- We must equip youth to be in the driving seat, to shape the future we want in Africa, says Gil Harper from Africa Alliance of YMCA’s. She promotes warmly their project Subject 2 Citizen, which support youth with mentorship and skills to be entrepeneurs. Gil says youth participation is crucial, especially in many African countries where 50% of the population is below 25 years.
- Without support and belief in themselves as part of the solution, youth are open to exploitatoin, as they need work and money to survive. With belief in themselves, in the family and the community, young people are the strongest force driving change and development today, she says.
Gil says she has met so many young people with leadership potential, and are optimistic about the future.
Strenghtening of civil society
YMCA is one of 23 exchange projects within the civil society sector. Young volunteers aged 18 to 35 years og on exchange between civil society organisations in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Norway. The aim is to sthreghten civil society through developing young leaders, increase youth participation in civil society and strenghten regional and international cooperation.
The core of everything
- Youth leadership is at the core of everything FK Norway does, says Director General Nita Kapoor. It is like our backbone. Our most important task is to facilitate the development of young leaders through mutual exchange of young people.
FK Norway supports the growing global trend looking at youth as a performing group, as actors in shaping society. Active participation by youth is a sensible economic and political investment in the future.
An international youth exchange enhances youth leadership and meaningful youth participation in civil society by providing organisations and volunteers with unique skills, knowledge and experiences. Learning across borders is an important tool for development and contributes to strengthening actors both on individual and organisational levels.