The African Union defines youth as every person aged between 15 and 35 years. With Africa’s younger population set to double by 2050, the African Union has placed youth as key agents for sustainable and durable development. Acknowledging the role that youth have played in the battle against decolonization, apartheid, and the Arab spring, the persisting calls and the enthusiasm of youth to actively participate in national, regional, continental, and international spheres of advocacy is a real case scenario of youth great involvement and high awareness.
Surely enough, the experience of boomers differs immensely from the experience of Millennials or generation Z giving birth to what is known as the generational gap.
THE GENERATIONAL GAP
According to the Mo Ibrahim Index, the average age of African leaders is 66 years old while the median age of the population is 25 years old: we have 44 years of the generational gap.
The very idea of generation gap is not a new thing, for conflict between adults and youth has a long history. That is to assume that conflict is inevitable and would yield tangible outcomes if handled positively.
Drawing on the need of bringing together young people, stakeholders, and shareholders to the table of dialogue and in the broader spectrum of decision making, Ms. Aya Chebbi- the African Union Youth Envoy, launched a series of intergenerational dialogue as part of Youth Silencing the Guns Campaign: Creating Conducive Conditions for Africa’s Development.
DIGITAL ADVOCACY: THE DEFIINING FEATURE OF MODERN ACTIVISM
In collaboration with Atlas for development, the Office of Youth Envoy (OYE) joins efforts to foresee the advancement of youth role and status within their communities through empowerment, capacity building, civic engagement, and co-leadership. The event’s theme: “North African Silencing the Guns” acknowledges the role of youth in light of the ongoing pandemic, armed conflict, gender equality, and climate change that shape the African reality.
Given the increase in influence of technology, new ways of activism have seen the light. In this regard, digital advocacy is noted to bring greater visibility to questions related to the effective and meaningful youth participation.
NORTH AFRICANS SHAPE MEDIA DISCOURSE
As a part of this campaign, North African Silencing the Guns Intergenerational Dialogue was held virtually on the 8th of September 2020 with the sole aim to solicit young people perspectives and creating a co-working platform to voice youth aspirations in co-designing the Africa We Want.
The event amalgamated consultations with high level officials from the African Union and country’s representatives who adopted a proactive approach to reap the fruits of diverse views raised during the breakout rooms; mainly, on:
- Free Conflict Africa
- Silencing Gender Based Violence
- Silencing Climate Crisis
- Silencing Youth Unemployment and Poverty &Hunger
- Silencing Corruption
YOUTH & POLITICS
Broadly speaking, Ms. Aya Chebbi highlighted the fact that the exacerbation of armed conflict in Africa is chiefly a matter of miscommunication between the different generations at the social, economic, and political levels. Accordingly, the insurmountable generational gap is the accumulation of mistrust that has long defined and governed the unrealistic relationship. Nevertheless, the promise brought by the AU Youth Envoy’s vision of co-leadership would reverse the odd narratives associating young people with rebellious behavior by calling out national governments to respond to youth demands within a participatory framework.
Atlas for Development Association remains dedicated to intergenerational dialogue as being the ultimate way to fuse wisdom, skills, and know-how of people from different backgrounds and experiences;
Our Academy 2063 rests on the belief that youth are metaphor of alteration, faith, and renewal which is an annual opportunity to extend our commitment towards the effective and meaningful youth participation.