Financing for Development: Invest in Meaningful Youth Participation

Financing for Development: Invest in Meaningful Youth Participation

(Photo: Our Country Team Leader with President Thambo Mbeki at a Side Event in Addis)

By Robert Aseda, (@Varaq)

Over the years, global development goals have been set by technocrats and experts. There was widespread belief that these processes were too complex for the average Joe to understand, let alone young Joe.

Majority of these processes did not have youth components, and the few glimpses of youth issues in them were ideas from technical people who factored in what they thought young people wanted.

Cheikh, the special envoy of the president of Burkina Faso shared an interesting story about the role of community involvement in developing and executing development ideas.

He tells of his community where woman travelled long ways just to access clean water.

In their own wisdom, the government in collaboration with development partners, built a huge water point right at the center of the village.

However, it was observed that the women snubbed the nearer, safer and more convenient water point and still trooped to the river.

Curious what might have forced the women to act this way, one confided in him,

“You see, the time for fetching water is the only time we get as women to talk our issues.”

But this isn’t about women in Burkina Faso refusing a well-built water point.

This is about meaningful participation in decision making processes.

For the longest of time, young people have been like this women; being given things others feel are important for them but ones nevertheless they didn’t ask for.

The narrative has to change now.

The global discussions on the POST 2015 Agenda gave young people an unprecedented opportunity to influence policy making at the highest level. Whereas there was no specific goal on young people among the seventeen goals, the language on youth was still strong.

But realizing this goals will not just require powerful statements but also key resources including finances, technology and capacity.

That’s why NAYA KENYA , alongside other civil society organizations working around the rights of young people from across the globe are in Addis Ababa; to ensure that Financing for Development Conference finances meaningful youth development in an integrated and sustainable way.

And whereas young people may from time to time lack specific skills on key thematic issues, it is still important that their capacity is built in order to allow them to participate fully in development agenda.

Of course this meaningful youth participation should not be measured just in times of quantity of young people involved or even quantity of this meetings, it should be measured in terms of the quality of the contributions.

Our leaders keep on saying that the youth are the leaders of tomorrow, then investing in their health, education and building their economic base now is not only the smart thing to do, but also the right thing to do.

The Addis Ababa accord, though not as strongest as we would want int to be, must now be implemented in driving the development agenda forward, including as a means of implementation to the upcoming sustainable development goals.

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Financing for Development; Invest in Women and Girls

Category : Naya Blog

By Robert Aseda, (@Varaq)

As negotiations at the International Conference on Financing for Development continues, the importance of a strong Addis Ababa outcome document can never be overemphasized.

This is because finances, capacity and technology are key in ensuring that our beautiful ideas and vision are transformed into programs and projects that uplift the livelihoods of citizens of the world.

Today in our daily Addis Blog, we will discuss gender equality and women empowerment as a critical component that must be adequately funded; from research to project implementation, from advocacy to monitoring and evaluation, from empowerment to sharing best practices.

During a Side Event today, Phumzille- Mlambo- Ngcuka, the Executive Director of United Nations Women, the body of the united nations tasked with ensuring gender equality and women empowerment, made a critical link between the financing for development process and gender equality.

If we are to reap maximum benefits from our investments, then nobody must be left behind.

If thirty nine thousand girls are married off every day in the world, or if most still face harmful cultural practices like female genital mutilation and restrictions in owning property, then the earliest we are likely to realize political equality is half a century from now! Economic equality is likely to even come later; after eighty one years!

But women and girls, just like young people, are not a single homogenous groups. They are girls living with disabilities, living in slums, in drug use, in child headed households, in conflict and disaster prone zones among others.

All this unique groups require special ways of addressing their needs and aspirations.

But investing in women and girls should not just be a matter of smart economics, or as a means to an end. Nations must invest in this key population as a basic human right.

This Statement was strongly emphasized by Ms Dinah Rwiza, FEMNET Executive Director, in her strong statement for financing gender equality.

It is unacceptable that young girls have to stay at home during menstruation because they lack access to sanitary pads, or that they cannot be able to make informed choices because they lack information or they cannot access cancer screening services as they go for HIV test at a youth friendly center. It is unacceptable that women continue to suffer from complications such as fistulas because the healthcare system is not strong enough to handle the demands. It is equally ridiculous that certain jurisdictions still charge tax on certain health services.

An African proverb says that if a person thinks that they are too small to make a difference then they haven’t been bitten by mosquitoes at night!

Rwanda particularly has realized great steps, by deliberating targeting barriers that limit effective participation of women in development processes. In Rwanda, land reforms have enabled co-owning of land, just as labour laws have increased their chances of getting good jobs and being made amounts commensurate to the work they do.

Empowered women are not only ably to help themselves, but the benefits are likely to spread to the immediate society and even to communities and nations.

However, the mantra of female empowerment should not forget the boy child, a matter we raised during a round table discussion.

This is the time for Every Woman, Every Child, Every Adolescent; but it’s also a time for moving together as one people matching into an unprecedented era of global development.

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