By Shiho Kuwahara, University Volunteer, UNIC Lusaka
In order to promote youth participation in development, the United Nations in Zambia has in
partnership with the Zambian Government, through the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Child Development put together a group of youth with representation from all 10 provinces of Zambia under the UN Youth Partnership Platform-Zambia (UNYPP-Z). The group consists of youth aged between 15 to 35 years who are willing to work with UN Zambia, the Government and other partners on challenges of young people’s development and promote youth participation in decision making processes. UNYPP-Z is dealing with policies, programme development for young people as well as monitoring and evaluation.
There UNYPP-Z aims to facilitate knowledge and information sharing about youth policies and programmes, to create greater awareness on both international and domestic policies among youth groups and youth-serving partners, to strengthen the partnership between the UN and youth for meaningful youth participation in the development activities. The group also seeks to identify and raise issues and innovative programme delivery models for young people’s needs.
The Zambia UN Youth Partnership Platform includes a total of 23 members with one representative from each province being a focal point of each National Youth Policy Thematic areas such as education, employment and entrepreneurship, health and protection of rights and civic engagement.
“The Ministry of Youth and Sports and the UN made selections of the UNYPP members following criteria such as age, gender balance, and educational or professional backgrounds and UN areas of focus,” said Francis Jere, UNYPP Zambia President.
“Young people are able to deepen their knowledge about development policies and activities, and take some action making use of it. On the other hand, the UN can get recommendations on priorities for the UN’s programmes in Zambia from the youth perspective and identify their actual needs, added Jere.
The tenure for the members is two years and those who have completed their terms can still continue to contribute to UNYPP-Z activities in terms of mentoring for new members. In addition, previous members remain resource persons for future youth related activities of the UN which need networking and collaboration.
Youth participation in development is key because they are the future. Youth participation is also a demonstration of the theme of “Leaving No One Behind” as Zambia works towards the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.