synthesizing each of the stories and ranking them from the most relevant to the least relevant while making the different steps to be resumed in order to lead to a plea. Among the stories selected for inclusion in the guide, we have that of the Ivorian Bamba Lima who was affected by the death of her cousin following drugs, decided to create an association that would raise awareness about drugs and help the victims. She began by raising awareness among her friends and neighbors in the neighborhood before eventually setting up her association.
The guide took shape after these workshops and feedback of young leaders, these drawings, these calls to stories and was launched in Nairobi / Johannesburg on July 24, 2019. So closing these 4 steps.
In Côte d'Ivoire, the guide was launched on July 26, 2019 by UNICEF Côte d'Ivoire. Among the 7 co-creators of the guide, 5 come from Côte d'Ivoire. They are: Sarah Bintou Traore, Cheick Diallo, Mory Diomande, Mohamed Fadiga and Nikiema Tara.
The UNICEF Youth Advocacy Guide can be found at www.voicesofyouth.org/youthadvocacy. It will also be made available in hard copy format at UNICEF offices and partner organisations.