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Youth-led influencing in Pakistan

In Pakistan, key component of the EYW project is youth-led influencing, where young people organize themselves into groups to participate in policy dialogues, influence social issues that matter to them, and explore ways in which they can contribute to youth policy. The goal is to address the economic and gendered exclusion of youth and influence the creation of decent employment options for young people.

 

How does it work?

In the EYW project, youth are engaged in capacity-building programs that include soft skills like leadership, life skills, and other technical skills. These skills are essential to developing well-functioning youth groups that have the capacity to influence the issues that matter to them. By forming youth groups, young people can participate in Oxfam’s national-level activities where they have a chance to volunteer, connect with people, and voice their opinions. This is to ensure meaningful youth participation at various levels of the project, including planning, monitoring, and evaluation. The ultimate goal is that after the trainings and activities, young people will be the ones who lead the influencing agenda of the EYW project.

Additionally, EYW in Pakistan established a National Level Young Leaders platform to provide a safe and bold space for rural youth, especially young women, to voice their opinions. To be selected, young people from across Pakistan can apply through an online application form. After a screening process, candidates are invited for an interview, and highly motivated and passionate young people are selected to join the platform.

Their responsibilities are as follows:

  • Mobilize other young people in their respective areas
  • Design a social media campaign and become an ambassador of their preferred theme
  • Share their experiences and learnings with EYW team
  • Participate in influencing and lobby activities in consultation with Oxfam and partner’s staff
  • Be a part of the Youth Leadership Program organized by Oxfam
  • Strengthen Oxfam’s National Young Leaders Platform

Saif (24) is a member of the Youth Advisory Board in Jamshoro. Read his story

Results

  • A total of 26 young ambassadors are members of two regional-level Youth Advisory Boards organized in both Layyah and Jamshoro. They lead influencing activities and mobilize other youth on issues that matter to them.
  • A total of 9 elected youth (four women) are members of the National Level Young Leaders platform.
  • A group of 15-20 young people were engaged in a “Clean and Green” campaign at a provincial level. Together with Oxfam in Pakistan, implementing partners, youth, and the government, they have planted more than 10,000 trees in the province’s capital and in Layyah and Jamshoro.
  • Young people took initiative to start a rural youth hub by themselves. They secured an abandon building from local community members and set it up using what they had learned from the model of the Innovation Hub.
  • During COVID-19, young people came forward to help those in need. They organized a blood drive for thalassemia patients – they need blood on a regular basis, but because of the pandemic, it become difficult to find donors. Young people mobilized medical professionals and found a place to organize the drive.
  • An influencing network of Youth Advisory Board members, national-level youth volunteers, and thirteen elderly women was formed that advocates for the sharing of care work at the household level and informs on the consequences of child marriage, gender-based violence, and harmful gender norms.
  • Young people learned about youth policy and interacted with government representatives at the provincial level. Youth from Layyah (in Punjab) organized a two-day workshop, with support from Oxfam and implementing partners. They highlighted policy areas that are important to them for decent employment and social inclusion. Additionally, young people from Jamshoro (in Sindh) visited the parliament to understand how government works and got an opportunity to speak with several representatives.

 

The YAB provides a platform for youth to collectively raise their concerns and influence government officials and other leaders to improve job opportunities for youth.     - Saif Ali