Funmilola Adeagbo at the African Presidential Leadership Program

On the 30th of June 2019, The National Training Academy in Egypt welcomed the first batch of the African presidential leadership program (APLP), 100 participants from different African countries (including the host country) were represented at the program including Nigeria, Ghana, south Africa, Zambia, Djibouti and so many other countries. The program was launched as part of the 2018 World Youth Forum and coinciding with the 2019 Egyptian presidency of the African union. The program aims at bringing together African youths with different affiliations and beliefs under one umbrella aimed at development and peace in the society, complementing Egypt’s role in effective participation with other African government. The program is designed to give more than 1000 young people from Africa a chance to participate in 10 sessions of 100 African youths. 

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The program lasted for six weeks with intensive training sessions by professionals and we visited some historical places including the great pyramids, Suez Canal, the sphinx, Alexandria library and so many other wonderful places. Some of the courses taught at the program includes leadership skills, Emotional intelligence, sustainable development goals, design thinking, African agenda and so many other topics.

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In conclusion, the program helped us to network and also share ideas on some of the things to be implemented on when we got back to our home countries. In attendance of the closing program was the president of Egypt and ambassadors of some African countries.

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By Funmilola Adeagbo – Get in touch with Funmilola via LinkedIn.

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ACP YPN at the European Development Days (EDD) 2019

On the 18th and 19th June 2019, for the fourth time, African Caribbean Pacific Young Professionals Network (ACP YPN) sent a delegation of 7 ACP YPN Youth Ambassadors to the thirteenth edition of the European Development Days (EDD), the biggest European development forum gathering the development community together.

As a lead youth organization in the ACP- EU partnership, ACP YPN had a precious spot at the Youth Lounge in the European Village along with other youth organisations.

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The Youth Lounge aimed at providing a meeting place for young people to network and connect between themselves but also to engage with EDD participants and organizations. High profile visitors came to the Youth Lounge such as the second lady of Ghana or Nas –the famous influencer, among others.

ACP YPN participated and organized several activities during the two-day event at the Youth Lounge including engaging with EDD participants:

-Adélaïde Hirwe moderated the panel under the topicTackling Inequality through Youth Governance at ADEPT Platform stand. The discussion showcased examples of African diaspora contribution in reducing youth inequalities.

-Our already famous Dance for equality this year was lead by Uriel Dance through steps of salsa, bachata and to the sound of African rhythms. Participants were invite to engage, through movement, on the topics of the vital role of the youth and the need for fully inclusive and equal participation and leadership in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

-Kelly-Ann Fonderson participated as a speaker also in one of the panels at ADEPT platform stand, a meetup onBuilding fair, inclusive and sustainable world by harnessing diaspora civic and political participation.

-Yannick Cocard and Emelyne Igihozo interviewed participants at COLEACP tv stand, about sustainability and agriculture.

They all participated at the One Vote campaign discussion and shared best practices on mobilising the youth to vote with the EDD Young Leaders and members of the audience.

To conclude the event, nothing as the magic performance of Magic System, the Ivorian musical group, that got everyone dancing on the stage.

The ACP YPN delegation for the 2019 EDD edition included:

  1. Adelaide Hirwe, ACP YPN Program Manager
  2. Kelly- Ann Fonderson, ACP YPN Expert
  3. Ana Gallego Solana, ACP YPN Communication Assistant
  4. Gilberto Morrisaw, ACP YPN Expert
  5. Emelyne Igihozo, ACP YPN Youth Ambassador
  6. Ariane Takyi, ACP YPN Expert
  7. Yannick Cocard, ACP YPN Youth Ambassador

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ACP YPN European Elections Social Event

On the 21st of May, ACP YPN celebrated their social event European Elections, the Kick-off! This event included the participation of Karim Hallal Peche that has been in institutions such as Amnesty International, the European Parliament in Brussels and UNICEF, both in the Spanish Committee and in the office in Brussels that leads the relations with the EU institutions. He currently works in the Migration Policy Group, a migration think tank in Brussels.

