National Youth Council of Malawi (NYCOM) believes in the ability of the youth to influence decisions for the development of the country and of the young people themselves. We also realise, however, that there are several challenges that dog the youth. A good number of these challenges have to do with factors outside the youth’s own control but there are others that are within their reach to transform.

At NYCOM, we play our role in advocating for youth participation and access to services and resources in different ways. Participating in forums that discuss issues pertaining to youth gives us an opportunity to interact with the decision makers and channel the aspirations of the youth. But our advocacy efforts go beyond that: NYCOM organises interaction meetings between the youth as receivers of services and the duty bearers they need to interact with.

Our efforts to ensure youth advocacy have gone further to involve capacity strengthening for youth leaders on the same. We have used capacity building for youth leaders an approach to enhance their ability to advocate on issues affecting them. Structurally, the youth organisations are an integral part of the Council. As mostly grassroots organisations, the NYCOM affiliates engage in advocacy efforts at the community level, their respective efforts seeking to influence positive action at that level.

Through our Annual General Assemblies (AGAs), we provide platforms where youth leaders from across the country articulate their issues relating to the NYCOM structure and relating to youth programming in general. The AGA is attended by different stakeholders whom the youth leaders engage directly. The other platforms we provide for the youth are conferences and forums whose resolutions are also shared with relevant stakeholders.

Advocacy is not only about talking to leaders or duty bearers or the establishment. Understanding this, in our advocacy we also targets the youth. Our capacity strengthening trainings for the youth leaders seek to transform behaviours and attitudes. There are challenges to youth development that can be resolved through changes that happen in and among the youth themselves. In building the capacity of the youth, not only do we expect them to engage leaders and duty bearers better, we also strive to bring up positive changes in the youth themselves.

Over the years, we have been supported by partners, especially the National AIDS Commission (NAC), to facilitate advocacy sessions in HIV and AIDS aimed at improving youth leadership in the sector. The efforts have led to a number of changes in the way youth participate and access services in most of the districts we have worked in.

Do you have an issue that you know to be very important and worth talking to the duty bearers, leaders or the youth about? Would you like assistance from National Youth Council of Malawi on how you can go about it? Please get in touch with us on the contact information in our Contacts page.