The Role of Youth in Leadership

By Azugbene Solomon

Youth leadership is the practice of teens exercising authority over themselves or others. Youth leadership has been elaborated upon as a theory of youth development in which young people gain skills and knowledge necessary to lead civic engagement, education reform and community organizing activities.

Youth leadership opportunities are often overlooked by adults, either knowingly or unknowingly, but the results are the same; a lost opportunity for young people to take the lead. Even when adults consider themselves champions for youth in leadership roles, many times adults are asked to assume the leadership positions instead of letting youth take the lead.

Youth participation in leadership is a critical priority. The situation in Nigeria and many African countries have created conditions that hardly favour young people.

Some of the problems that impede the effective participation of the youth in leadership are mainly to do with inequalities in the social, economic and political arena. One of them is the shortage of opportunities for education and training.

Additionally, the failure to respect the human rights of the youth as active citizens has created difficulties when it comes to youth participation in political leadership.

Levels of youth unemployment are so high that young people engage in vices that do not contribute to their well-being but put their lives and potential at risk.

The people demand to play a major role in ensuring that the so-called “mentors” or “elders”, who want to cling to power or leadership positions that belong to all citizens, are held accountable for making policies that fail to empower the young majority.

Youth participation in socio-economic and civic development is vital for the development of any country.

Youth involvement is an important means to overcome disrespect and marginalisation of young people at a time the continent is experiencing a boom in the population of the youth.

Youths must seek to participate in government, politics and policy formulation. We must shelve aside our responsibilities of joining mainstream politics and forming healthy and progressive alliances among ourselves and participating in all issues of national interest. This way, our voices will be heard and our views considered.

Conclusion
We need the wisdom of the old because if the energy of youth is left unchecked, it portends imminent danger. It is time for the young generation to stop seeing themselves as too young. We all have something to offer this great Africa continent.

Reference
1. Mwnation.com Youths’ role in leadership by Steve Binali.
2. Canr.msu.edu Youth in leadership roles by Connie Lange.

Advertisements

Enhancing Youth Political Participation For Africa’s Development.

By Anticorruptionintl.org (kgoremu sandu)

Africa is a continent of the young. In 2015, of a total population of close to 1.2 billion people, an estimated 541 million (45.1%) were under the age of 18. A further 458 million (38.2%) were between the ages of 18 and 45. Young people between the ages of 15 and 35 constitute one-third of Africa’s population. However, youth’s influence on national politics remains limited. Young people need leadership opportunities to be able to gain experience and fulfill their potential. It is important, therefore, to integrate young people at the helm of both the political and non-profit sectors. Recognizing that young people, like all people, want to be appreciated for the role that they play in society, they need viable avenues through which they can use their abilities and talents to make positive contributions.

Many young people in Africa look for political opportunities or try to create opportunities for participation, only to find their ideas resisted or rejected. In the absence of such opportunities, they are more likely to find other avenues of expressing frustration and form alternative groups in order to feel a sense of belonging for example #This Flag, a social group in Zimbabwe which caused social unrest in Harare (the capital city). If young people are not given viable means of political participation, they can pose a threat of up rise in societies. The result of some governments in Africa of failing to constructively engage youths is that their potential is often lost or diverted.

Factors specifically influencing youth political participation included the following:

Distrust of politics and political parties: In many African countries for example Zimbabwe youth associate African politics with politicians who are corrupt, dishonesty and they do not fulfill their promises. Many youths avoid politics, and preferably become active within civil society.

Distrust of electoral processes and institutions: Countries such as Burkina Faso, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Gambia, Zimbabwe and Zambia have experienced disputed election results and in some cases, discrepant vote-tallying systems used by candidates and by electoral institutions. Perceptions of problems with the reporting of results in Africa has led to skepticism about electoral processes, and raised questions of transparency and the independence of institutions. Hence many youths hesitate to vote due to the electoral system error.

Under-representation within government and political parties: In many countries for example Zambia and Kenya, youths feel that they are targeted by politicians seeking votes during election campaigns. However, once elections are over, they are not adequately represented in political parties or in government. Even when young candidates are elected, they often feel they have no political power, and are excluded from the decision-making processes. Many Africans feel their peers would not be more likely to turn out at the polls if more young candidates are appointed to meaningful, influential and prominent positions.

Factors hindering young candidates running for elected office included:

Patronage and resources: Young candidates are affected by political patronage networks and a lack of financial resources as obstacles if they are interested in running for elected office. Well-resourced candidates and political parties in a number of African countries for example Zambia they buying support through giving away cash and gifts, such as maize.

Age limits in electoral law: A number of African countries for example Zimbabwe has age limits in their electoral laws, which prevented candidates under the age of 35 or 40 from contesting national elections.

