“I am determined to help youth become active participants in governance and the decision making process at all levels.”
As a young woman actively involved in governance, I have been exposed to various positive and negative perceptions of older people investing in youth in different spheres of governance. When I was 28 years old, I challenged an incumbent member of parliament for a seat to represent my constituency. I quickly found that it was particularly difficult to contest in a male dominated election. The strong patriarchal traditions, gender norms and my age all affected my ability to win.
This experience furthered my understanding as to why youth generally do not participate in governance. The age limitation, restrictive cultural norms, lack of information and lack of confidence among youth are major deterrents from participating in governance. Even further, youth are trained to be literate, but are not really educated – meaning that while we are taught to read and write, we are not trained to take a more active role in society and participate more fully.
Rosina working with local youth in Ghana as part of her “Bring Out the Leader in Me” program.
Civic engagement is acting upon a heightened sense of responsibility to one’s communities, including developing civic sensitivity and participating in building civil society. Civic engagement encompasses the notions of global citizenship and interdependence.
My mission is to create a pathway for youth civic engagement through a program called “Bring Out the Leader in Me” which focuses on youth involvement, consultation and shared leadership. We look at venues for youth to actively participate and initiate movement and policy reformation as well as collaborate with adults to create intentional settings such as advisory groups where youth and adults can come together and share a position of authority with adults, act as colleagues and share accountability for the goal. The program will look at institutions, attitude, environment and societal barriers to exclusion of youth active participation.
Through this program, youth have the opportunity to
- acquire practical knowledge
- achieve personal development goals
- enhance their communication skills
- participate in governance
- gain work experience
- acquire new skills
- learn responsibility and accountability
- develop a greater sense of condence
- become empowered
It is important for all stakeholders to recognise that investing in youth calls for cooperation, institutional support and vital partnership across society and the different spheres of governance.