I have often observed with fascination the diversity of the different dimensions and processes that a civil society carries with it and shapes. Often it is us young people who can change and steer development policy processes – provided we have a platform to do so and provided that we are also offered genuine and meaningful chances to activate change and where I have often gotten stuck is in the how and when? One would say I have been 'pregnant' with ideas and frustration for the past 6 years and finally feel 'ready' to activate and tap into whatever version of meaningful work I am purposefully guided to do. This took some time (maybe too much) after being afforded various opportunities on many levels (both professionally and personally), having made a conscious effort to 'learn' and listen I now feel ready to 'birth' the Civic Youth Initiative and the simple why here is to advocate for young people and encourage them to find their place in politics. Our place needs to matter and hold weight beyond tokenism, meaningless engagements and surveys. We need to be meaningfully integrated into spaces that allow us to make decisions that will impact us and future generations and most importantly we need to be granted the agency to do so. Yes - this is a collective responsibility.
Politics should no longer represent something foreign, elite, unreliable, complex and distant - politics are in the everyday. Politics shape and inform our entire livelihoods and without a proportionate representation of not only youth voices but voices representing ALL facets of society I fear that our future is not only a scary one but one that will continue to leave us behind and with unfortunate dire consequences.
The misconception that young people's activism is fleeting, spontaneous and lacks substance has got to change but most importantly there needs to be a shift in how we both engage with youth voices and with their views on politics in general. My mere attempt through this initiative is to simply start and take you all along with me for what can be assumed to be a challenging and enriching journey.
There is no amount of preparation or readiness that 'trumps' just starting with what we have and from where we are.