Youth leaders demand a place at the table

Sarah Lindsay

Senior Technical Officer

Youth leaders discuss using youth organizations as strong partners in development at the Women Deliver conference.Youth has been a buzzword throughout the Women Deliver 2013 conference. In panels and plenaries of all topics, the importance of including youth leaders has kept bubbling to the surface. With this interest, it was not surprising that the Youth Leadership and Participation panel was crowded on Wednesday afternoon at Kuala Lumpur Convention Center.‘

The panel consisted of diverse young leaders including Yemurai Nyoni, the national facilitator of Zimbabwe’s Young People’s Network on SRH; Irem Tumer of Turkey’s Bilkent University; Maria Ines Romero, a member of Paraguay’s Youth Coalition; and Disha Sethi, coordinator of the YP Foundation in India. The panel was moderated by Bijoyeta Das of Women’s eNews.

The panelists expressed the four main needs to fully utilize the leadership potential of youth:

  • Meaningful participation
  • Partnership
  • Information access and sharing
  • Space to lead

There was also time for self-reflection. Youth-led organizations can be strong partners to development efforts, Tumer  said, but there’s room for these organizations to work on their credibility, accountability, their networks, and their experiences. Strong youth-led organizations can demand a place at the decision-making table and make an impact on the world.