Young people across Africa are disproportionately affected by social injustices.From mass unemployment , to lack of skills , school drop out and working under deplorable conditions.In addition , African youth continue to cross the mediterranean in risky modes of travel to earn an income and support families back home.This is very sad given that Africa has the largest deposit of natural resources in the world which if properly utilised can transform the continent and it’s youth.
During elections , young people are easily lured into becoming mercenaries for hire , they are also recruited into being singers and dancers during political campaigns .After the campaigns all the promises during campaigns and the content of political manifestos shortchange young people .This cycle continues between 4-7 years depending on which country one originates from.
Recognising the power of youth in advancing social justice is very important especially disadvantaged youth.Young people have talents such as art, sports innovation and can engage in politics .Youth play a central role in shaping Africa’s future but in many instances they are ignored , the saying being “You are leaders of tomorrow , a tomorrow than never comes”.There is also the sad reality of recycling of aged civil servants back into active workforce , another evidence of lack of trust in the ability of young and further closing away young people from leadership and effective participation.
Fahamu in collaboration with the Human Rights Institute of South Africa (HURISA) and with support from the Norwegian Agency for Exchange Cooperation(NOREC) is building the capacity of young people and nurturing them on social justice .This is done through placement of young people from Kenya and South Africa where Kenyan youth go to South Africa for 3 months and South Africans come to Kenya for 3 months are attached to social movements and other civil society organisations to learn and what they learn they replicate back in their home countries .
The project has seen young people utilise their skills in nurturing fellow youth , organise training sessions where young people learn from each other and are able to seek solutions to societal problems collectively.This also helps young people have an alternative world view of issues affecting young people across border.
Through the project , the young people get to speak out during events and share their in-country experiences on issues affecting youth in their respective countries .They also get to undertake project related work , implementing hand in hand with fellow youth.
Reaching out to young people with the project enables capacity enhancement on Pan-Africanism and the ideals of Pan-Africanism, leadership and value training , movement building for social justice sessions as well as social accountability and community organising ,it also helps communities to understand that young people are not “troublesome” but can actually transform communities for the better.
It is only when we are able to sit down with young people , provide them with opportunities , understand their priorities and give them space and an enabling environment for meaningful participation and voice , then young people in Africa can achieve their dreams and make the continent a better place to live.