On the 25th of July 2017 the African Union Liaison Brussels office held it first Open House Initiative meeting. There, Bora Kamwanya, ACP YPN policy & Advocacy officer and Aissatou Touré expert in Sustainable agriculture and development, held a discussion with African Union’s (AU) officer Philip Bob Jusu, Mohammed Iglueh Ofleh, Elias Network, and African Diaspora youth organizations such as Africa Communications Week (AfricaCommsWeek), African Diaspora Youth Forum in Europe (Adyfe), African Diaspora Network in Europe (ADNE), AfricanGist, Be Proud asbl, Cafrikap, Cercle des Etudiants Congolais de Louvain-la-Neuve (CEC LLN), Empower‘her Network, HISHI , Jeunesse Ubuntu, YABS network, and Women Intech Africa on the subject how to bring the African youth diaspora closer to the African Union in order to strengthen their feeling of belonging and empowerment.
Bora and Aïssatou raised four points relating to the need of (1) a comprehensive inclusion of the Diaspora, (2) inclusion of a partnership with the Pan African Youth Union, (3) the implementation of the previous signed charters and (4) the prioritizing if key technical groups.
- Bora explained that we should have a clear definition of what we call the Diaspora to be able to focus our action plan on the right people. By doing such, he raised the idea of creating a database cataloguing every person of the African Diaspora. Bora also suggested the idea of organising an African youth Day for the African descent youth to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and information, and to meet up with other organizations.
- The second point focuses on the necessity to establish a strong cooperation with the Pan African Youth Union who are coordinating African Youth organizations. This cooperation can only benefit Africa.
- The third point focuses on the inclusion of the youth on both the implementation and the monitoring of signed charters at national level.
- At the end of the meeting, specific technical groups were proposed for this initiative to work on. Aïssatou and Bora suggested creating a media, events and internship technical group, a policy and advocacy technical group, and a cross cutting group on youth and gender issues.
In conclusion, it was agreed that the Open House Initiative should be institutionalized into a youth initiative composed of technical groups working on specific youth=related issues. This Youth initiative could also work on the establishments of a data base cataloguing skills from the AfricanDiaspora and on a diaspora investment fund.
By Aïssatou Touré