Inter-generational differences: In some African countries for example Gambia, youths are discouraged from running for elected office because of perceptions that leadership should be reserved for older people.

Recommendations

Youth Empowerment through Civic Education

Education activities aimed at improving the participation of youths in political leadership should prioritize leadership training with an emphasis on management skills and accountability so that when elected, young politicians can continue to play an important role in inspiring others to participate in politics. Second, “youth for youth” role models should be encouraged. As more youth gain leadership positions in political parties, it is important that they help to educate other young people. Finally, political party procedures should be standardized and institutionalized in order to create predictable legal and constitutional frameworks that would enable hardworking, determined, and committed youth to navigate the political system.

Strengthening public policy making skills

The youth constituency in Africa is too large to remain on the margins of the democratic process. African political parties must engage in multifaceted programmes and start thinking more creatively about how to bring youth on board. Specifically, political parties need to start taking a more proactive approach to engaging with youth as voters, electoral candidates and electoral managers. This, in turn, requires political parties to engage more effectively with key partners on youth-related issues. Two actors of particular importance are political parties and civil society organizations.

Political parties remain a significant barrier to youth participation in decision-making structures through their control over the submission of the lists of electoral candidates. Political parties should therefore consider facilitating interparty dialogue to foster broader agreements on the need for the advancement of youth as electoral contestants. Furthermore, by working with youth-led or youth-focused civil society groups, political parties are more likely to achieve their goals when it comes to promoting youth as voters. Political parties also need to look at their own internal structures and policies to promote youth participation in the management of electoral processes

Kudzai Goremusandu is a strategic, innovative, dynamic, goal getter, enterprising leader and leadership consultant. He is the founder of Africa Leadership Insights Institute .Kudzai holds an award for effective media communication from the University of Zimbabwe. Kudzai is based in Harare, Zimbabwe. He can be contacted @ kgoremusandu@gmail.com

3 Ways Young People Can Come Together To Fight Climate Change

By Web.unep.org (Shakir Akorede)

According to the United Nations, “Climate change is one of the major challenges of our time and adds considerable stress to our societies and to the environment. From shifting weather patterns that threaten food production, to rising sea levels that increase the risk of catastrophic flooding, the impacts of climate change are global in scope and unprecedented in scale. Without drastic action today, adapting to these impacts in the future will be more difficult and costly.”

It is mind-boggling that the effects of climate change are already manifesting across all borders of the world and across the oceans. Despite the efforts and agreements, however, experts argue that world leaders are not adequately prepared for the risks from a changing climate and, at the same time, are not doing enough to tackle the global disaster.

True or false, climate change is now affecting every country on every continent of the world. Its palpable effects are disrupting national economies and affecting lives, costing people, communities and countries dearly today and even more tomorrow.

Given the environmental threat, there’s more work to be done especially for the young generation if the world is truly important to them. This article highlights 3 strategic ways youths across the world can help protect their home – the world.

1. Go green.

Environmental protection requires innovative approaches such that the young generation must be empowered with the right skills to address environmental challenges and beyond.

What is green?

Green means different things to different people from different perspectives. In the environmental context, it is making the world a more livable place for all that lives therein. According to MobilizeGreen, “Green” has become synonymous with the environment, sustainability, and “eco-friendliness.”

From the above, going green is “ensuring a greener environment.” But there’s more to that in terms of realisation. To explain, young people from diverse ethnicities and backgrounds need to pursue more knowledge and practices that can lead to secured environment and sustainable natural resources for present and future generations by increasing their environmental friendliness and taking ecologically responsible decisions.

Parts of the decisions, which entail green practices, include: walking, riding bikes, using public transportation, recycling outside the box, and many others.

2. Collaborate with others (to form organizations).

For quick global effects, young people must continue to take part in intergovernmental climate change processes across the globe. “The role of the private sector in combating climate change is becoming ever more relevant,” says Climate Home.

To this end, more collaborative efforts are crucial to tackling climate change by spreading its awareness among the populace and working closely with governments to ensure policy implementations.

3. Partner with government.

“The United Nations System recognizes the key role that youth play in tackling climate change and works closely with youth-led and youth-focussed organizations around the world through the United Nations Joint Framework Initiative on Children, Youth and Climate Change (Joint Framework Initiative),” says the U.N.

There’s no denying that robust public-private partnership is an efficient way to tackle environmental challenges. As such, youth organizations should partner local, national, and international governments for more frantic efforts to curtail environmental disasters.

Ethiopia looks to young technocrats to lead ambitious reform drive

By ft.com (Tom Wilson)

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has broken with tradition in Ethiopia by appointing young technocrats with international experience to important economic jobs as he seeks to turn the country’s tightly controlled, state-led economy into a competitive free market powered by private capital.

