‘YOUTH VOICES MUST BE HEARD ON GOVERNANCE’
It is imperative that young people are included in governance processes. These sentiments were expressed by Radhika Mudliar, a youth advocate during a recent Leadership, Good Governance and Human Rights Workshop at the Lautoka City Council. Ms Mudliar said across the globe, weak governance exacerbates grievances and fosters distrust of and disengagement with institutions. “Entrenched power dynamics lead to the exclusion of those on the margins of society and it is extremely important that youth voices must be heard in governance processes,” she said. The workshop was run in partnerships between Ignite4Change, the Lautoka City Council and Western Charity Alliance targeting youth advocates, civil society, and faith-based institutions, LGBTIQ and community-based organisations.
The key objectives of the workshop were to mobilise communities to become actively engaged actors in decision and policy making, especially on issues affecting them directly, build capacities and create enabling spaces for community engagement in decision
and policy making and to educate to the general community on democratic ideals and good citizenship. “Workshops organised for youths in the Western Division are often a rare occasion and many youths do not take advantage of it.”
Monisha Naidu, a member of Ignite4Change said as the organisation works to increase the active participation of youth in democratic processes, they recognise they are not a homogenous group.
Their views and the knowledge and skills they possess for engaging with governance structures vary by age, sex and cultural/contextual factors.
Ignite4Change uses specialised approaches to reach and include marginalised young voices—including those of girls and young women, ethnic minorities, youths with disabilities and other frequently excluded groups—helping ensure our initiatives are an equitable reflection of the rich, diverse communities in which youth live.”