Advocacy training on the Inclusion of African youth in Europe

Thirteen participants from the project Inclusion of African Youth in Europe took part in the next level of the project: a blog-writing and advocacy training at the IDEA NL headquarters on Friday the 10th of January. The participants had previously learned about debating and spoken competitively in the After Summer School program and debate competition before taking part in a public debate in November 2013. The topics for the program were education, employment and security. The project brought young people with diverse backgrounds together and enabled them to think of measures to promote the inclusion of African youth. The 2014 training sessions aim to help the participants impact current policies with these new ideas.

The six participants in the advocacy training focused on a human-rights-based approach to advocacy in the first session led by IDEA NL Director Yvonne Heselmans. This approach enables advocates for change to hold governments accountable to international standards and conventions that carry authority, pushing for changes in cases of violations of human rights, injustice and the absence of democracy. The participants looked at the three documents that are important for lobbying for inclusion: the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), and International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and discussed how they could be related to African youth. The session also covered how to set clear and specific goals and plan a campaign well in advance.

The seven participants in the blog-writing training already kept blogs for the most part. They could thus immediately make use of the advice from Wim Bossema, Volkskrant journalist and Africa expert. They learned more about the stylistic changes are necessary when writing for blogs as opposed to writing for (news)paper consumption: for example that articles need to be pitched to a specific audience more, and be kept shorter and more to the point. The participants prepared a blog entry for the first workshop and will learn how to rewrite it for different audiences in the next sessions. Thus, they will learn how to attract an audience to their blogs, and use that audience to engage in a discussion about topics they want to raise awareness on.

The Inclusion of African Youth in Europe project is organised by IDEA NL together with NCDOYouth in Action, a European Commission youth fund and the African Studies Centre. For more information and questions, contact Roeland Hemsteede