The officials, including Eyob Tolina at the finance ministry, Abebe Abebayehu at the investment commission and Mamo Mihretu in the prime minister’s office, are leading the most ambitious aspects of Mr Abiy’s promised reforms, investors said.

Since taking office a year ago, the reformist leader has promised to overhaul the Ethiopian economy and open previously blocked sectors, such as telecoms and energy, to foreign investment.

To succeed, his youthful appointees must push through reforms to Ethiopia’s sprawling bureaucracy and navigate conservative political officials in the ruling coalition, many of whom remain suspicious of relinquishing too much control of the economy after 28 years of state-led growth.

For Mr Eyob, a former private equity executive and now state minister at the ministry of finance, the ruling party has no choice but to evolve. “We had public-led economic growth and it did run its course, it was obvious,” Mr Eyob told the Financial Times in an interview in Addis Ababa.

“If you didn’t make some pragmatic decisions and shift the course, it would have been a full-blown crisis so you needed to avert that.” In 2016 and 2017, thousands of Ethiopians poured on to the streets, many of them frustrated by the lack of employment generated by an economic policy that had favoured infrastructure over job creation.

Please use the sharing tools found via the share button at the top or side of articles. Copying articles to share with others is a breach of FT.com T&Cs and Copyright Policy. Email licensing@ft.com to buy additional rights. Subscribers may share up to 10 or 20 articles per month using the gift article service. More information can be found here.
https://www.ft.com/content/38c9e736-7e49-11e9-81d2-f785092ab560

At the same time, Ethiopia was facing a fast-approaching debt crunch. Much of the economy’s double-digit growth in the past decade was driven by borrowing — largely from China. Although Ethiopia’s debt was low as a percentage of gross domestic product, compared with regional averages, its ability to service that debt with export revenue had become precarious, the IMF said in December.

In response Mr Abiy halted all non-concessional borrowing. “There was a need to pause, to finish what we already had, not to jump into new projects,” Mr Eyob explained. Having stemmed the bleeding, the focus in the next fiscal year would shift to attracting investment and boosting revenues, he said.

The first step is a privatisation programme, headed by Mr Eyob, which will include the sale of what is likely to be a large minority stake in Ethio Telecom, the state-owned mobile operator. Mooted ever since Mr Abiy took office, Mr Eyob rejected suggestions the telecoms sale was already behind schedule.

The government had undertaken a detailed market study, including researching regulators in 25 countries to understand the best model for Ethiopia, he said. The “fully-fledged process” would start in no more than a month, he said.

Please use the sharing tools found via the share button at the top or side of articles. Copying articles to share with others is a breach of FT.com T&Cs and Copyright Policy. Email licensing@ft.com to buy additional rights. Subscribers may share up to 10 or 20 articles per month using the gift article service. More information can be found here.
https://www.ft.com/content/38c9e736-7e49-11e9-81d2-f785092ab560

Mr Abebe, commissioner at the Ethiopian investment agency, said the prime minister had commissioned similar studies for the energy, rail, industrial parks and logistics sectors to identify how best to sustain growth, boost export revenues and create jobs.

“[Mr Abiy] is extremely interested to see a strong private sector that can generate jobs for the millions of youths that are currently unemployed,” said Mr Abebe, 38, who worked at the World Bank before Mr Abiy asked him to join the commission. “And I think that is consistent with the whole economic reform agenda.

For so long economic growth has been fuelled by state investment and now the state should cede space to the private sector and play its natural arbiter role as a regulator,” he said. “In a country where almost 70 per cent of the population is youth, it is only fitting that the administration reflects that age group,” he added.

For some Ethiopians, the talk of private enterprise is an abrupt departure from the developmental state envisioned by its architect, former prime minister Meles Zenawi, where the government controlled the economy’s commanding heights.

But other observers say the shift is subtler. Cepheus Capital, an Addis-Ababa based private equity firm, argued that, as it was under Meles, the government would still prioritise growth and was likely to continue to take an interventionist approach on issues related to land, industry and finance.

The objectives for policymakers were expected to remain the same and it was the “tools” and timeframes that were being modified, Cepheus said in a recent report. “We see economic policy shifting its attention in three areas — from public to private activities, from capital to current spending, and from debt to equity,” the report said.

Mr Eyob said those changes were imperative to creating the jobs the Ethiopia population craved. Ethiopia’s population has doubled since 1992 to at least 105m, according to the World Bank, and is expected to reach 190m in 2050, by some estimates.

