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African Youth Volunteers Corps

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The Constitutive Act of the African Union and the African Union Commission’s (AUC) Strategic Plans (2004-2007 and 2009-2012) recognize that the vigorous move towards integration cannot practically take place unless there is a paradigm shift in the role young people play as the most direct route to fast track broad-based development and to overcome the limitations of Africa’s leadership evolution and transition.

This vision and aspiration of the leaders are the adoption of various vital instruments, among them, the African Youth Charter-(AYC 2006), which emphasizes the importance of the youth participation in the governance and socio-economic development of the continent and the need to address the challenges facing the youth in holistic manner; note worthy was the Fifth Africa Development Forum (ADF-V) recommendation for the Establishment of the African Youth Volunteer Corps.

At the Global level, the General Assembly Resolution recommendation on support for volunteering in developing “specific programs to encourage youth volunteering; and in putting in place systems to recognize and accredit volunteering by youth. This can have a significant impact on the level of youth participation and constitute a sound investment in a country’s human resources”. T

he current initiative on African Union Youth Volunteer Corps has built on the proposal of African Union Volunteer Program, as a continental framework, that has built on the AU Constitutive Act, the African Youth Charter and also on consultations and recommendations from ADF-V. The youth voluntarism is also instructed by the African Union Strategic plan. The current initiative also draws inspiration from international development partners’ experience. This includes the United Nations Volunteers Program (UNV), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and international policy documents such as the World Program of Action for Youth to the Year 2000 and beyond, and the United Nations Global Youth Leadership Summit 2006.

In addition, various efforts from some of the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) e.g the ECOWAS with “Youth Ambassadors for Peace” (EYAP), SADC, etc are taken into account. The main purpose is to support and promote the emergence of empowered and effective youth leadership in order to direct their youth energy and creativity into peace building, integration, and development actions.

This initiative aims to reaffirm Africa’s commitment to actualize the African Youth Charter as an instrument to make youth participation the critical value driver and architect for sustainable human development in Africa. As already described in the continental AU-VP, the implementation of this youth-related initiative shall align on the AU standard procedures for implementing policies and programs.

Initiating the AU-YV Program will draw from the already established database of youth experts with competencies in the following areas: Education, ICT and TVET, Advocacy and communication, Gender and development, Social development issues, Post conflict reconstruction activities and peace building, Health and Population, Infrastructure and Energy, Agriculture and Economy etc. The program shall have a pilot phase of 4 years. The Piloting of the AU-YVC implementation will be based on existing best practices from national and international Volunteer Organizations.

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