It seems the world is all about leadership and how it is related to youth these days. Somehow this is the new thing in the international development space. It is somehow thought that engaging youth is the new way of strengthening civil society in developing countries. How real is it that these two terms can go together, Youth Leaders? Does it make sense? I was having this discussion over this project document where supposedly it was all about creating a coalition of youth leaders in the Horn of Africa. A friend mentioned one thing that I found very intriguing. He just said maybe they should first ask these young people to start writing and expressing themselves and or to do some research on issues relating or pertaining to their communities and see how they go about analyzing and presenting these as a first step.
The reason I found this statement very interesting is that it has been one of my constant observations since coming to the fellowship program and seeing firsthand how much weight is given to storytelling or reflecting what is going on in other parts of the world to other communities in both a strong and evidence/fact rich manner to gain support. I had realized that back home we rarely tell our story let alone tell it well i.e. using a comprehensive and inclusive fact based approach. So maybe indeed that is the first stepping stone we go towards. Build more on our communication tools and the way we express and represent others.
Maybe I also just want to say in a way that personally I find it alarming feeding the word Leaders too much into Youth in the context of the developing world we come from. I suppose I don’t entirely agree with the notion that you can create leaders but I absolutely agree with providing the tools, training, guidance and example from which Leaders can emerge or become recognized. Maybe in other words create the environment conducive to bring about leaders.

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