PLA 64 - Young citizens: youth and participatory governance in Africa

This special issue of PLA describes how young people in Africa are exercising their right to participate, and how they are developing the knowledge, skills and confidence to effect change.

Article, 01 December 2011
Participatory Learning and Action
A journal for newcomers and experienced practitioners alike.

PLA 64 cover imageDecember 2011

Guest editors: Jessica Greenhalf, Rosemary McGee

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Also available in French (Français)

All over the world citizens are starting to demand accountability from those in power. We are seeing exciting experiments in participatory governance. But are they working for young people? What spaces are most promising for the participation of children and young people in governance?

Across Africa youth (particularly boys and young men) are seen as a ‘lost generation’: frustrated, excluded and marginalised from decision-making processes. 

Contributors to this special issue demonstrate how this is changing. Young people in Africa are challenging the norms and structures that exclude them, engaging with the state and demanding accountability. This issue explores methods of communication, appraisal, monitoring and research which are involving young people in decision-making spaces. It asks: how can we re-shape how young people perceive and exercise citizenship? How can we redefine and deepen the links between young citizens and the state? 

This edition of PLA demonstrates the persistence, passion and enthusiasm that youth bring to governance processes – and how they are driving change in creative and unexpected ways. It highlights how young Africans are addressing the documentation gap that surrounds youth and governance in Africa and enabling other participatory practitioners – young and old – to learn from their experiences. 
It will also be valuable for those working in other regions. 

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License. Content can be freely reproduced for non-commercial purposes, provided the source is fully acknowledged. 

Follow the links below to download the whole issue or individual articles in pdf format.

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Seeing like a young citizen: youth and participatory governance in Africa
Rosemary McGee and Jessica Greenhalf 

Part 1: From youth voice to youth influence 

Digital mapping: a silver bullet for enhancing youth participation in governance?
Linda Raftree and Judith Nkie

Kenema youth change lives and perceptions with participatory video in Sierra Leone
Sallieu Kamara and Abdul Swarray

Our time to be heard: youth, poverty forums and participatory video
Anderson Miamen and Annette Jaitner

Youth participation in capturing pastoralist knowledge for policy processes
Charles Kes

What business do youth have making HIV and AIDS laws in Nigeria?
Fadekemi Akinfaderin-Agarau and Temitope Fashola

How far have we come with youth in governance?
Jennifer Tang

Part 2: Rejuvenating spaces for engagement  

Lesotho’s shadow children’s parliament: voices that bridged the policy gap
Lipotso Musi and Maseisa Ntlama 

Catch them young: the young female parliament in northern Ghana
Edward A. J Akapire, Alhassan Mohammed Awal and Rahinatu Fuseini

Young, but capable: youth lead the struggle against violence in Mali
Bedo Traore 

Part 3: Learning citizenship young 

As of now, we are stakeholders in local governance
Young people from Louga, Senegal with Serigne Malick Fall

Seeing from our perspectives: youth budget advocacy in Ghana
Charlotte Bani-Afudego, George Cobbinah Yorke and
Anastasie Ablavi Koudoh 

Local champions: towards transparent, accountable governance in
Embakasi, Kenya

Edwine Ochieng and Cynthia Ochola Anyango.

Part 4: Power to young people 

Salim Mvurya Mgala and Cathy Shutt.
Exploring expressions and forms of power in youth governance work

Part 5: Tips for trainers

Talita Ndebele and Leila Billing
Silent voices, unrealised rights – championing youth participation in Zimbabwe 

Youth as drivers of accountability: conducting a youth social audit
Kenyatta Maita Mwawashe

The community scorecard process: methodology, use, successes, challenges and opportunities
Jephter Mwanza and Nina Ghambi

Government budget monitoring: as easy as child’s play
Christina Nomdo and Alexander Henry

Drawing up a participatory youth situation analysis in Kenya
Edwinah Orowe and Richard Mabala

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