Monday, September 8

Africa We Want | Every Voice Counts

"I wish all the great suggestions and ideas from young people in this meeting could just be given more serious thought. Nonetheless, I am very optimistic! Like I have always been and will alway be!" ~says Makeoh to colleagues during one of Women for a Change Cameroon informal debrief meeting

August 18, 2014, she writes, "I travelled to #Nairobi to attend a 3 day High Level Youth Policy Dialogue on SDGs (HLYPD), from August 19 -21, 2014

The HLYPD was organized by the Organisation of African Youth (OAYouth), under the theme: “Prioritizing Investment in Youth Development”.

This was my first time travelling to #Kenya, first time participating in a regional forum with over 200 vibrant youth leaders, many of who were heads of institutions & organisations, Members of Parliament. In addition to the 200 participants were invited / special guests from government, particularly #Kenya & #SouthAfrica, Experts from United Nations agencies, including some INGOs & NGOs.

A day or two before my trip to Nairobi, I was so anxious about everything. First about the outcome document. Whether or not, it will gain strong language & input, especially around adolescents #SRHR & girls eduction.

Being so new in this field, and knowing what it looks like been in the same space with government authorities, how often young peoples intention is misunderstood for being malicious, I couldn't help but to imagine how engaged & available will most government delegations be at the event?

And also what kind of speakers shall be present at the forum? and whether or not would the event be very participatory or and not a sort of talk sermon session? Of all my worries, the greatest was - Whether I will be up to the tasks? Sincerely speaking, at some point I felt a little intimidated.

However, while at the conference, the feeling was different. On the first day, we had quite an elaborate conversation on youth inclusion in the post 2015 agenda, the Africa 2063 agenda. And as the days goes bye, I begun gaining more confidence and getting conformable and even more enthusiastic.

And the one thing I came to realised was that I do not need to know everything to feel confident in expressing my views and idea so long as the post2015 discussion is concern. And most importantly my experience & voice matters and should not be silent! And this was the moment to input what I think would create a better society for all, especially for girls and women.

Just like me, I came across a great number of youth who expressed huge enthusiasm and desire to ensuring that our recommendations take top priorities during the negotiations. Some of which includes; Youth Employment, Entrepreneurship, Quality Education, Budgeting and financing, Environment & Security, Youth and Inequality & Investment in Health issues and adopting comprehensive sexuality policies and programs to give young people rightful information about their lives.

Another interesting moment during the meeting was the fact that we had speakers from government institutions who believed so strongly in the power of the youth, and why young people’s issues must be every nation's top priority, as well as the post2015 agenda. Many of these remarks I found to be empowering and motivating.

For example, Ambassador Martin’s: “The youths are the real victims of violence besides being the major perpetrators of crime..we can only therefore handle peace and security when the youths are involved”.

“If the African youths only engage in politics, we shall be fighting over a very small piece of biscuit..”

“The youth should be engaged in budgeting and planning to enable them to prudently audit the implementation process” - S. Adhiambo, Action Aid International

In all, the one thing which stood so strongly was how much we were able to collectively contribute and inputs to the YDialogue Outcome document, which I hope serves a fruitful purpose and in parts capture what we [young people] want for Post 2015 Africa

May I also use this opportunity to extend gratitude to IPPF for the sponsorship.

About Nancy Makeoh: At WFAC, members / staff multitask. Currently Makeoh is WFAC's community outreach manager. As community organizer, she is in-charge of mobilising youth for our community programs or directing / executing community projects with / for young people. Makeoh also has special interest in advancing girls education and #SRHR. She has a wide and extensive knowledge in Christian religion and often puts a feminist face on biblical scriptures. 

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