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His passion for politics and communication led him to start a YouTube channel to disseminate in a dynamic and neutral way about the European Union. Regarding the #thistimeimvoting campaign, he was the Spanish most voted at the beginning of the campaign, and the second one in Europe.

Some of the main recommendations that Karim mentioned in order to better communicate politics to young people and include them in the policy-making process included two crucial bullet points:

-Get closer: sharing their language (by using a clear vocabulary and not wordy sentences that makes nothing but confuse the audience, and being on the platforms they use will help you to get closer to them.

-Include them: you have to take them into account, make their voices heard if you want them to listen to you.

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After Karim’s speech, an intense debate about the importance of black people representation in the European Parliament and the lack of it took place at the event. The attendees talked about how to involve black youth into politics and what would the consequences be. It’s not an easy process, but it must be reached step by step.

By Ana Gallego – Get in touch with Ana via Linkedin

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ACP YPN at the European Youth Week 2019

On 29th-30th April 2019, Aïssatou Touré, ACP YPN Policy Officer, and Sarah Gane, ACP YPN Expert were invited at the European Parliament in Brussels to the European Youth Week 2019, under the theme “Democracy and me” aiming to explore the ways young people can influence decisions and be active in society.IMG-20190430-WA0059

The European Youth Week takes place every second year aiming to celebrate and promote youth activities through events organized in all countries participating in Erasmus+ program bringing together young people, project participants, youth organisations and policy-makers. It is organized by the European Commission, Directorate-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture in partnership with the European Parliament and involving other Directorates-General of the European Commission.

Sarah and Aissatou alongside Celine Fabrequette, African Diaspora Youth Forum in Europe (ADYFE); Martin Dethier and Mildred Nzau (AU- EU Youth Cooperation Hub); Karimot Odebode (One Champion); Guewaratou Zongo ( G5 Sahel Youth Voices) were invited on the European External Action Service stand to discuss and interact with participants about  their respective work in youth-related projects.

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Sarah and Aissatou were in charge of monitoring a Trivia Quiz, aiming to raise awareness and share knowledge on youth participation and involvement in politics in Europe and beyond. Cooperating with the young people invited on the stand, we set several questions for the quiz aiming neighborhood countries, African countries, and Europe as a whole. An interactive and fun way to discover different political contexts through concrete data, compare Europe and other parts of the world to make links but also promote connections among participants.

This event was perfectly included in the whole stand activity, among small roundtables, SDG games, pictures and Commission sensitization stand on youth and social inclusion.

 

By ACP YPN

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ACP YPN Expert, Kelly-Ann Fonderson at the Feminism and Gender Equality Lightning talks

On 4 March, 2019 ACP YPN Policy Expert and Youth Ambassador, Kelly-Ann Fonderson presented at the Feminist and Gender Equality Group Lightning talks in Bath, UK. The Feminist and Gender Equality group at the University Bath hosted an event on feminism featuring 12 student leaders. Fonderson’s presentation on “Black Feminism and Radical Self Care” included a brief introduction to the Black feminism, key contributions to contemporary feminist literature.

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Kelly-Ann Fonderson during her presentation

Fonderson’s presentation introduced the audience to major thinkers within the Black feminist tradition spanning across two centuries. The presentation traced the genealogy of intersectionality, a term coined by African-American legal scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw. Introductory remarks began with the 19th century Black Feminist Sojourner Truth, an abolitionist, women’s rights activist, and author of Ain’t I A Woman.” Truth’s interventions in both spheres were never fully embraced due to racism or sexism. The term intersectionality was coined in the 1980s and is common term in mainstream feminism today. While the term has since been adopted in sociology, education and even EU policy, it was originally used to describe how multiple forms of discrimination overlapped or intersected.

