AMPLIFYING YOUTH VOICES IN GHANA’S 2020 ELECTIONS
The My Voice My Vote Project is been funded by The Civil Society Fund, and it’s been implemented by Youth Empowerment Synergy (YES-Ghana), it is a citizen participation intervention. The project seeks to raise the voices of youth and enable young people to make informed choices and exhibit responsible and appropriate behaviors as active citizens, during the upcoming 2020 election period it will primarily focus on enhancing participation of the youth and increase their capacity to constructively engage, with adequate youth messages for politicians.
The objective of the voice my vote project is to amplify youth voices in sustainable development policy spaces influencing public discourse and addressing power imbalances, disparities and discrimination in Ghana’s 2020 elections agenda. The project target audience be young women and men in Ghana who constitute a significant social group affected by their lack of voice in sustainable development policy making in general, and the political agenda of elections 2020 in particular.
There are three main activities in the project to be executed by Youth Empowerment Synergy (Yes Ghana) project team, the activities has a natural logic in that they build on each other.
Activity 1: Conduct ‘My Voice My Vote’ Youth Survey
There will be a national citizen survey to bring youth voices into the mainstream of official election debates and discussions. ‘My Voice My Vote’ will ask young people about which SDGs they consider most relevant to their lives and which should be prioritized in the next government, in a popular bid to shape national development priorities.
Activity 2: Undertake ‘My Voice Counts Too’ campaign
The outcome of the ‘My Voice My Vote’ survey, which will constitute an analysis of key findings and trends, supported by easy-to-understand visualizations of the data, will form the basis of massive youth mobilization and local advocacy across the country using online and offline channels.
Activity 3: Host Youth Encounters with Presidential Candidates
In a bid to escalate the youth position that emerged from the ‘My Voice My Vote’ survey, it will be arranged to work with the main political parties in the 2020 elections to host youth encounters with their respective presidential candidates. The Youth Encounters, will be an opportunity for young people to have direct engagement with presidential candidates on topical issues affecting them and how the next government can map out strategy to ensure the youth are in a better position.
Youth participation policy decision is a fundamental right. It is one of the guiding principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The My Voice My Vote Project will ensure active participation, the youth at the end of the project will be empowered to play a vital role in their own development as well as their communities, develop knowledge on civil and political participation, citizenship and to promote positive civic action.
Funded under a sub-grant agreement with CARE International, the four-year Adwuma Pa project is empowering economically vulnerable women and girls within the cocoa supply chain.
The project is supporting 5,000 women and girls vulnerable to child labour, forced labour, and other violations of labour rights in 80 cocoa-producing and cocoa-processing communities – 40 communities in Tano South and Asunafo North Districts of the Brong-Ahafo Region, 20 communities in Asikuma-Odoben Brakwa District of the Central Region, and 20 communities in Bibiani, Anhwiaso, and Bekwai Districts of the Western Region.
We have deployed a strategic combination of globally-recognised, evidence-based women’s economic empowerment interventions and context-specific child-labour monitoring systems, curriculum and training programmes to improve the meaningful economic participation of women and girls in the target locations.
We are doing this by listening to women and girls’ needs, desires, and barriers to success; co-creating interventions in a participatory way; increasing women and girls’ understanding of their labour rights; and enhancing women and girls’ technical and business skills.
We are also working with men and boys within cocoa-growing communities to change local behavioural norms against women’s economic engagement; increasing women and girls’ opportunities for advancement through peer and business networking; designing a labour monitoring and mitigation system to protect against child labour and forced labour, including a community hotline; providing gender, equity, and diversity (GED) training for private sector actors; and elevating community recognition for protecting against child labour and forced labour in a national awareness-raising media campaign.
Funded by the Danish Civil Society Fund (2020), the Catholic Relief Services (2016), and UNDP (2008, 2012), the Young Peace Ambassadors initiative maximises the elections cycle in Ghana to galvanise youth action for conflict transformation and peacebuilding in some of the country’s hottest conflict flashpoints.
The project adopts a two-part approach to deepening youth-led strategies for peacebuilding and community cohesion.
The focus is on young women and men aged 15 to 24 who hail from and reside in the target locations –Alavanyo and Nkonya in the Volta region, Tamale in the Northern region, Damongo in the Savannah region, Bolgatanga and Bawku in the Upper East region.
Selected through a participatory community-led approach that ensures trust and acceptance, participating youth attend the popular Young Peace Ambassadors camps where they receive peacebuilding and community mobilisation training.
They also develop tailored peacebuilding action plans that become the basis for the second part of their peacebuilding efforts after the Camp meeting.
In all project locations, YES-Ghana supports teams of Young Peace Ambassadors to undertake various peacebuilding activities, including outreach to traditional leaders, drama and creative work at community gatherings, radio discussions, among others.
To date, more than 500 youth have directly benefitted from the project, altogether reaching more than 100,000 other youth with the peace message across all locations.
