Africa has an increasingly youthful population.Young people are bubbling with energy which needs to be redirected to positive energy.Institutions of higher learning across the world attract young people who undertake diverse course .Many young people get out of university learning without having adequate exposure to social struggles and injustices happening in communities.
It is against this backdrop that Fahamu Africa through the Your Voice Matters Project -an initiative supported by Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung (RLS), is nurturing young university students to become social justice actors and amplify voice for marginalised and excluded groups.The project works with university students in Kenya ,Uganda and Tanzania.In Kenya , the project works with students from University of Nairobi(UoN) Technical University of Kenya (TUK), Catholic University of Eastern Africa ,Kenyatta University , Tangaza University , Egerton University and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology(JKUAT).In Uganda, the project works with Makerere University and Kampala International University whereas in Tanzania , the project works with University of Bagamoyo and University of Dar es Salaam.
Through organised trainings on leadership and mentorship, community organising , movement building , young people get equipped with skills necessary to enable transformation of communities .The trainings are also tailored with exercises that bring about consciousness amongst the youth .Examples include Gender Analysis exercise to determine who controls resources and Take a Step Forward for Justice to show how inequality is perpetuated in society .
Through the initiative , young people get to utilise the courses learnt in university to create awareness at the community and impart the same skills in the community.For example students taking law are responsible for legal rights awareness in different communities , those undertaking course in natural resource management visit communities and discuss resource mapping, others undertaking gender studies organise sessions on gender analysis within communities .Furthermore students are encouraged through community visits and transect walks to understand the various social justice struggles communities face and what solutions can be explore to address these struggles.
This enables students to get exposed to issues happening in the community and at the same time listen to community experiences on injustice ranging from voices of women in extractives , rights violations of communities living in informal settlements , to the voices of young people whose families are affected by police brutality and enforced disappearances among other injustices.
Through these interactions , students have become advocates within their educational institutions as well as surrounding communities .Students can therefore become very good advocates for advancing social justice within communities.