DANDELION KENYA ENGAGES YOUTH & NAKURU LOCAL GOVERNMENT TO LEND THEIR VOICE TO POST2015 DISCUSSIONS
The post2015 Development agenda has been lauded for being open and inclusive such that people of all ages, gender and abilities particularly the youth and are no longer side-lined in the development agenda in which they are beneficiaries as they are actors. Dandelion Kenya , a grassroots organization working with adolescents, youth and women based in Nakuru Kenya set out to host forums in Nakuru Kenya to engage the local government and young people in institutions of higher learning on the much spoken about post2015 development agenda. The forums were aimed at ‘Building consensus at all levels’
The post2015 development agenda has been a pretty much global conversation since inception but given that we are almost near adoption, it’s time we started the discussions as part of our lunch conversations in Nakuru, Turkana, Lagos, Chibok if we are to truly leave no one behind. The Nakuru post2015 youth forum was intended to pertinently move young people from just participatory confines to providing an enabling & preparatory platform for engagement and follow-up methodologies in pursuing Sustainable Development at all levels.
The Nakuru County officials meeting on post 2015 was intended to harmonize development discussions at the global level with local needs while at the same time providing an opportunity for local government policy makers with an opportunity to understand the discussions within the post2015 development agenda and how this applies to planning at the county government level.
Successful forums, partnerships forged
More than 12 learning institutions and organizations were represented at the youth forum, the forums whose aim were to; Create a platform for community actors and county decision makers to chart a way forward parallel to efforts being implemented in other levels; the forum achieved this by bringing together young people who will soon in their various professional capacities bear the responsibility of articulating and implementing the post2015 development agenda. In Nakuru, one of the fastest growing towns in East and central Africa, the need for intergenerational dialogue cannot be emphasized enough, the forum further provided a platform for an intergenerational dialogue on Post-2015, MDGs, lessons learnt and how to move forward with Post-2015 Development Agenda .The forums created an opportunity to create awareness on the post2015 development agenda discuss possible ways of contribution to the formulation and implementation of the post 2015 development agenda. This was especially important given that the agenda has so far been global yet to achieve sustainable development we need all people on board, this is especially captured through the all famous ‘leave no one behind’ phrase associated with the post2015 development agenda
The forums beyond providing an opportunity to engage young people and county government forged important partnerships between civil society, institutions of higher learning and the government. Sectors that continue to work towards the same goals but in silos, as my friend likes to put it, even if you work in silos, push open your window and peep through the curtain what is happening in the other silos!!!!
Beyond physical meetings and forums in pursuant of sustainable development
Engaging the traditional and new media was one of the objectives of the forum especially for the youth forum. Dandelion Kenya and one of the beneficiary participants from Egerton University Njoro Campus were hosted at Egerton radio (local radio station owned by one of the participating institutions). The radio interview was geared towards engaging an audience that would have otherwise not been able to participate in the forum physically. The radio show dubbed generation Y is anticipated to have a reach to a conservative estimate of 20,000 students and young people surrounding the Egerton University Njoro Campus.
During the Nakuru Post 2015 youth Dialogue, the hashtag #Post2015Dialogue was launched. The launch of the hashtag was meant to kick start a social media dialogue that would enable participation and consolidation of input beyond physical meetings. This would provide a platform to tap onto the extended networks of organizations, institutions and individuals represented at the meeting. The hashtag anticipated to provide a platform for organizations, particularly youth organizations to continue discussions on post2015; various topics, themes and goals therein.https://tweetreach.com/reports/13745069, the newly launched hashtag reached 4703 and 19,804 impressions,(https://tweetreach.com/reports/13844207) shortly after the Nakuru Post2015 Youth Dialogue and approximately reached 25,000 and more than double the impressions during the first twitter chat held on the SDG on gender equality. The analysis of the tweets has been compiled on these storify links
More work needed
A key take away was that Action 2015 and post 2015 are alien to the youth and a majority of Kenyans including officials in county government and there is a need for increased campaign, sensitization and mobilization.
There was need to engage more audiences even beyond those engaged in our pilot forums. From the youth meeting, recommendations on strategies for engagement included Student leadership programs to support snowball engagement with other students, Public Lectures and intense outreach to various universities, essay competitions and twinning programs. The Nakuru post2015 forums were a success with all objectives met. The feedback from young people highlighted the need to collate young people’s input in global processes. Moving forward Dandelion Kenya will work with institutions of higher learning in Nakuru to establish post2015 hubs through which further dissemination of information on global policy processes can be conducted.
One thing is clear, we need to preach the gospel of post2015 far and wide and soon enough if we are to avoid duplicating the mistakes of Millennium Development Goals. Which were seen and left a preserve for the technocrats and development experts