 

The presentation elaborated on thinkers such as Audre Lorde and bell hooks and their contributions to feminism and theorizing inequalities from a structural standpoint. A reconceptualization of what feminism meant for them which was overcoming the oppressive nature of sexism for all people. This definition incorporates women and men across class, age, and ethnicities. One of their various approaches to challenging structures of discrimination is summarised in Audre Lorde’s quote. Audre Lorde famously wrote “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence. It is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” This notion was unpacked and linked back to self-care, self-esteem and living consciously as a practical way of incorporating feminism into everyday life.

In summary, the “Black Feminism and Radical Self Care” talk amplified the overlooked yet crucial voices to contemporary feminism that have shaped women’s rights, the fight for equality and society as a whole.

 

By Kelly-Ann Fonderson – Get in touch via Linkedin

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ACP YPN Expert at Projekt Hansa First Annual Youth Conference

On 20 February 2019 Kelly-Ann Fonderson, ACP YPN Policy Expert, attended the Projekt Hansa Youth Event hosted by the ECR Group at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium. The aim of the youth conference was to strengthen and promote trade and cultural ties amongst European countries while equipping the next generation of young leaders with skills. Fonderson joined 16 participants representing eight Northern European countries including Belgium, Germany, Estonia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden and the UK.

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Some of the notable panels and workshops included:

  • Single Market and the euro – Ulrike Trebesius, MEP and David Hening, European Centre for International Political Economy (ECIPE)
  • Leadership Skills – ECR Chairman Syed Kamall, MEP
  • Social media strategy – Kayla De Nardi
  • Networking training – Dr Martine Alonso Marquis

Panels ranged from trade and the Single market, leadership, digital marketing and networking. Notable speakers included MEP Ulrike Trebesius who presented on the future of trade and the Single Market and the euro currency. In her intervention, she shared the possible effects that the UK’s departure from the EU would have upon the Single Market. Nevertheless, she optimistically concluded that the market will find its own way independently of politicians.

MEP Kamall led a leadership skills session. He emphasised the need to have a clear vision, communication built on understanding of your team members, and aligning common goals and ambitions to produce the desired outcome. He shared his journey of entering multiple elections and building resilience and perseverance in the face of unsuccessful elections and the importance of learning from each attempt.

The social media training session included expert advice on how to run effective campaigns and strategies to make an impactful message reach a targeted audience. Kayla de Nardi shared her experience and emphasised the importance of authenticity, keeping the audience in mind, and facilitating engagement.

As a young professionals network it is important to train youth with the soft skills they need to network effectively and foster meaningful connections. Dr Martine Alonso Marquis, Career Advisor & Trainer and Adjunct Professor at the Vesalius College, shared useful advice on preparation, body language and listening to improve soft skills and networking.

In conclusion, the first Projekt Hansa youth conference provided a promising platform to engage youth with knowledge and skills to strengthen both business and cultural ties within Europe.  

By Kelly-Ann Fonderson – Get in touch via Linkedin

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ACP YPN at the 10th Diaspora Development Dialogue (DDD10)

On 8-9 December 2018, the 10th Diaspora Development Dialogue (DDD10) on ‘The role of the African Diaspora as catalyst for sustainable development in the implementation of the Global Compact for Migration’ (GCM) took place in Marrakesh, Morocco to coincide with the Global Forum on Migration and Development Summit and the Intergovernmental Conference to Adopt the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.

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The conference was organised by the Africa-Europe Diaspora Development Platform (ADEPT), in collaboration with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in Charge of Moroccans Living Abroad and Migration Affairs (MDCMREAM), the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ), the Council of the Moroccan Community Living Abroad (CCME) and the Forum des Organisations de Solidarité Internationale issues des Migrations (FORIM). The two-days event provided a space for a diverse range of representatives, from NGOs to senior government officials, to communicate on ways to improve the African diaspora contributions to the GCM implementation.

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ACP YPN was represented by Ariane Takyi, whose presence ensured that the voice of youth was recognised during key deliberations and exchanges on a vast number of topics related to the conference’s theme. Participants contributed to the production of a 10 points declaration on ‘The role of the African Diaspora as a catalyst for sustainable development in the implementation of the Global Compact for Migration.’

