Generation G Youth Board: Fighting gender inequality across three continents

The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs places youth at the heart of its work. But how do our partners meaningfully engage young people in policy-making and decision-making? The Generation G(ender) Youth Board serves as a great example. The Generation G partnership, an initiative of our partner Rutgers International, addresses the root causes of gender inequality by engaging youth leaders and civil society organisations, and shaking existing gender norms in parts of Africa, the Middle-East and Asia. Geofry Ariong Ochieng, co-chair of the Generation G Youth Board, explains and shares his experiences.

Geofry Ariong Ochieng
Geofry Ariong Ochieng, co-chair of the Generation G Youth Board.

Generation G’s Youth Board comprises of seven youth leaders from seven countries: Uganda, Morocco, Lebanon, Jordan, Indonesia, Rwanda and South Africa. We have a five-year mandate, which means we are able to track progress and make sure change actually follows through. Young people form a huge part of the world population, but we need to claim a seat in spaces where decisions are made. Only then can we shake things, to make sure we are beneficiaries and not victims of existing structures and norms.

How we work? The Board’s aim is to enable meaningful and inclusive participation of young people at all levels of the programme, including at the highest level of decision-making at the strategic global level and at the highest global operational level. The board is led by Nelvia Rawheath (the South African chair) and me. We participate on equal terms with the rest of the adult members to ensure that young people’s needs, interests and lived realities are addressed and put at the fore front.

Elevating youth participation

At a personal level, this has been a great opportunity to represent youth voices, both at country level decision-making and at the global level. Occupying this space is an indication that there is urgent need for adjustment among organisations, global and local programs to engage youths as co-designers, creators and decision-makers on issues and programmes that affect the diverse young people. This can only be done through intentionally involving youths and elevating youth participation from the basic beneficiary levels to implementers and decision-makers in the process of building the future of their communities and the world.

As (co-)chairs, Nelvia and me facilitate conversations, sessions, and engagement highlighting the perspective of young people in Generation G. At the moment, the Youth Board is co-organising a global dialogue on meaningful and inclusive youth participation with all global partners, together with Rutgers, as well as organising and co-facilitating the annual linking and learning event in December 2021. It feels good to play a role in shaping our own future.