Continuing with the UNDEF funded project on Youth Empowerment for Participation in Local governance, the Malawi Human Rights Youth Network organized Issues based Sensitization Campaigns through road shows in Nsanje, Chikwawa, Phalombe, Neno and Ntcheu in the month of August. The road shows reached out to the youth, councilors, Village and Area Development Committee members in strategies places where messages of youth participation in local governance were disseminated. The road shows were participatory and the audience had opportunities to interact with their duty bearers probing on what youth participation and development agenda has been put in place to ensure that the youth are enjoying their right to development in the areas. In total, 8970 community members were reached with the messages through the six road shows held in the districts. The MHRYN has taken some action points of the issues raised during the road shows and will make stern follow ups in the councils and the affiliate youth organization in the districts.
Furthermore, the Malawi Human Rights Youth Network organized Youth Participation Advocacy Meetings in Chikwawa, Msanje, Ntcheu, Nkhatabay, Mzuzu City, Ruphi, Karonga , Kasungu and Mzimba Districts in the month of August and September 2016. The objective of the advocacy meetings was to create an interface fora between the youth and the duty bearers in councils to discuss and plan together on how the youth in districts are to participate in local governance issues and all development initiatives from the grass root. The advocacy meetings involved appraising the District Development Plans (DDP) in the districts to ensure that issues affecting youth development and participation are part of the plans.
It is encouraging to report that since the roll out the project in 2014, youth participation in local governance structures in 24 targeted districts has improved by 39% as compared to the base line of 18%. The advocacy meetings have also enhanced collaboration between the youth NGOs, elected council officials and the secretariat. The Village and Area Development committees are now considering the youth as agents of change and equal partners as well as a critical mass for development in rural and urban areas.
All the meetings and road shows were covered by the print and electronic media.