On Wednesday 27 February 2013, a key meeting took place at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris with the goal of giving young people an opportunity to better grasp the African Youth Charter. During the World Summit on the Information Society Review Event, the youth team of UNESCO’s Social and Human Sciences Sector got together with “O.S.E.R. l’Afrique” (DARE Africa) in a workshop : “The African Youth Charter: mobilization of young women and men”. The participants, members of young Africans associations, could discuss and share ideas on the Charter and its benefits for young people.
The organization of the event was willingly left in the hands of a panel of young diaspora people. The workshop was chaired by Jonathan Nyemb, co-author of the “Carnet pour l’Afrique” and member of “O.S.E.R. l’Afrique” and Laetitia Sagno, member of UNESCO’s High Panel on Peace and Dialogue among Cultures, with the help of Babette Kizonzolo, President of “O.S.E.R. l’Afrique “; Précieux Massoueme, President of the Youth Association of the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC); Alexandra Ondoua, Communication Officer for the Journal Inspire Afrika; and Linda Kouvouama, President of the Young Leaders for African Development (YLAD) Association; and many others.
The workshop presented some of the videos which will be produced online in the framework of an audiovisual campaign around the African Youth Charter. This work, based on the collaboration between the Commission of the African Union and UNESCO, is part of a process aiming at getting this Charter to be known and disseminated. Africa is now experiencing tremendous growth, but numerous young people have not had the opportunity to go to school or to learn how to read and write. These videos give these young people – men and women aged 15 to 35, from different backgrounds – an insight into their rights but also their duties.
More generally, this Charter should appear to them as a key framework guiding youth-related actions in Africa. This campaign is a call for action to young women and men to encourage their governments to ratify the Charter and to implement it. Young African people will also be invited to participate and engage themselves in this movement through a “CLICK” on a dedicated webpage, the objective being to receive as many signatures as possible.
During the debate, each of the articles and themes of the Charter were discussed by the participants. They all recognized it as an important frame, which allows young people to be aware of the challenges awaiting them, especially concerning the development of Africa, the improvement of school conditions, and of women’s status as well as their role in public life. The participants committed to promote the Charter to their governments.
The Charter allows young people to hope for a better future. Letting as many people as possible know about the Charter will influence leaders into taking better care of this spearhead youth of a new Africa.