MGCY at the Afternoon Panel of the PGA Dialogue, March 7th

PrimroseLet me begin by thanking you for this opportunity to be a voice for the billions of young people around the world and be able to  share to our collective thoughts and views pertaining to how the world should look like beyond 2015. Good ideas are borne, not by suppression of youth voices, but by inclusion and meaningful participation of young people.  My presence here today is an indication that we are in the right direction towards creation of a more inclusive, transparent and sustainable framework.

My name is Primrose Manyalo, I work for Restless Development in Zimbabwe, and I am here representing the Major Group of Children and Youth.

 “Think back to 14 years ago,,,, I was just a little girl  in high school in Zimbabwe when  the Millennium Development Goals were formed, and today as a young lady , together with the majority of young people around the world, we are living to endure the results of decisions that were made without us.  Prime amongst them being: LACK OF CARE AND PROTECTION FROM VIOLENCE,HIGH UNEMPLOYMENT RATE, HIGH HIV PREVALENCE RATE AMONGST MY PEERS AND EXCLUSION FROM DECISION MAKING PROCESSES. Today we declare that young people and children are an important assert, they have a lot of passion, positive and restless energy, vital for coming up with a framework that is more inclusive, a framework that is transparent and sustainable!!!”

  1. Best Practices (3 Minutes)

1a) Post 2015 Youth Consultations in Zimbabwe

Ladies and gentleman, there is no sustainability of global development programmes where young people and children are left out. In my country, I led Post 2015 Youth Consultation Processes which reached out to over 800 young people from rural and high density areas. The process   employed

  • Youth friendly methodologies,
  • offline discussions, including community based campaigns, peer to peer club sessions
  • use of youth icons such as famous musicians and
  • alternative forms of media including (painting, posters and discussions with /led through young people!)

Young people and children freely gave insight on their visions and concerns for how the world should look like beyond 2015.

This was one of the 13 youth consultations that were conducted globally with the major aim of understanding children and young people’s visions beyond 2015.  The strengths of the process included embracing the diversity of young people (from rural areas, high density areas, young people differently abled, YPLWHA, Orphans and vulnerable children and other marginalised youth.) Over 70 languages were used, in 64 different ethnicities they were ultimately involved in analysing the inputs and writing up the results.

1b) High Level Panel and Youth Participation

The youth consultations led to the youth participation in the High-level Panel meetings, which included the Monrovia and London HLP meetings. More broadly,

v  Young people’s views were warmly welcomed and the HLP feedback showed that they appreciated the visions and views of young people. 

v  Much of the input from young people and the youth consultations were taken into consideration in the HLP report which stated that

“Young people and children  must be subjects not object of the Post 2015 development agenda.”

Although youth engagement has been very high in the Post 2015 process, as compared to when the MDGS were formulated, it has not been an easy process. The challenges we faced included:

  • Language barriers
  • Inadequate funding to include young people in youth consultation events.
  • Limited knowledge of existing policies/HL debates going on (, in some instances you would get to a school where all young people would have no knowledge of what MDG stands for, at least one MDG , let alone what has been done so far!!!)
  • And limited capacity to demand accountability.

Albeit facing these challenges, where we engaged young people, they ROSE TO THE OCCASIONS, were QUICK TO GRASP CONCEPTS AROUND ADVOCACY, LEADERSHIP, the MDG formulation process and giving their views towards the world they envision beyond 2015.  I experienced first-hand, the infuriation of young people, upon realising the exclusive nature of development processes that they were the forgotten generation, whose views had been left out at the preliminary MDG formulation phase.

We support this position and reinforce that when given capacity and full support; we can and are able to shape the world that we want to live in. Inspired by Mahatma Ghandi, we want to be the change that we want to see in the world, but this will only be possible, if our participation is more than a tick box, is not tokenistic and an afterthought!!!

Tools and mechanisms employed

We firmly believe that the following tools and mechanisms will enhance the creation of a sustainable and more transparent framework:

  1. Creation of spaces and channels that enable young people to contribute to the formulation and monitoring of policies and programmes which affect them.

For example, U-report in Uganda is an SMS text – opinion poll, that equips young, mobile phone users with the tools to hold decision-makers and development actors accountable to their needs, in a cost-effective and accessible way. Now directly reaching over 122,000 young people, across Uganda, U Report sends a question on a particular youth issue via SMS text to these young leaders each week, who can respond either with a simple menu-based reply or with personal messages. Stories and findings are then broadcasted over regular radio shows and published in local newspaper. This platform gives every Ugandan an opportunity to speak and raise their voices on issues that are affecting their lives and respective communities.

2.     Youth and Child Friendly communication of development

Children and  Young people’s understanding of development frameworks and related policies and budget is vital to enable them to hold governments to account.  This is a potentially measurable target and will be achieved through:

  1. The use of ICT and social media as an important means and opportunity, with incorporation of offline strategies in order to reach the  young people that are not yet connected through alternative forms of media such as  images, radio and sms.
  2. Availability and accessibility of documents packaged in a  youth friendly, easy to digest manner, taking into account language use.

So finally, what does this mean for Post 2015? (3 minutes)

 1)     CHILDREN and YOUTH PARTICIPATION TO DECISION MAKING & INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT PROCESSES MUST BE INCLUDED IN THE POST-2015 FRAMEWORK:

a)     The framework MUST include Fair, RESPONSIBLE and ACCOUNTABLE GOVERNANCE, since it was a top priority,  as reflected in the YOUTH CONSULTATIONS and  MY WORLD SURVEY

b)     We MUST ensure that children and young people are included in the framework as a CROSSCUTTING AREA and not just limited to engagement in typical youth issues. Yesterday we heard many member states confirming this, but we want to see this reflected in the framework.

à Participation MUST NOT be limited to the narrative of the framework or the SIDE LINE, but must lie at the core of the framework. There MUST be a specific goal on governance and a target that ensures young people’s roles in decision-making on policies and allocation of resources, in all areas that affect  their lives such as health, education and environmental policy and programming at all levels.

A SDG framework will not deliver for children and young people,  if their participation is not formally included. This includes the establishment of more local, national and international civic participation opportunities for young people and children.

2)     CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE MUST ALSO BE AT THE CENTRE OF MONITORING AND ACCOUNTABILITY MECHANISMS OF THE FRAMEWORK.

 There MUST be a two way flow of communication between governments and citizens, particularly with young people – Governments MUST provide information to citizens,(including young people)  and citizens MUST HAVE  opportunities to provide feedback and hold their governments to account;

  1. Open data is not enough to make data accessible. We MUST create users for this data – hence there is a need for capacity building and sensitisation  of civil society, including children and  young people
  2. We MUST have programming designed to build the capacity of young people to collect and validate data, ensuring youth-led and youth-friendly monitoring and evaluation mechanisms.

3) ALL OF THIS SHOULD BE ROOTED IN THE REALITIES OF CHILDREN and YOUNG PEOPLE, AND SHOULD BE CONTEXTUALLY RELEVANT TO ADDRESS THE GRASS ROOTS NEEDS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE

In the words of Nelson Mandela: we learn that:

 “There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.

This framework will reveal the calibre of people we are. Whether we care for the future of children and young people? It is our collective duty to PUT OUR EFFORTS TOGETHER, to build a framework that will shape the world into a beautiful and safe place for everyone. Particularly for children and young people!!!. This is more than an obligation, to restore hope and sunshine into the hearts of young people.

I THANK YOU

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