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‘Youth Without Borders Ghana’ Represents Ghana and West Africa on the 2017 African Union’s Youth Advisory Board

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Youth Without Borders Ghana represents Ghana and West Africa on the 2017 African Union’s Youth Advisory Board towards harnessing Africa’s demographic dividend.

The African Union Commission (AUC) as part of strategies towards ensuring youth participation and mainstreaming in continental development activities launched the second African Union Youth Advisory Board (YAB).

The YAB is a joint program implemented by the African Union Commission’s Department of Human Resource and Technology through the Division in Charge of Youth Development and the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) Africa Regional Office with support from The David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

In January 2016, African Heads of State and Governments during the 26th African Union General Assembly in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia adopted the continental theme for 2017: “Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investment in Youth”. This stems from the recognition of the Africa’s demographic dividend as critical for the socio-economic transformation of African countries in the context of AU Agenda 2063.

The continental Youth Advisory Board for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights was set up in November 2015 to represent young people from Africa and the diaspora in the review, development, popularization, implementation, and accountability initiatives as they relate to young people’s policies in Africa.

The mandate of the board for this year has been expanded to cover education and skills development, health and wellbeing, entrepreneurship and employment and rights, governance and youth empowerment as stipulated in the roadmap of the 2017 AU theme adopted by the AU Executive Council

(African Foreign Ministers) during the 27th AU General Assembly in July 2017 in Kigali, Rwanda. It is a model of youth participation and engagement in continental policy interventions, bridging the gaps between continental decision making platforms and national level policy contexts and implementation.

The YAB capacitates young people and positions them to bring the youth voice in spaces where development issues are discussed.

They are expected to lead the popularization of African Union policies as well as facilitate direct youth engagement at local, national, regional and global levels.

The 2017 Youth Advisory Board inception meeting took place at the AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from the 7th-9th August, 2017.

The three-day meeting brought facilitators from different departments within the African Union Commission (AUC) to explain AU policies and decision-making processes and issues related to youth. Members were also capacitated in advocacy at different levels and charged to seize every opportunity to bring youth voices to spaces of decision-making.

Participants as part of their mandate developed key action plans to be executed at all levels within the continent for the next one year.

Representing Ghana and West Africa, Youth Without Borders (YWB) Ghana – a youth-for-youth development organization that works to harness the potentials of young people for sustainable development. As a youth social fabric, YWB among other things builds concrete bridges to support young people to smoothly walk into a safe adulthood and address important youthdevelopmental issues like sexual and reproductive health as well as general well-being so they can live excellent lives in the best possible way. YWB’s activities challenge young people to innovate and create a system to help transform their lives and communities while exposing them to opportunities and a wide range of resources, tools and networks early in their development towards attainment of their dreams.

Youth Without Borders Ghana is represented on the AU Youth Advisory Board by the Chief Operating Officer, Ms. Harriet Yayra Adzofu who took part in the three-day meeting in Addis Ababa. She took the voices of the young people of Ghana and West Africa into the continental meeting and believes the new position and platform places more expectations on YWB than before and reiterated that YWB is ready and better positioned to meet its new mandates.

Youth Without Borders Ghana will work with local, national, continental and international youth development stakeholders to ensure the rapid acceleration of youth development through harnessing Africa’s demographic dividend, which constitute 65% of young people under 35 years.

Source: Kenneth Gyamerah.

Head, Communications.

Youth Without Borders Ghana.