For the youngest country on the African continent which is Uganda, it is seemingly easy to make the case for youth representation in policy spaces without minding about its quality. The converse risk of being youth, due to our large numbers, assumes entitlement for space. Yet, it remains unclear on what it is we want to engage on, how and why.
How can youth policy engagement be more meaningful in a world where quest for evidence is paramount?
Aside from offering handouts and designing policy intervention for us. Not several actors dare this investment in a systematic and measurable process to nurture confident well-equipped youth to stir engagement.
Daring actors must appreciate the risk of creating platforms for a bunch of entitled youth grumbling at policy engagement tables. It involves extensive stretches for partners to build internal capacities for creativity and innovation that harnesses the energies of youth.
Best practices here can be drawn from the Youth4Policy Fellowship offered by the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung. It combines mentorship, exposure and research to enrich skills, knowledge and interpersonal growth needed in policy circles.
A committed team offers guidance to the fellows every step of the way. This is enriched with exposure through policy learning missions where fellows interact with actual policy-making processes in the field.
Finally, the policy research pieces, which fellows develop, allow for experiencing their process of evidence-building for policy. This, speaking from personal experience shapes our confidence as youth to engage.
In encouraging more partners to take on this challenge, this piece recognises the invaluable contribution of those who actively commit to building a breed of youth who justifiably seek to be trusted and to stir policy engagement in a sustainable manner.
Written by Dinnah Nabwire, Youth4Policy fellow 2019