Resource mobilisation and financing of youth development has been identified as the gap that has led to outcome documents remaining as outcome documents and not translated into action.
The current mechanism of financing youth development has its challenges from creating a dependency culture, deficiency in autonomy and lack of sustainability.
Yet, young people are often doing a lot with very limited resources.
The price of neglecting investment in young people is ultimately higher than the initial cost of investing in youth development.
The 9th Commonwealth Youth Ministers Meeting (CYMM) taking place at Commonwealth Resort, Munyonyo, Kampala brings youth ministers, stakeholders and youth leaders together to address these burning questions.
Kishva Ambigapathy, Chairperson of the CYC shared how they have always engaged and consulted the young people in an effort for better advocacy and meaningful representation.
Faith Manthi, the Vice-chairperson for resources and partnership of the CYC, shared how her country has a model of financing youth development with a statutorily created national youth council that is allocated a government budget annually and the government procurement services whereby Kenya has the Access to Government Procurement Opportunities that gives 30 percent of the tenders allocated to young people.
Angelique Pouponneau, the vice-chairperson for inclusion and engagement of the CYC, shared how the SIDS Youth AIMS Hub- Seychelles, a youth-led environmental NGO, taps into funding from the Environment Trust Fund.
The ETF is a Fund administered by the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change and the source of the funds is a 20 percent add-on to water bills to every household that is channelled into this fund to finance any activities that relates to sustainable development.
Sujae Boswell, the regional representative for the Caribbean and Americas pointed to the recently concluded Caribbean Regional Conference on the Sustainable Development Goals where the role of young people as “active agents on delivery of the SDGs” was acknowledged and expressed the importance that youth be ‘thoroughly equipped and resourced with the necessary tools to advance the youth development agenda” for national and regional growth.
It was observed that “Governments need to enhance the level of funding or even so enhance capacity building for youth which will allow them to competitively seek grant funding.”
The Commonwealth Youth Council, itself an organization with limited funds, say it has managed to stretch the pound, naira and rupee when carrying out Commonwealth wide initiative.
The first is through collaboration with other governments and organisations that have been willing to provide a venue, or refreshments, or even, part sponsorship of youth development programmes.
The CYC called for urgent reflection by government and stakeholders on how to innovatively finance youth development. We also hope this Ministerial Meeting will endorse greater support to recognise and institutionalise youth structures in an effort to empower the young people across the Commonwealth.