About The African Youth Charter Hustlers Initiative
The African Youth Charter Hustlers Initiative represents the very first initiative of the African Union (AU) with fully inclusive youth representation across the 55 Member States. The initiative was launched at a critical moment for youth on the African continent as July 2021 marks the 15th anniversary of the adoption of the African Youth Charter (AYC) - a rights-based framework that guides the engagement and empowerment of youth in Africa, enshrines their rights, duties and freedoms. Spearhead by the African Union Office of the Youth Envoy (OYE) and in collaboration with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), this flagship project is specifically designed to mobilise African youth to lead continental, regional and national advocacy for the ratification and implementation of the Charter as well as the establishment of effective monitoring and reporting mechanisms.
In fact, it is currently estimated that 75 per cent of the African population is made up by youth and children, and thus the implementation of the Charter is especially relevant as it addresses, amongst other things: education and skills development; youth employment, unemployment and social protection; young people’s health, including sexual and reproductive health; gender equality; and youth rights, political participation and citizenship. Furthermore, COVID-19 has exasperated the challenges linked to the furthering of agendas centred around the advancement for equality for youth’s voice and agency. Consequently, recognising and supporting the positive contributions of youth in all aspects of society will be significant for advancing recovery efforts and building back better.
To achieve this ambitious goal, the African Youth Charter Hustlers Initiative engages 110 dynamic young activists and advocates with strong networks and influence in their countries, who were selected from thousands of applicants. Two representatives were chosen per country - one young man and one young woman from each of the 55 African Member States to champion the ratification, implementation and strengthening of the African Youth Charter and the youth agenda in their countries and directly contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals as well as interrelated agendas including the Youth, Peace and Security agenda and the UN Secretary General’s Youth 2030 Strategy. The African Youth Charter Hustlers Initiative is projected to create a strong network of grassroot youth leaders who can more efficiently engage the various AU departments as well as regional and national stakeholders on the issues young people face in their communities and nationally, as well as create a platform for youth-led member state accountability and sharing of lessons learned/ best practices.
As a first step in its commitment to support the OYE with the operationalisation of the African Youth Charter Hustlers Initiative through targeted capacity-building measures, UNITAR has developed an online course - Explore Your Changemaker Potential for the 110 African Youth Charter Hustlers. The course is specifically designed to support the AYC Hustlers in getting a clearer vision and action plan that will guide their transformational journey towards the further implementation of the African Youth Charter. Furthermore, UNITAR and the OYE have supported the Hustlers in developing Action Plans for each country team in the summer of 2021, to set goals for and guide their actions for the next two years.
Building synergies for youth empowerment through the OYE – UNITAR Partnership
The African Union Office of the Youth Envoy (OYE) and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) have established a strategic partnership for the implementation of the African Youth Charter Hustlers Initiative with the goal of capitalising on the strong comparative advantages of both organisations for equipping young changemakers and members of governments with the knowledge, skills and capacities to work towards the implementation of the African Youth Charter. The initiative, therefore builds on the OYE and UNITAR’s vast experience of working with young people and youth counterpart networks across digital and physical spaces.
The strong commitment of African Union Commission Chairperson, H.E. Moussa Faki and the AU Youth Envoy, Ms. Chebbi, allows to pave way for the initiative politically across the African continent. In fact, H.E. Moussa Faki during his end of tenure report called on AU Member States to recommit to the full and accelerated implementation of the Youth Charter through the African Youth Charter Hustlers Initiative. As for Ms. Chebbi, her commitment to making this initiative a project that goes past her tenure is further strengthened. Hence it is laying a strong foundation for a close collaboration between the past, current and future Offices of the Youth Envoy who will work together for the planning and coordination of the initiative, to ensure the adequate management of youth and youth counterpart networks and the hustling for the African Youth Charter.
UNITAR, being one of the dedicated training arms of the United Nations system, and youth empowerment being a key priority for the organisation, has committed its support for the effective implementation of the African Youth Charter Hustlers Initiative. Amongst others, UNITAR is responsible for developing the core training contents and formats of the project that will allow the selected 110 Youth Charter Hustlers to further equip them with knowledge and skills needed for the fulfillment of their mandate at national, local and regional levels. UNITAR will furthermore support with strategic planning of the project measures and support the roll-out of the initiative with a focus on long-term sustainability. By joining forces, OYE and UNITAR will make sure that the project measures address key challenges standing in the way of the full realisation and implementation of the African Youth Charter.
How can you support this project?
Supporting this project presents a great opportunity to directly contribute to an exceptional and continental-wide programme, whilst also allowing for the betterment of youth’s opportunities on national and regional levels, recognising that the situation for youth greatly varies from country to country.
To take this flagship initiative to the next stage, we turn to you, seeking support in bringing it to life. We are seeking to build strong partnerships with governments, multilateral institutions, networks and individuals who share the project’s vision of elevating a new generation of young African leaders with a commitment to pushing for the implementation of policies that impact positively on the lives of Africa’s youthful populations.
To learn more or become a partner of the project, please reach out to us at YouthandWomenEmpowerment@unitar.org.