7 November 2018

Malawi: Youth Decide 2019 Group to Bang Heads for Effective Participation in Elections

The grouping running a national elections campaign, code-named Youth Decide 2019, to dial up youth energies and active participation ahead of 2019 Tripartite Elections will on Thursday November 8 convene at a conference at Crossroads Hotel in Lilongwe on how the youth can influence political outcome and steer the country's development agenda.

According to the campaign's team leader Charles Kajoloweka, the conference will provide a platform to 40 Youth NGOs drawn from all the 28 districts of Malawi to engage on key electoral issues related to the youths.

He disclosed that other key electoral stakeholders have also been invited to the to take part.

"This will strengthen collaboration, coordination, information sharing and learning among Youth-NGOs working on youth interventions related to 2019 elections," said Kajoloweka in an interview with Nyasa Times.

He added that the one-day conference also provides the YD-Campaign a strategic opportunity to receive input from Youth NGOs on its planned activities on elections and build synergies with district based youth NGOs.

The Y-D-Campaign is a national initiative championed by a consortium of youth NGOs that include Network for Youth Development (NfYD), Young Politicians Union (YPU), Youth and Society (YAS), MHUB and Youth Net and Counseling (YONECO).

"The thrust of the campaign is to stimulate positive energies and participation of Malawian youth in shaping the country's development and governance agenda," said Kajoloweka, who is executive director for YAS.

"The campaign derives from the conviction that the 2019 elections provides a golden opportunity for the Malawian youths who are in majority to come together to reflect on the country's current state of development and drive their aspirations through organized engagement throughout the 2019 political window."

According to Kajoloweka, this campaign is as a result of a comprehensive consultative process with the youth and key stakeholders working with the youths in Malawi.

"Our focus is on creating space for youth actors to engage on key issues around elections in view of youth participation. Thursday's meeting will also lay out the engagement and participation of youth actors in the development of a youth manifesto," he said.

In May 2019, Malawi will conduct tripartite elections to elect the President and Vice-President, members of Parliament and ward councillors. Prevailing statistics show that during the forthcoming elections, the youth, aged 15-39, will constitute 39 percent of the 17.2 million population, forming a large constituent of both voters and contestants.

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