African youth advocacy trainings concluded

The thirteen participants from the project Inclusion of African Youth in Europe completed their blog-writing and advocacy trainings at the IDEA NL headquarters on January the 31st. The series of trainings sought to give them the instruments to plan and carry out their own advocacy campaigns and helped them develop a consistent and effective advocacy plan for projects that they are currently working on.

The participants had participated in a full debate program with trainings, a competition and a public debate in November 2013 on topics like education, employment and security. The project brought young people with diverse backgrounds together and enabled them to think of measures to promote the inclusion of African youth. They now learned how to express these ideas in advocacy campaigns and blogwriting.

In the blog-writing trainings given by Volkskrant journalist Wim Bossema, the participants learned to write pieces of different genres (interviews, personal views, analyses, reports) that would keep their audience interested and that will give a wider appeal to their message. The participants also learned about the practicalities of pitching, writing, and re-rewritng blog entries. Now, the participants are going on a visit to the Volkskrant office to get a glance into the workings of a national newspaper.

In the advocacy trainings, Daniel Schut, an experienced debater and communication coach, took the young people through the complexities of an advocacy campaign in a more systematic way, to ask the right questions and to find out the weaknesses of the plan. One of the important things they learned was to think backwards: from well-defined achievements in the future to concrete step-by-step actions in the coming months that are going to further one's goals. The participants also went through the various actions their advocacy campaign can include (e.g. a blog, a petition, a website, a demonstration) and looked closer on how to organise a debate.

Now that the formal trainings are completed, the participants will get busy with their advocacy campaigns and with the planning of the final event in Nieuwspoort, Den Haag, which allows them to present the results of their advocacy campaign and an opportunity to pitch their idesa with relevant politicians and policy makers.

The Inclusion of African Youth in Europe project is organised by IDEA NL together with NCDOYouth in Action, a European Commission youth fund and the African Studies Centre. For more information and questions, contact Roeland Hemsteede