This information has been published by Youth Edition (an online youth magazine)
MINDS REGIONAL TRAINING WORKSHOP IN CIVIC EDUCATION ON ELECTIONS AND GOVERNANCE HELD IN GABORONE, BOTSWANA ON 24TH AND 25TH FEBRUARY.
The MINDS Regional Training Workshop was organized by the Mandela Institute of Development Studies (MINDS) with the purpose of creating awareness, building knowledge and skills in electoral and governance processes, impacting leadership and effective communication skills in order to influence youth in Africa to actively participate in these processes as well as other national development initiatives.
60% of the one billion populations in Africa is made up youth under 35 years of age (African Union Report, 2012). Whilst systems in Africa are based on a numbers game, the African youth being the demographic majority are responsible for the failure of the continent. Whether young people actively decide to participate in national or regional issues or passively decide not to engage still makes them responsible for things that are not working. Therefore the African youth still have the potential to determine the quality of leadership and governance in the continent creating the future we want.
The MINDS workshop engaged vibrant youth leaders from South and East Africa Region, senior experts in elections and governance from the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA) and the MINDS Youth Program Team. I (Irene Mwangi ) represented Kenya at the workshop as the Founder of Zusha+ Initiative which believes in creating opportunities for rural communities to participate in political leadership and governance processes enabling them to realize socioeconomic and political progress as well as transformation of the society. I am also the Junior Senator representing Murang’a County at the Youth Senate of Kenya.
At the two-day training, participants explored different sub-themes like democracy, governance, elections, power mapping, cultural intelligence and the role of effective communication in galvanizing community.
Day one proceeded with discussions under the theme -Setting the Scene: Going behind ‘the veil of ignorance’ to ‘the original position’. Throughout the training, participants tackled a number of topics; from establishing a new society to making rules that are just and fair; from the electoral cycle to electoral systems in different countries as well as features of free and fair election; from issues of governance to a review of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance; from qualities of a good leader to defining stakeholders and their power and finally from effective communication to designing a communication campaign. Throughout the training, a lot of emphasis was placed on the African youth and their role in the communities they live in.
From the MINDS Regional Training workshop, I gained a broader understanding of electoral and governance issues, networks and professional contacts from all over East and South Africa and more importantly, innovative ideas which I hope to utilize in my own work thus potentially improving active participation in governance processes among st young people in Kenya.