United Kingdom (Commonwealth Union)_ The Commonwealth’s Youth Mainstreaming Training Programme’s key areas of focus will include training, employment, economic opportunities, and the involvement of the most disadvantaged. The above message was conveyed by youth and youth leaders during the inaugural gathering of Youth Mainstreaming stakeholders. The Youth Mainstreaming Training Programme was intended to build stakeholder capacity in response to a Commonwealth Heads of Government commitment to guarantee that youth’s voices, rights, capabilities, and needs are considered and prioritized in policy and decision-making across governments and development institutions.
The initiative comes under the Commonwealth’s flagship Year of Youth, which was designated by Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Kigali, Rwanda, in June 2022. During the conference, Heads of State reaffirmed their commitment to empowering youth, stakeholders, and governments to expedite progress on youth-focused problems in 2023. The “Co-creating Futures with Young People” conversation series intends to hold a discussion on youth mainstreaming and reach an agreement between policymakers and young people on the vision, tactics, and practical tools and procedures that will guarantee its success. This revolutionary mission will commit to the development and empowerment of the 1.5 billion Commonwealth youths under the age of 30.
While addressing the event, Commonwealth Youth Council Representative Everton Rattray lauded the Commonwealth Youth Programme, which is celebrating fifty years of partnership with governments and its partners on youth development and empowerment this year, for giving spaces such as the Commonwealth Youth Forum (CYF), where the youth sit alongside world leaders and support for their peers. However, he also emphasized the current difficulties. According to him, young people must be empowered so that they can properly participate in these decision-making processes. Young people require training in diplomacy so they can act professionally in these areas, as well as training in policymaking so they can comprehend the fundamentals of how choices are made and how they can transform their thoughts into policy. Further, an Advisory Committee will manage the planning and progress of the Year of Youth and be responsible for ensuring that the events and activities involve the participation of a varied, talented, and energetic youth population from the 56 member nations of the Commonwealth.
Young people and activists also highlighted concerns over the inclusion of individuals with disabilities and assistance for adolescents under 18 years of age. The discussion also provided the chance to promote four open access online courses offered by the Youth Mainstreaming Training Program. Based on Commonwealth-specific experiences of participation, inclusion, safeguarding, and evidence-based policymaking, these courses assist young people, youth workers, and government officials understand and include the core ideas and practices of mainstreaming. Earlier, during the launch, youth from around the Commonwealth had the chance to share their problems and opinions with young leaders and training program designers, including Dr. Henry Charles, co-chair of the Commonwealth Youth Year Advisory Committee.
According to Dr. Terri-Ann Gilbert-Roberts, manager of the Commonwealth Research Programme, the interaction was productive as well as incredibly beneficial. She said, “We were very clear from the beginning that we were going to take a collaborative approach to building and implementing this project. That means ensuring all perspectives are heard and considered, and the full involvement of young people.” She added, “This first meeting has reiterated the importance of a whole-of-government approach, ensuring we connect with all spheres of decision-making, for example, education, health, trade, environment, culture, and sport. We are also reminded of the importance of engaging with and boosting our youth networks, to ensure young people’s voices are represented and heard and that we rely on their talents and innovations to deliver our youth development and empowerment goals.”