About 25 per cent of those aged 15 to 29 are already underemployed “I am not worried at all, especially with this reform and the right thinking,” said Mr Eyob. “We have significant assets, and as we open up, and as more private sector investment comes, this country can achieve a major breakthrough.”

Kenyan Youths See Green Future in Collecting Garbage

By Voanews.com (Ruud Elmendorp)

According to the United Nations, uncollected garbage is a growing problem in cities around the globe, especially in areas with fast-rising populations. But there are solutions, as a youth group in Kenya’s capital is demonstrating.

“My name is Isaac Mutisia. I am 35 years old, and I am the co-founder of the Mathare Environmental Conservation Youth Group.”

We’re in the Mathare slum of Nairobi. Six-story high brick apartment buildings are around us. Ladies are selling groceries, and men are selling plastics.

Isaac Mutisia and his colleagues enter a building and climb the narrow stairs. They come out with a big dustbin full of garbage emitting an obnoxious stench.

FILE – Children stand amid trash in a building earmarked for demolition in the Mathare neighborhood of Nairobi, Kenya, May 17, 2016.

Some 200,000 people are believed to live in Mathare, in an area of just 2 square kilometers. The slum is not only congested with people, but also with their garbage.

According to the United Nations, one city dweller produces 1 kilogram of garbage per day. For Mathare, it means that every day 200,000 kilograms of trash finds its way into a public space.

While taking a break from carrying garbage cans, Mutisia says that collecting waste is a dire necessity.

“When you have a lot of people in one area and there is no proper way of handling waste, you find that everyone dumps waste everywhere,” he said.

Mutisia says the waste was piling up on street corners and illegal dumping sites. Doctors warn about the health effects of garbage, especially for children.

Doris Shiundi is a physician in a local clinic. In the next room a nurse is giving a sick baby a checkup.

“When you have a lot of garbage on the street like here in Mathare, most of the times we see patients who come here with diarrhea, sometimes cholera. Others come in with food poisoning because they eat on the street,” she said.

FILE – A student empties a dustbin next to a murky stream near a school in Kenya’s Kibera slums in capital Nairobi, Sept. 21, 2015.

This situation led Mutisia to do something to clean up the garbage, and at the same time meet another challenge.

“We saw the importance of making our community clean and also creating employment among ourselves because there was a challenge of unemployment,” he said.

Mutisia now has 100 youths collecting waste in the area, making money from households that pay to have their trash hauled away.

Once collected, the waste is brought to a legal dumping site.

The youths’ effort has caught the attention of local government officials, like Thomas Arimu

“We encourage the youths to copy what Kaka is doing to the neighboring community so that it becomes healthy,” he said.

Mutisia, meanwhile, is on the way to his next mission, visiting the U.N.-Habitat Assembly in Nairobi to talk about Mathare’s public spaces. His dream is to make the area as clean and green as the United Nations compound in Nairobi.

Kenya: Youth to form groups to benefit from Govt funds and programs

By Capitalfm.co.ke (NJOKI KIHIU)

The government is now calling on youths to form groups and seek government programs and funds saying it is easier because the group acts as security.

Speaking during a press conference on Thursday, the Government Spokesman Col. Rtd. Cyrus Oguna said the government is determined to empower the youth and reduce the rate of unemployment.

“As we continue to develop, we must appreciate that development of any kind does not just happen, it is made to happen. For our development to be sustainable, we must invest in the youth; the greatest national resource,” he said.

“As the country embarks on the path of 56thyear of self-rule, the government wishes to recommit itself to its goal of empowering the youth. Youth empowerment has remained a priority area for the government with the understanding that a country that does not empower its youth has no future.”

Oguna added that the government has consistently rolled out various programs and initiatives to achieve its goal.

He outlined nine programs which he wants the youth to take advantage of including the National Youth Service, Uwezo Fund, Constituency Empowerment Scheme among others.

For the Uwezo Fund which targets to assist the youth on entrepreneurship, Ksh. 5.97b Oguna said has been approved and 65,350 groups have already benefited, out of this, 22,000 are youth groups.

He further urged the young people to stop being selective with jobs adding that the government has already disbursed 5 billion loans to youth groups to invest in agri-business among other projects.

“As a government we acknowledge that challenges in job creation exist. However, our economy has continued to grow both in informal and formal sectors. We therefore urge Kenyans and especially the youth to embrace the culture of hard work and not be selective about jobs. Let this be a new dawn during which we are not only renewing our patriotism to motherland but one which we want to relive the clarion call of ‘Uhuru na Kazi’,” Oguna said.

According to survey by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics in 2018, 7 million Kenyans were unemployed with 1.4 million out of this figure desperately looking for jobs and 70 percent were youths below 35 years of age.