We celebrate World Youth Day for Democracy on October 18th! The World Movement for Democracy will be supporting Civicus’s Civil Society Behind Bars Campaign…
In the spotlightAugust 25, 2014
I Was Not Alone
The World Movement for Democracy is pleased to announce the release of a new Civic Space Initiative video, I Was Not Alone. In the video, Pakistani activist Fouzia Saeed tells the story of working women’s struggle to secure their rights in Pakistan. Forming the AASHA movement, she and hundreds of others challenged a nation’s behavior towards working women. The movement led the whole country to stand together against sexual harassment at the workplace, resulting in passage of landmark legislation for the protection of women’s rights.
In the spotlightAugust 18, 2014
Member Spotlight: Ateki Seta Caxton
Ateki Seta Caxton is the founder and director of Network for Solidarity, Empowerment and Transformation for All – NewSETA in Cameroon, a nongovernmental organisation working to ameliorate the conditions of disadvantaged children as well as improve the capacity of youth and institutions to engage in their local communities advancing livelihoods, human rights and a better environment
You can see his profile here: Ateki Seta Caxton
1. What first got you interested in youth issues?
The dream of a brighter future and faith in the great potential within youth to achieve it. We all aspire to a world with improved employment for youths, less crime, better respect for rights and the environment, and fewer divides, etc. Nevertheless, it has always been my conviction that for anything to change about the multiple challenges facing youth today, youth themselves must shift from indecisive wait-and-see positions and demonstrate a greater readiness to take positive action. Youth participation acquires particular significance in any democratic society and carries high transformative power.
2. What are some of the groups and activities you are involved in?
I co-founded the Network for Solidarity, Empowerment and Transformation for All (NewSETA), in July 2013 aiming to address three principal issues: empowering youths and institutions; supporting and conducting non-partisan research, education, and informational activities to increase public awareness; and strengthening youth participation in the democratic process. So far we already engaged in peace and human right projects in schools and professional training centers. We also started an initiative (Cameroon Youth Coalition for Democracy), now with more than 70 members. Through NewSETA some of them were accredited and deployed across Cameroon as national observers in the parliamentary and municipal elections of September 30, 2013. The World Youth Movement for Democracy subsequently supported our Observers Conference geared towards Intensifying Youth Participation in the Democratization of Cameroon
NewSETA is also currently engaged in the post 2015 campaign. We are featured among the 1000 organizations of the globe participating in the process of developing the call for a Global Policy on Youth in the post-2015 development framework, initiated by the UN Secretary General’s Youth Envoy.
Presently, I direct the platform of Online Volunteers of Cameroon, and we are initiating an online campaign together with the Country Office of United Nations Volunteers and the UNDP to crowdsource the priorities of youth in the post 2015 dialogue process and glean impressions on the role of the Cameroonian youth in the implementation of the post 2015 development framework. The action is anchored in the ongoing consultative process initiated at the UNDP Country Office which aims to reinvigorate these concerns and translate them into concrete benchmarks for the post 2015 development agenda.
Prior to these, I was involved in national trainings and served as secretary to the International team of experts at WAA Cameroon (from GRIP, SWEFOR, PANFSTRAG, WAANSA, IANSA, UNDP, other local experts and law firm) that worked on the reform of Cameroon’s firearms legislation (2010), and prepared the national survey report on the proliferation and illicit use of Small Arms and Light Weapons in Cameroon.
3. What is the situation in your country right now that makes your organization’s work particularly relevant?
There are many challenges, in the midst of efforts being deployed. But let me say that major preoccupations remain in the areas of youth employment, participation in civic life and capacity deficits. Owing to a difficult environment and inadequate skill, many youths encounter barriers to employment and face severe shortfalls in taking initiatives. Approximately 11% of youth aged 15 to 29 years are unemployed, particularly in urban areas. Underemployment affects roughly 94% of young people aged 15 to 19 years and 84 % of those aged between 20 and 24 years. The Youth Development Index stands at 0.44 and the country ranks 130th /170. Youth mobilization, participation and action at the grassroots could be more effective in the sustained resolution of capacity deficits, determined actor commitment backed by resources and emphasis on the development of local potential, providing local communities with competent human resources.
The situation of young people concerning participation in social life and decision making is characterized by low level of involvement. Going back to the last elections of September 30, 2013 which we observed, there were a total of 5,481,226 registered voters only 4,208,796 of who voted; with 1,272,430 abstentions and 185,503 null ballots. So, actually, there were 4023293 effective votes making for just 19% of a population of over twenty million. It is no point saying that adults were certainly more enthused about the process than the youth population. NewSETA aims to fight apathy and promote youth participation in the democratic process – youths in whose hands democratic ideals are likely to thrive. Apathy could undermine their faith in the democratic process and imprint in their minds doubt about the very notion of democracy.
4. If you could have any policy or law reform happen in your country right now, today, what would it be?
I would certainly seek a review of the current Youth Policy (existing since 2006) in order to make it consistent with the shifting trends towards new global priorities by particularly integrating concrete language on school-to-work transition measures for youth and ensuring adequate social protection for them; ensuring that children and youth are achieving relevant and measurable learning outcomes at all levels, etc, which we prioritized in the Envoy’s call for a Global Policy on Youth. It also then follows that the instruments for its systematic implementation need to be reviewed or developed. We would like to see more room given to the Cameroon National Youth Council to take a greater role in the post-2015 policy implementation process.
5. What global issue do you feel strongly about?
The Post 2015 process. Given the current march towards new development goals in the post 2015 era in all countries, a few reasons explain why I am very concerned with the process. It comes at a time when many countries have (or will) not meet all the MDGs. Besides many internal concerns relating to governance and institutional capacity in the past decade, the African continent for example, was/is afflicted by many conflict hot-spots that obstructed or even reversed sustained progress towards these goals. I think it should be an opportunity to reflect more deeply on where we come from, appreciate where we are, and plan for where we are going in the next 15 years, seeking sustainable ways to build and maintain peace in areas affected by conflicts.
6. What is your favorite quote and Why?
I have always drawn inspiration from the “Man in the Arena” speech made by President Theodore Roosevelt on April 23, 1910. This excerpt speaks to me in so many ways sums up all I could say about youth participation: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly; So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
In the spotlightAugust 18, 2014
Introducing our 2014 Hurford Youth Fellow, Rami Soud from Jordan.
Hurford Youth Fellow Rami Soud is from Jordan where he is the Vice President and Director of International Relations at the HIKAYA Center for Civil Society Development. During his fellowship, he will be organizing online discussions on youth roles in social change processes and exploring how youth movements and pressure groups can contribute to democracy promotion. His fellowship will run through mid-December. Following his fellowship, Rami hopes to create an alliance of civil society organizations in the Middle East region that can share their expertise and experiences with youth activists.
See Rami Soud’s Profile here.
Recent News & Blog Posts
September 18, 2014
“Network of Young Peace-builders” at “What Can the World Learn from the Balkans: The Role of Youth in Democratic Transition”
September 18, 2014