The significant reduction in youth-led violence recorded in these locations during the last three elections can be traced to youth action under this project.
Funded by the Ford Foundation, the Youth Leadership for Social Change (YL4SC) project is contributing to expanding opportunities for youth leadership and active citizenship towards a more inclusive Ghanaian society.
Through this project, YES-Ghana is providing 400 young people with improved skills for effective social change leadership. Located in three public universities – University for Development Studies in Tamale, University of Energy and Natural Resources in Sunyani, and the University of Cape Coast – the project is enhancing opportunities for young people to apply leadership skills through the development and implementation of youth-led projects.
We are doing this by running Youth Leadership Academies in the target locations, offering learning trips to successful leadership projects and institutions, supporting participants with technical and financial assistance to develop and implement their own social change leadership innovations, and matching participating young leaders with mentors who serve as role models, coaches and guides for participants’ leadership experience.
We honour successful young leaders who complete the programme with a Certificate of Achievement, and induct them into the Young Changemaker Community where they continue their leadership journey beyond the project.
Funded by the UNDP (2016-2018) and the Danish Civil Society Fund (from 2019), and implemented in partnership with danish NGO 100% to the Children, the SDG Youth Action Campaign has a three-fold objective: to raise the profile of youth as equal and competent development partners able to contribute meaningfully towards achieving the SDGs at all levels; to build consensus among a wide range of stakeholders on the importance of engaging youth as key actors in the development process; and to provide improved leadership, technical and operational capacity for youth engagement in local and national sustainable development efforts.
Through the SDG Youth Action Campaign, YES-Ghana has created a network of 25 SDG Youth Clubs in senior high schools altogether reaching over 2,000 members who are learning, sharing and taking action on the SDGs on a weekly basis.
The project’s SDG Youth Essay Competition has undoubtedly resonated well with the youth, attracting over 500 entries across participating schools in 2017 – essays that highlighted youth-led community solutions for achieving the SDGs.
YES-Ghana has also developed a Youth Action Guide for the SDGs, and a Toolkit for Youth-Led Accountability Action both of which have become important tools for youth action at the local level. Being a national project, the SDG Youth Action Campaign targets young people under the age of 35 in every region and every district. By the end of 2018, Campaign activities reached more than 500,000 youth through social media, local radio and community events.
Beyond that, we are continuously undertaking organisational capacity assessments of youth-led organisations, running SDG Youth Academies, hosting SDG Youth Action Conferences, training and deploying SDG Young Reporters, and engaging with the wider SDG community at national and international levels.
The Voices of Youth project has received funding from various donors since 2012 to date, including the UN Democracy Fund, the Danish Civil Society Fund, the UNDP, and the Commonwealth Foundation. The project responds to rising concerns over insufficient attention to critical issues affecting youth in Ghana and the lack of structures for mainstreaming youth into national policy-making.
It is designed to provide a long-term mechanism for youth to articulate their concerns and to make policy input. Under this project, YES-Ghana convenes the Voices of Youth Coalition – 350 youth-led organisations in the country that focuses on shaping the development policy discourse in the country.
A Directory of Youth Organisations has been developed and available at www.ghanayouthdirectory.org. It provides a one-stop point of information and a much-needed source for collaboration and exchange of information among actors in the youth development sector.
Through this project, YES-Ghana has trained hundreds of youth researchers and advocates and facilitated the youth action research that resulted in the development of the Ghana Youth Manifesto in 2012 and the People’s National Youth Policy in 2017. These flagship publications have become the main advocacy tools for youth policy action among youth groups across the country.
YES-Ghana also hosts the Youth Policy Dialogue Series across major cities in the country, offering much needed multi-stakeholder platforms for deliberating on youth issues and forging common actions informed by the People’s National Youth Policy.
Funded by UNDP (2008, 2012) and the Catholic Relief Services (2016), the project maximises the elections cycle in Ghana to galvanise youth action for conflict transformation and peacebuilding in some of the country’s hottest conflict flashpoints.
The project adopts a two-part approach to deepening youth-led strategies for peacebuilding and community cohesion. The focus is on young women and men aged 15 to 24 who hail from and reside in the target locations – Alavanyo and Nkonya in the Volta region, Tamale and Damongo in the Northern region, and Bawku in the Upper East region. Selected through a participatory community-led approach that ensures trust and acceptance, participating youth attend Young Peace Ambassadors’ Camps where they receive peacebuilding and community mobilisation training.
They also develop tailored peacebuilding action plans that become the basis for the second part of their peacebuilding efforts after the Camp meeting. In all project locations, YES-Ghana supports teams of Young Peace Ambassadors to undertake various peacebuilding activities, including outreach to traditional leaders, drama and creative work at community gatherings, radio discussions, among others.
To date, more than 500 youth have directly benefitted from the project, altogether reaching more than 100,000 people with the peace message in all five locations.
The significant reduction in violence recorded during the last three elections in the project locations can be traced to youth action under this project.