'It starts with where you are and with what you have' - Judyannet Muchiri, NAYD social media editor

Monday, 27 February 2017

Pictures of SDG activities in Guinée and Ivory Coast

Guinée team members involved in national reconciliation 
- Woulandji Hafia primary's school

...and meeting rural community in Koundara

Ivory Coast members engage rural youths leaders to build their capacities in Project management, fundraising. and raising awareness on the SDGs. 


Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Empowering young women, for leadership and civic participation

Below is an interview conducted between NAYD media editor Judyannet Muchiri and Sheripher Dinala from #NAYDSDGs team Malawi Sat 4th February 2017

Welcome Sheripher from Malawi. We are happy to have you here. If you'd briefly introduce yourself to the people.

Hello everyone and thanks Judy for hosting me. I am sheripher Dinala, from Malawi. I am a deputy team leader for Network for African youth and development on SGD Malawi chapter. I am also a member for FMNET, the African women's development and communication Network. I am very passionate with women and girls rights. I am a sociologist and gender activist by profession with an honors degree in sociology and gender development studies.

You recently attended the AU Women Empowerment Summit. Would you kindly recap it for us? Briefly, what was the summit aimed at?

I had a privilege of attending the 28th African Union gender pre summit. This year theme was Harnessing the demographic dividend through investment in young, with a focus on empowering young people more specifically young women.

What outcomes, briefly, resulted from the summit?

I am happy to report that African youth will have a focal point person within the African Union. In addition. There will be a special commit for African youth within the African Union. Furthermore we were able to come up with recommendation which were presented to our leader in issues of young people's economic empowerment through innovation, youth driving social change, young people's political engagement and finally young people's financial empowerment. These recommendations were based on gaps and issues affecting young Africans. The recommendations were presented to  the ministers during the ministerial conservative meeting and we believe these were presented to African heads of states.

From these outcomes what are the priority areas that we should focus on as young people working in rural communities?

There are five priority areas that young people working in rural areas need to focus on in rural areas.
Education. We need to work on access to technology and skill development. We need to make sure that young people especially young women and girls are encouraged to participate in the STEM fields.Youth employment and entrepreneurship. We all know that our government are failing to create enough employment opportunities for young people. Therefore there is need for young people to change their mindset as far as economic empowerment is concerned. Three other areas of focus were: governance, peace, and security; health and sexual reproductive health rights; agriculture, climate change, and the environment.

Let's talk women's rights, as the summit focused on human rights especially women's rights: how well aware are women and girls of their rights? Do we need to create more awareness?

I am afraid to say, there is a lot of work to be done on women's rights. And this was an issue of concern on young people especially young women during the summit. Many countries have policies in place but no implementation on the ground. I will give you and example. In Malawi we have a gender equality act, Marriage and divorce act. But if you go in rural areas ask them to tell you on any section they know, you will realize that there is indeed a lot to be done on sensitization and awareness. The work should be to both men and women. The focus should be on gender based violence and sexual harassment. On the other hand we need comprehensive sexual reproduction health education from early education.

Have we invested enough in women especially in Rural areas?

Not much has been done in rural areas as much as women's rights is concerned. What makes me so Sad is that even in urban areas. There is still more work. Let's talk about education, health, the environment, politics, economics, sports. It's all dominated by men. Yet the population of women is more than the ones dominating most social spaces. We really need to cast the net wider. Some of the conversations we had during the 28th African Union gender summit was on how best we can invest in women/ young women and girls in social spaces in Africa.

How can we invest more in women?

We can invest more in women by making sure that education is accessible and conducive for all. By building the capacity of women in entrepreneurship and leadership, there is need for a quota in all decision making positions including political parties. There is also need to fights harmful practices in our society. We also need to make sure that there is gender equality and equity in work places, access to capital and access to assets like land. These can help women/ young women and girls to be economically empowered. Hence achieving demographic dividend

Thanks for this information Sheripher.Do we have questions from members?

Paul - thanks very much Sheripher - what can NAYD do to help women empowerment or what is it doing now that is helping?

From the priority areas we focused during the summit, you will notice that they are part of the SDGs we are working on. Our role as Network for African young and development is to make sure we fill in the gaps and promote education and skills development, how we can capacitate the youth in employment and entrepreneurship, governance, peace, and security, youth health and sexual reproductive health rights and finally agriculture, climate change and environment. Let's make sure we encourage our fellow youth to take lead in promoting these areas.

