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Youth Councils raise their voice at national Youth Summit
Innovative and critical teaching methods, the active creation of job opportunities for youth, and the institutionalization of youth councils in the local government structure. This was some of the issues that the 18 West Bank Youth Local Councils raised at a national Youth Summit in Palestine.Ane Sommer, Inspirator with Sharek, AADK partner organisation in oPt
03. April 2012
The Youth Local Councils are elected by their fellow youth in the local communities. Working in close cooperation with the Municipalities, the Youth Local Councils provide young people with a unique local arena for voicing their needs, and influencing decision-making processes. The Youth Summit that was arranged by Sharek Youth Forum gave the Councils a space to present their work, express their needs and concerns and push for specific policy change from national decision-makers.
One by one, the young women and men, representing more than 250 council members present in the hall, raised their voice and expressed their desires for positive social change. Despite an impressive audience the youth acted determined and cool. In front of more than 200 journalists, diplomats and NGO representatives they directed their suggestions and questions at among others Prime Minister Dr. Salam Fayad and Minister of Local Government Dr. Khalid Qawasmi, demanding clear responses and action.
Nuba youth at their first national event
One of the councils is the newly elected Nuba Youth Council established in a partnership between Sharek Youth Forum and ActionAid Denmark in Nuba village north of Hebron city. The Youth Council was elected in December last year by 356 young General Assembly members and has just launched their first community initiatives and a local campaign. The Summit was their first opportunity to take their work to the national decision-making level.
Policy change on its wayThe Summit resulted in specific promises for change from the decision makers. Among other things the Minister of Local Government, Dr. Khalid Qawasmi, promised to work on both the institutionalization of the Youth Local Councils in the existing local government structure as well as on lowering the minimum age of candidacy for local council elections from 25 to 21. In the coming period of time the Youth Councils will work hard on holding the decision makers accountable, and push for the realization of these promises.