NAYD hosted a group of four steering committee members of the African Youth Decade Alliance /AYDA/ on a mission to the African Union Commission /AUC/ from 18-22 March, 2011. AYDA is an African regional alliance composed of 9 African regional networks namely, African University Students Network, African Monitor Trust, Association Jeunesse Vertes du Cameroun, Inter Faith Action for Peace in Africa, International Young Catholic Students, Nahdet el Mahrousa, Network of African Youths for Development, Southern Africa Youth Movement, South African Youth Council.
AYDA established in Johannesburg, South Africa where this organization met to deliberate on issues of monitoring youth related commitments by the AU in November 2011. The specific objectives of the alliance are, 1)To constructively advocate the AUC, Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and member States for the implementation of African Youth Decade 2009-2018 Plan of Action (DPoA) and African Youth Charter (AYC), 2) To monitor the implementation of the DPoA and AYC at country level, 3) To popularize the DPoA and the African Youth Charter (AYC) among African youth, 4) To provide technical support on advocacy and monitoring to African Youth Organizations (AYOs) around the DPoA and AYC, 5) To mobilize action of AYO’s in key development and policy issues affecting them, 6) To facilitate collaboration and information sharing between different AYOs.
The delegation members are Ephrem Berhanu, NAYD CEO, Mr. Francis Maberi Inter-Faith Action for Peace in Africa (IFAPA) Youth Desk, Mr. Kabore Gerard, International Young Catholic Students in Africa, Ms. Nokuthula Mbesa, South African Youth Council, Mrs. Namhla Mniki-Mangaliso, Director, African Monitor Trust, Mr. Freddy Nkosi, African Monitor.
The group pays a visit to the AUC Youth Division and had a fruitful discussion. AUC welcomed the initiative and they showed an interest to collaborate and work together. AYDA will be signing Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the youth division outlining roles of the two parties. The MOU will give AYDA an observer status in AU summits.
AYDA delegation met with Ms Sandra Zawedde from UNECA (Human and Social Development Section, African Centre for Gender and Social Development Division). She welcomed the spirit and effort of the AYDA and expressed readiness to create partnership between the AYDA and her department. She also commended the AYDA to explore avenues of using indicators in tracking the progress of the AUC and members state on the DPoA and the AYC.
The group had a chance to meet with Oxfam International Liaison Office to the AU and Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), a German-based foundation. Both of these organizations have MOU with AUC and the group sought important lessons on the area of work that we need to engage with.
Ephrem and Freddy had a chance to meet with the Packard Foundation African Regional Advisor to introduce the alliance and to explore on how we can collaborate on the initiative. The discussion was promising and the foundation showed keen interest to work with AYDA.
As a follow up from the mission AYDA is going to sign MOU with AUC Youth Division in the near future to formalize their partnership and collaboration. AYDA will also explore possibility of singing a bilateral agreement with the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to establish a liaison office in Addis Ababa, to interact directly with institutions based in Addis Ababa and increase visibility of the Alliance and advocacy opportunities. AYDA has to develop its 3-year Plan before end of May 2012. This will help in the sustainability of the Alliance, build long term partnership with relevant stakeholders and facilitate fundraising. The 3-year plan is seen as a strategic document and also as a guide; therefore it will be reviewed and updated regularly according the circumstances and priorities. ■ Ephrem Berhanu