December 02, 2020 (Juba, South Sudan): Between 2- 4 December 2020, a three-day public consultation on the ratification of the African Youth Charter (the charter) was conducted in Juba, South Sudan. The first two days of the consultation involved the physical presence of the participants in Juba, while the third day was a virtual session that drew participants across the other 9 states of the country. The consultations drew various stakeholders, which include the African Union Youth Division, three national ministries, the legislature, youth-led civil society organizations, the Media Authority, the South Sudan Human Rights Commission, UNMISS and UNFPA, and the general public. Over 200 participants attended the physical consultations in Juba, the majority of whom were between 15-30 years. The virtual sessions had about 135 participants across the other 9 states (15 participants from each state).
The Executive Director of the Nile Youth Development Actions (NYDA) Mr. John Youhanes who is also an AU Youth Volunteer with the African Union Youth Division was delighted to see that many young people were concerned about the charter. He explained, that being a volunteer from South Sudan, he was assigned to follow up on the ratification process. He described the charter as a legal instrument for youth empowerment which provides a framework for youth development and programming across the AU member states. He further mentioned that since South Sudan has no clear definition of who qualifies as a youth, ratification of the charter would finally settle the matter. South Sudan needs policies, stakeholders, and institutions that encourage youth participation given that the majority of the youth in the country are idle.
Comparatively, he noted that the countries that have ratified the charter and formulated youth policies to implement the charter are doing relatively doing well in youth empowerment ( notably South Africa, Ghana, Namibia, Botswana). He was optimistic that South Sudan could tap into those benefits too and urge the participants to make the public consultations on the ratifications of the Africa Youth Charter to be a national process spearheaded by young South Sudanese. The Nile Youth Development Actions (NYDA) through its online platforms “Zoom” and “Facebook Live” hosted the consultation that managed to create an outreach for 135 participants across 9 states of South Sudan.