Written By Mercy Wangui
The #Commonwealth Youth Council…does that sound familiar?
I don’t know if I should be embarrassed that I only got to know and hear about the Commonwealth Youth Council (CYC) just two weeks ago. To give you a better perspective, the exact date is 22nd April, 2021. 2021 guys! The worst part of all this, I’m not the only one. Most of the people I know were also not aware. Birds of a feather huh 😂. Just kidding, or maybe not. On further probing, I realized it’s not just people close to me, it’s most of the youth. Is it our ignorance or is it that these bodies are not doing a good job in creating awareness? I say it’s both. But what do I know?
Let’s start from the top. We’ve all heard of the Commonwealth right? OK, you my reader may have, but incase you haven’t let me tell you about it.
The Commonwealth is an association currently of 54 member states. What was the criteria of these countries coming together you wonder? They were all colonies of the British. Under the Commonwealth we have the CYC which is what we are interested in. The CYC was endorsed in 2013 and is defined as the voice of all the Commonwealth Youth, about 1.2 billion youth, making it the largest youth centered and led platform. This definition is quite funny to me because this implies that any decisions made here in regard to the youth are a reflection of the majority of the Commonwealth Youth, yet most of us are not even aware of the existence of this platform. So anyway, maybe it’s just my ignorance and those of the people around me.
The CYC’s main goal is to promote youth development. How the CYC works, every member state has a National Youth Council that has 2 national youth delegates, very important people. These two people form the General Assembly of the CYC. Remember this, we’ll come back to this later.
The CYC is led by an Executive Committee that comprises of 9 members. These 9 members include: Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson – Inclusion and Engagement, Vice-Chairperson – Partnerships and Resources, Vice-Chairperson – Policy and Advocacy, Regional Representative – Africa and Europe region, Regional Representative – Asia region, Regional Representative – Caribbean and Americas region, Regional Representative – Pacific region and Representative – Special Interest Groups.
Upon election, the committee members hold office for two years. For you to vie to be in the committee, you must be nominated, by the state or any other body by virtue of you being impactful in your work in the society. After nomination, a candidate must accept their candidature so that they can proceed to campaign. Remember the two individuals in every member state I told you to keep in mind, they are the ones who make the decision on who joins the executive committee through voting. Quite powerful people don’t you think?
Currently, the campaigns are ongoing until 21st May. Voting will then be done on 23rd and 24th and the elected candidates announced on the 25th of May 2021.
How I even got to know about this is through Wevyn who is both my colleague and mentor. Wevyn is vying for the position of Vice Chairperson Inclusion and Engagement. Give it up for your girl. Don’t we love to see women doing the damn thing!!! (Okay. Calm down Mercy.)
Wevyn was nominated by the United Nations Youth Association of Kenya as well as the State Department of Youth, Coast Region. If you’re a true follower of this blog, you know she deserves this. A true leader who does all she can without expecting an applause at the very least. A leader whose work speaks for itself. If you ask me, of all the positions, Inclusion and Engagement is the most important. Of what benefit is it to have all these organizations represent us yet we never feel like we are part of it? If as young women, Africans, LGBTQIA+ , refugees and youth with disabilities and other diverse identities never feel part of the process?
Wevyn promises to VIBE with us, all of us. To ensure we are all VISIBLE, to have all of us INCLUDED, to BUILD Synergies for us, fight for our EQUALITY, and promote SECURITY for us. No one will be left behind, get it now? Yes? No? Okay.
How can we help her get voted in? By sharing, posting, tweeting and reposting her work, her profile and manifesto so that the strength of her candidacy can be felt by the delegates. You can access her campaign materials here. I hereby take this chance to ask you to support her campaign in whatever way. A vote for Wevyn is a vote for grassroots youth to be represented.
Let’s VIBE with Wevyn.
Thank you for your time and I hope to connect with you again soon.
About Author: – A professional in the field of social development with interests in statistics, accounts and research. She has worked in different NGOs and has gained knowledge and skills in social welfare projects cycles. She hopes to create social change through research, diplomacy, consultancy and program management.