Epie - Sheripher thanks for sharing your experience and the outcome from the summit. I would like to know where there were any concrete strategies or measures adopted to practically promote women's leadership and political participation given the numerous challenges they face, some of which you already cited

Some of the strategy is to make sure that there should be a quota for women in leadership positions. The quota which was proposed is 30%. It was also recommended that politics should not be once off event. However it should be a process where by women/ young women are mentored on issues of politics

Epie - Good but we know that we had the quota system for a while now yet many countries are yet to meet that .so l think there's need for an investment in women's ability to represent themselves to build their capacity that will help them challenge the existing status quo. Then we can have more women participating in leadership and political affairs

Finally I would like to appeal to my fellow young people that there is a lot to do out there. We all need to take our position and institute the change we want in the world. We had a very productive conversation with our African leaders. I believe as we are contributing towards demographic dividend we have a role to play by being accountable and monitor closely on then promises our leaders have made. Let us continue with networking; online or offline. We still need to engage each other and have our own barometer. In this was I believe we are going to be part of the change we need through implementation of SDGs

Monday, 2 January 2017

Happy New Year and Welcome to 2017

Dear NAYD members,

The start of the New Year is a time to reflect on the ups and downs of the previous year and to set the direction for the journey ahead. NAYD continues to grow its membership with now well over 70,000 members. More of us are holding hands across the world. Like all previous years though 2016 was a rollercoaster ride with amazing progress made but a few pitfalls along the way.

On January 2 2016 African youth leaders gathered on Facebook to discuss Agenda 2030, a global mission to leave no one behind,  driven by 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Its a great ambition but the UN considered African rural communities the weak link in this ambition. Our meeting discussed how we as youth could impact African rural communities with these new goals and concluded that NAYD's wide network of rural community activists throughout the Continent was well placed to help drive Agenda 2030 into these communities. Over the next few months mixed-gender teams were formed throughout the Continent who in turn started developing wide reaching stakeholder networks. A Facebook chat was created as a forum to discuss issues faced and progress made. The chat has an automatic translate facility to help conversations with different languages. Members also freely offered their time to translate into Portuguese and French. A steering group oversaw the initiative and helped country teams develop action plans. A BLOG was created for members to post their activities and a Google map to show the locations of their SDG activities.

The #NAYDSDGs initiative was recognised by UN DESA in May as SDG17, Partnership for Development with individual country teams included as part of the initiative. Partnerships have been formed with national, continental and global organisations to hold hands with us to help drive the initiative forward. By the end of 2016 most African countries have #NAYSDSGs teams overseen and supported by a steering group. We have applied for a continental Energy Globe award for 2017 in the category of Youth - wish us luck!

Whilst great progress has been made issues have been faced including the requirement for a simple system for benchmarking and monitoring SDG progress in rural communities.  A priority for 2017 is to hold a capacity building workshop where team members, partners and experts in the SDGs can meet face to face to discuss effective ways of driving the initiative forward. This didn't happen In 2016 because it wasn't possible to raise the airfares necessary. These efforts did however raise the profile of #NAYDSDGs and we are much better placed to make this happen.

With one year of the SDGs already passed though there is an increasing sense of urgency to accelerate rural community development and all efforts need to be made to strengthen our stakeholder network. This is why, in addition to the monitoring tool and the workshop, we are also seeking to find SDG experts in each of the different Goals, and willing to support our teams activities.

NGO of the month

NAYD continues to highlight the work done by youth-led CBOs and NGOs at the community level to impact positive change. Every month NAYD selects an organization working towards development in Africa through different projects and gives the organization great publicity throughout the month, enabling the possibility of partnerships. More information on the NGOs recognized below can be read here. If you would like your organization to be considered as an NGO of The Month this year send an email to [email protected].
Congratulations to the NGOs of the Month in 2016:
1.      January - Supreme Malawi
2.      February - Farm Solutions 365 - Uganda
3.      March - National Association of Youth Organisations - Zimbabwe
4.      April- Rwanda Initiative for Sustainable Development (RISD) - Rwanda
5.      May- Federation of Liberian Youth (FLY) - Liberia
6.      June- Gender and Livelihoods Opportunities for Rural Youth (GLORY) - Uganda
7.      July- Dentistes de Sud - Guinea
8.     August- Jeunesse Unie pour le Progrès et le Développement (JUPD) - Benin
9.      September- EducommunicAfrik - Burkina Faso
10.  October - Power for all - continental
11.  November- Farm Solutions 365 - Uganda
12.  December - Hope Land Congo - DRC  

NGO's of the month will also receive a NAYD certificate signed by Pochi, Paul and Judy.

We have had a successful year engaging with young changemakers working in climate action advocacy, accountability in public resources, and in engaging the community in social change. It’s been an inspiring year of learning from young people doing great work in their communities. Past chats can be seen here #NAYDchat as we prepare for another year of engaging with you.  

