Young People-Sensitive and Participatory Governance Approaches: Lessons for the Zimbabwean Government

Young People-Sensitive and Participatory Governance Approaches: Lessons for the Zimbabwean Government

Jeffrey Kurebwa (Bindura University of Science Education, Zimbabwe)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 20
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9388-1.ch005

Abstract

This study seeks to make a strong case for young people's visibility in the governance framework, not only in the sectors that are traditionally linked to their wellbeing and development. Young people should be visible with respect to their role in governance and accountability. This will help ensure that commitments made across all these areas are translated into relevant actions on the ground; it will support young people's ability to hold national and local authorities accountable, and strengthen young people's active involvement in promoting good governance practices at the global, national and local levels, laying the foundations for their long-term engagement as active citizens. The state has the responsibility to perform a core set of duties that allow society to function and exist. In doing so, it forges a relationship with its citizens. Participatory governance is one of many strategies of governance, and refers to the processes and deliberations that citizens are engaged in when discussing the distribution of public resources and broader decision making.
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Introduction

This study seeks to make a strong case for young people’s visibility and inclusion in the governance framework for the benefit of their well-being and development. Young people should be visible in all sectors of governance and should ensure that governments are accountable through their active participation. This will help ensure that commitments made by governments are seriously translated into relevant actions on the ground; support young people’s ability to hold national and local authorities accountable, and strengthen young people’s active involvement in promoting good governance practices at the global, regional, national and local levels. Such a situation will lay a strong foundation for their long-term engagement as active citizens. The purpose of the study is to unpack and contextualise the advantages and disadvantages of different youth-sensitive governance approaches, recognising that each may have merits depending on the context and circumstances where they are applied. The state has the responsibility to perform a core set of duties that allow society to function and exist. In doing so, it forges a relationship with its citizens. Participatory governance is one of many strategies of governance, and refers to the processes and deliberations that citizens are engaged in when discussing the distribution of public resources and broader decision-making.

There are three core reasons why it is critical that young people engage with governance processes. First, there is a significant intrinsic value in upholding young people’s right to participate in decisions that affect them. Young people’s right to participation is articulated across several international human rights conventions such as the International Covenant on Political and Civil Rights; article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which affords children up to the age of 18 the right of participation; and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and the African Youth Charter. Secondly, there is an instrumental value in young people’s engagement in governance processes due to the value they provide in improving policy and programme outcomes. Thirdly, there is an instrumental value in young people’s engagement due to the ongoing reward of developing active citizens who can play a key role today in improving overall development gains local, nationally, regionally and globally, and who can become more active and participative adults to secure future improvements.

This study therefore explores how evidence from young people’s involvement in governance processes in other countries can provide lessons and guidance for the government of Zimbabwe in creating spaces for young people’s participation in governance processes. The study further focuses on mechanisms to ensure accountability, which can enable active citizen participation by young people, focusing on the role that they can, and should, play. Young people’s participatory governance covers a wide spectrum such as education, anti-corruption, local decision-making on young people’s issues, and environmental awareness.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Accountability: The assumption of responsibility for actions by decision-makers, the engagement by civil society in holding these decision-makers to account for their actions, and decision-makers’ responsibility to respond constructively to those holding them to account.

Young People’s Participation: Refers to the way in which they voice their views and concerns, exercise their rights, and engage in dialogue with and influence decision-makers – that is, the way they engage as active citizens.

Participatory Approaches: Involve young people in determining the services that are delivered to them.

Governance: Refers to the processes through which a state exercises power and the relationships between the state and citizens.

Young People: Refer to older children, adolescents and youth under the age of 25.

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