The Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) Youth Volunteer Corps aims to be a catalyst for the development of a more integrated sub-region and regional community and to accordingly, enhance Central Africa’s relevance in a globalised world. This particular consultation on the launch took place on 13 October 2021, and enabled a rich exchange of ideas on ‘Promoting Youth Volunteering for Development’, with appropriate organizations. The discussions included lessons learnt in the process of establishing and implementing such a programme that seeks to engage and capacitate youth for regional development.
The project will allow for the consolidation of the status of young people in Central Africa as key participants in achieving Africa’s human development goals and targets by bringing them together to share their skills, knowledge, creativity and learning. The various stakeholders included, the African Union, European Union, United Nations, Non-Governmental Organisations and youth organisations. The online connectivity also allowed for communication in French and English, with interpretation in the four ECCAS official languages to ensure inclusion and mutual understanding.
As part of the programme, two regional role models, Congolese singer and songwriter, Barbara Kanam and Franco-Gabonese professional basketball player, Géraldine Robert were invited to inspire the young people. Madam Kanam’s inspiring address highlighted the importance of collective mobilisation in responding to the challenges of the Central African region. In her own words: “It is not a question of being political in order to bring about a transformation; no matter who you are, no matter what you do, you can be the centerpiece and the trigger for change, for improvement, for hope for African youth and Central African youth.” ACCORD’s Founder and Executive Director, Dr Vasu Gounden, shared his insigths and lessons from the Southern African region on youth efforts arising from ACCORD’s Inter-generational Dialogue Series.
This consultation enabled the conception of a comprehensive report that includes best practices. The information shared will feed into the drafting of proposals towards enhancing the Young Volunteers Corps initiative within the ECCAS space. ACCORD and ECCAS will continue its collaboration towards strengthening the skills of youth in the region.