Youth Advocacy Guide
Help youth tackle the problems they see in their communities.
The Youth Advocacy Guide seeks to help youth tackle the problems they see in their communities. It was cocreated with young African citizens with the aim of empowering young people with skills to bring about positive change in their lives and communities. The Youth Advocacy Guide represents the personal views of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of the United Nations Children’s Fund.
Here are some truths you already know: our continent, and the world, are facing huge challenges. While none of these are of our making, they’ve been left for us to deal with. Many of us experience these challenges daily. Poverty isn’t something we just read about, education isn’t guaranteed, inequality is something we constantly experience, and climate change is real and already making our taps run dry.
Now here’s something you might not know - the African youth demographic is growing. Africa’s child population is currently estimated at 580 million - this represents 47 per cent of the entire continent and is four times larger than the child population of Europe. By 2055, it’s expected that Africa’s child population will reach one billion.
Such an enormous change in the African population presents immense opportunities - and challenges. What is clear, is that urgent investment in young people is essential. If child and youth-focused policies are put in place now, poverty and inequality would be reduced, and sustainability could be a reality. If not, unemployment will worsen, resources will be further depleted, and instability may become the norm.
But the first scenario - brighter days - is possible, with your help. This Youth Advocacy Guide can help us navigate the various processes to advocate for change. Think of this guide as our ally, as we work to leave our mark on the world. It aims to lead you through the process of advocacy, combining clear ‘how to’ steps, with inspirational stories from other young people who are striving to bring about change in their communities. When we read these stories of triumphs and challenges, ranging from preventing child marriage to inspiring environmental activism, it reminds us that we are not alone. Rather, we are part of a growing community of young people who are slowly, systematically, changing the world.
UNICEF’s implementing partner on this project was The Youth Programmes at the South African Institute of International Affairs (Youth@SAIIA)