Purpose of YALDA and Rationale
The purpose of the Youth Alliance for Leadership and Development in Africa, as stated in the Constitution, is:
- To foster communication and productive collaboration between African students, youth and leading professionals, with an interest in Africa, from all over the continent and abroad
- To raise awareness among young people of the critical role they have in the development of the African continent, thereby generating inspiration, perspective and person-power for the innovative projects and diverse career goals of the youth
- To facilitate African development through defining and practicing various leadership skills that will help young people address pertinent issues and challenges facing them, as identified in the African Youth Charter
- To encourage young people to use this organisation as a platform to identify various ideals and methodologies to use in articulating their vision to become leaders in various sectors affecting Africa.
“YALDA is about choice and empowerment”
Compared to other regions of the world, Africa has the largest segment of young people in its population; it is estimated that young people make up more than 50 percent of the population in most African countries, compared to 27.3 percent in the rest of the world. African youth suffer the highest rates of unemployment across all socio-economic groups and are stereotyped as lacking motivation and innovation.
Young African leaders are faced with several challenges in their endeavors to help advance their areas of interest while helping develop their communities:
- Lack of information and guidance are major contributors to these problems. For example, youth on the continent lack the references and support from predecessors that students in western countries are privy to, thus disenabling them from conducting comprehensive research in their field of interest
- African youth have inadequate skills, experience, exposure and confidence to communicate their wants and needs effectively with professionals and leaders in their communities and around the world. Also, young Africans are not provided with an enabling platform to express their acquired skills
- African youth leaders are pioneers in their areas of interest and are therefore disadvantaged when trying to solicit both guidance and support to implement their proposed ideas
- Furthermore, these young people face tremendous financial constraints as a result of the inadequate funding available for youth-initiated and/or led projects and organisations.
Currently, most decisions concerning the welfare of the African youth and the development of the continent are made by national governments in consultation with international experts and organisations. This results in low levels of community and youth participation in the planning of development initiatives, consequently, with disappointing returns.
Young people in Africa, who best know what their specific problems are, set the agenda. Energized by the confidence that people are listening, YALDA members propose creative and optimal solutions to the everyday obstacles they face. They determine what projects they want to pursue, how to implement them, and how to gain access to the tools and support that they will need to make their vision a reality.
Individuals and professionals can help make a difference. First, they choose the location and sector of their interest and expertise, following which they can either wait to be contacted by YALDA youth members, or they can choose which youth members they want to mentor. Our professional affiliates can also pick which youth-run organisations or projects they find most compelling, specify what they want to gain from the relationship with the project team, and decide how they want to get involved. They can contact the project leader, learn about the situation, offer information, advice, and assistance as needed.