INSPIRE Quarterly
Starting January 2017, our online magazine INSPIRE will be produced four times in a year (January, April, July, October). Each of the 4 issues will focus on a particular theme and will include articles and pictures from young people in Africa. In 2016 we produced a special SDGs edition

In Conversation with Series
In February 2016, NAYD started a new series featuring expert opinion on topical issues such as Citizen-led Accountability, Online Activism, Community Engagement for Social Change and Active Youth for Community Development in Africa. All these features can be found at In Conversation Series. You can expect more in-depth conversations in 2017 from key thought leaders across the world.

Live Google Hangouts
Our hangouts continue to entertain and educate with speakers from around the continent given us their views on sustainable development - 4 separate hangouts featuring country teams from #NAYDSDGs Cameroon, Burundi, Niger and Somalia talking about SDG priorities in their country; Nelson Kwaje from Design 2 Transform, an organisation that aims to design professional websites for Community Based Organizations talking on the very important topic of setting up communication and network systems in rural communities in Africa;  Ms. Namhla Mniki-Mangaliso,  Director at African Monitor (AM) talking about youth and the challenges and opportunities with Agenda30 and Agenda63 and Patson Malisa, CEO of Organisation of African Youth and a member of the #NAYDSDGs steering group giving us his views on the benefits or otherwise of High Level Political Forums to rural African communities. All the chats can be seen on NAYDtv and we recommend them to you (despite the 'occasional' internet connectivity issues!).  

How did NAYD inspire you in 2016?
“To say NAYD inspired me is just an understatement as it has not only inspired me but also empowered me to fully understand that strength in the African spirit and that the solution to the numerous challenges we face as a continent is to look inward and is in the hands of her people. It has also reemphasized the fact that participation in the development of our communities is not just a selfless service but also a constitutive part of our existence”
Thaddeus Ugoh, Human Rights & community development advocate (Nigeria)

'NAYD has really inspired me to sensitize people at the grassroots level to track and monitor public projects in the budget by engaging their representatives to deliver service. This has really strengthened accountability and transparency in local communities'
Uadamen Ilevbaoje (Nigeria)

“Thanks a lot. NAYD had empowered me indirectly because I help to inform those who can be touched”
Mary-Christabel Yaje (Cameroon)

“NAYD has inspired me to be active in community empowerment through capacity building programs and to be part of the source of joy to individuals and communities whose faces shine with contentment and joy as a result of the knowledge impacted”
Nicholas (Kenya)

“As a social worker I took a leading role in making sure that the girl child has an opportunity to quality education”
Arthur Michael Kanjere (Malawi)

“I have been inspired by others to be active”
Patrick Chinguwo (Malawi)

2017: Projects and Activities
These, among others, are the projects we are looking forward to in 2017:
·         Capacity Building Workshop – top of the agenda for 2017 is to hold the workshop that will bring team members and partners together.
·         Monitoring & Benchmarking SDGs - We have been trying to find ways to monitor and report progress made by youth in implementing the SDGs in the rural communities with no success so far. To address this issue, NAYD has decided to develop a tool for benchmarking and monitoring the SDGs in rural communities. We are excited to work with volunteers from the NAYD community to build a tool that can help us examine how we are doing and motivate us to work more to effectively implement the SDGs.
·         17 Experts in SDGs – we are in the process of coming up with 17 experts who are well versed in the 17  areas covered by the SDGs to advise us as we progress with our efforts to work with youth to implement these goals. Do you have the relevant knowledge and are you involved in rural community development? Please email [email protected] with a brief CV.  
·         Research Desk - To authoritatively comment on issues affecting young people in Africa, NAYD is setting up a research desk of researchers led by a senior researcher who will oversee our research projects. If you are a researcher keep an eye out for our call for applications.
·         INSPIRE January Issue – the first issue of INSPIRE 2017 will be produced in January. It will focus on the theme Youth & Politics in Africa. At NAYD we have always maintained an apolitical stance but we know development and politics are closely related, for this reason we want to find out the experiences of youth engaged in politics, reasons why youth do not run for political office, reasons why youth are often ‘used’ by politicians, experiences with campaigns, civic education. Email us your stories with the subject line: Inspire Youth & Politics at [email protected]

Finally, THANK YOU to all our members. It is truly inspiring to read your stories and see your pictures from across the continent.  Every action in your community makes a difference to someone's life and inspires others to get involved. This is the way to a sustainable future, a future where no-one is left behind. 

Judyannet Muchiri and Paul Shaw