Get in touch with Ariane Takyi via Twitter.

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ACP YPN at 4th Cariforum-EU Consultative Committee, St. Lucia

On 3-4th December 2018, Yentyl Williams represented ACP YPN at the 4th Meeting of the CARIFORUM-EU EPA Consultative Committee (CC) where ACP YPN sit on the EU (EESC) side as the only young professionals network. The meeting which was held in Gros Islet, Saint Lucia, was co-chaired from the CARIFORUM side by Dav-Ernan Kowlessar and from the EU side by Brenda King. According to the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the CARIFORUM States and the EU, the task of the CC is to assist the Joint CARIFORUM-EU Council in promoting dialogue and cooperation between representatives of organisations of civil society.

CF-EU CC

In the declaration, the CC recognised that in order for it to fulfil its role and to provide added value to EPA implementation, it needs (1) the monitoring and evaluation framework to be in place and implemented, and (2) to be made aware of its budget allocation under the 11th EDF so it can (a) plan for its meetings, (b) manage its work plan, and (c) identify which organisation will act as Secretariat to the CARIFORUM side of the CC. This is vital for the CC to achieve its 3 main goals which are: (i) to be an advocate; (ii) to provide technical support and advice; and (iii) to increase visibility and awareness, inter alia via the dissemination of information.

In addition, the CC repeated its call for permanent observer status at the Trade and Development Committee (T&DC) in order to guarantee the timely and relevant contribution of the CC to the Joint Council. The CC also highlighted that, given the slow pace of the implementation of the EPA and the marginal benefits achieved to date, the CC therefore requests that it receives the Terms of Reference for the 2020 EPA Review as it is important that this incorporates recommendations from the previous review. The CC also wants to be an active partner in this review as it is of crucial importance to more directly involve civil society organisations to ensure that the benefits of the agreement are realised.

The CC regreted that most CARIFORUM member countries do not yet apply the regional preference clause, which is key for promoting intra-regional trade, regional integration and the development of regional value chains. The CC strongly recommended that this be a focus for resolution in the upcoming review. The CC regrets that some CARIFORUM participants were not able to obtain a Visa to attend the fourth meeting being held in a CARIFORUM member state. This brings to focus the CC call for implementation of the regional preference clause and the mechanisms for temporary entry of Natural persons (Mode 4). 11. The CC appreciated that the ‘octroi de mer’ aims to support local industries in outermost regions (ORs) until 2020 and underlined that that CARIFORUM SIDS share these same features, therefore, this should be taken into account within the EPA implementation framework as regards Other Duties and Charges (ODCs).

With specific regard to youth, the CC emphasised that it wants to facilitate a bridge between civil society organisations from Europe and the CARIFORUM region by creating an online medium to share knowledge and opportunities for capacity building, projects and programmes. We believe this will create more impactful partnerships amongst for example; employers, capital, consumers, youth and trade unions.

Find out more about the CC, its members and access previous declarations here.

Get in touch with Yentyl via LinkedIn  & see tweets here

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ACP YPN AT AFRICITIES 2018

From November 21 to November 24, 2018, Aïssatou Touré ACP YPN Public Policy Officer was invited in Marrakesh to Africities 8th edition, the biggest democratic gathering in Africa, organized by Unites Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLGA). During 4 days, this major event occurring every three years gathered more than 7000 participants including local and regional authorities, governments, civil society organizations, financial institutions and private sector.

Cités Unies France and Platforma co-organized the session “Decentralized cooperation, an effective tool for youth empowerment ” in which Aïssatou intervened as a speaker alongside Frédéric Vallier, General Secretary of Platforma ; Jean-Marie Tétart, Mayor of Houdan (France), president of Yvelines International Cooperation and Development; Patrice Ayivi, Mayor of Aného (Togo) ; Zakia Mrini, President of the Moroccan Institute of Local Development; and Roger Mahazoasy, Director of the Decentralized Cooperation of the MID (Madagascar).

With a population of over 200 million young people between the age of 15-26 years old in Africa, there is an urgent need to implement policies focusing on young people in order to benefit from the demographic dividend of this young population. In this context, three points were developed by Aïssatou on ways local authorities can improve employment and employability for young people: (1) Identify the needs of young people and adopt policies in line with those needs; (2) Partnering with different stakeholders ; and (3) Support young people’s entrepreneurship initiatives.

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First,  decentralized cooperation is essential in allowing local authorities to adopt consistent policies in line with the needs of the beneficiaries of their policies, in this case young people. Identifying the needs of young people is indeed the first step before adopting any policies targeting them and this can be done by creating permanent structures for young people to express themselves and help the local authorities prioritize the areas of cooperation. As an example Madagascar founded a local youth council to allow the youths to enter in dialogue with policy-makers and orientate policies. Another example is the municipality of Aného (Togo) who carried out a survey among the young people to determine the field of study that interested them if a technical school were to be created. The creation of the school was a success as it was in line with the needs of the youth.

Second, local authorities can partner and support Civil Society Organizations, private sector and develop through city-to-city cooperation programs contributing in Youth Development and Youth Leadership. This will allow young people to gain skills outside the classic school curricula and help them attain their full potential. The gained social, ethical, physical, cognitive skills can support them to define their personal and professional goals, widen their horizon but also gain self-esteem, empower themselves and others. Concretely this can be done through the development of volunteering programs, through city-to-city cooperation, but also inside the municipality to allow young people to get to know more about the work their municipality is doing and gain skills as well as experience.

Third, support youth entrepreneurship initiatives is a key step to enhance youth empowerment as it will allow them to test local innovative solutions, create jobs for themselves and others but also help them develop socially and economically their community. As an example, Les Déterminés is a youth-led company providing training and coaching for young entrepreneurs including those coming from rural and poor areas of the Paris region. The trained young entrepreneurs go back in their own communities to create jobs and improve the living conditions of the local population.

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In conclusion, efficient, sustainable employment policies for young people can only be implemented if:

  1. Inclusive public policies identifying the needs of the beneficiaries of those policies and including the youth in this process are put in place;
  2. Partnerships with relevant stakeholders supporting and implementing youth development initiatives are created;
  3. Ownership and support is given to youth initiatives.

 

By ACP YPN

Want to know more about Governance and youth inclusion ? Get in touch with Aïssatou on  LinkedIn, Twitter.

Check out Platforma’s article on the session : Africitiés 2018, city-to-city cooperation to empower young people.

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ACP YPN Expert Kelly-Ann Fonderson at Black Girl Convention

On 25 November 2018, Kelly-Ann Fonderson, ACP YPN Policy Expert and Youth
Ambassador, presented her keynote speech at the second annual Black Girl Convention in Bristol, UK. Black Girl Convention is the largest event in the South West of the UK dedicated to women and girls of African and Caribbean heritage. The event includes inspirational talks, workshops, live demos on topics ranging from arts, science, tech, activism, health, business and more.

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Kelly-Ann Fonderson speaking at Black Girl Convention 2018. Photo credits: Black Girl Convention

In her speech, Kelly-Ann shared three key lessons which helped her while working abroad and navigating high level EU policy spaces as a young woman of colour. Her three overarching lessons were centred around confidence, self-care and inspiring communities.

1. Confidence:

Showing up as your full self

What you bring to the table is valuable

Believe in yourself and your voice

2. Self-Care:

Navigating stereotypes and labels

Practice self-compassion

Reframe your mindset

3. Inspiring Communities:

Connect with like-minded people who share the same vision and passion

Build a strong support system

Stretch beyond your comfort zone

Kelly-Ann highlighted issues of representation and encouraged young people to engage in politics and decision making spaces. In sharing her personal journey, she implored young people to think of themselves beyond preconceptions and stereotypes that may pose as barriers towards them fulfilling their full potential. Her speech resonated with both young and older women in the audience leading to a discussion on building resilience amongst young people and women.

 

By Kelly-Ann Fonderson – Get in touch via Linkedin

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