The Commonwealth Youth Programme (CYP) works with young people aged 15-29 and has offices in four regions: the Caribbean, the Pacific, Africa and Asia. Over half of Commonwealth citizens are young people.
The aim of the programme is to empower young people in decision-making processes affecting their social, economic and political well-being. CYP lobbies for youth inclusion at senior policy-making levels within government and other organisations, ensuring that young people are integral development partners. The work of CYP includes projects for peer counselling in HIV/AIDS, access to learning business skills and credit schemes, and oversees a programme to rehabilitate former child soldiers in Uganda. It is becoming increasingly engaged in facilitating peace-building, which was the theme for the 2008 Youth Ministers Meeting, held in Sri Lanka in April.
The programme has also established a Diploma in Youth Development Work, which is now taught in 45 Commonwealth countries by 28 universities and training agencies. This Diploma is designed to provide youth workers with an underpinning knowledge on which to base their work with young people; an understanding of the values and ethics of the profession, grounded in Commonwealth values; and the practical skills to undertake the work.
What is the Commonwealth Youth Programme?
The Commonwealth Youth Programme (CYP), part of the Commonwealth Secretariat, is an international development agency working primarily with member governments’ ministries and departments of youth. The programme aims to engage and empower young people to enhance their contribution to development. Our work is guided by the realities facing young people in the Commonwealth and anchored in the belief that young people are: a force for peace, democracy, equality and good governance; a catalyst for building global consensus and an essential resource for sustainable development and eradicating poverty.
What is our definition of a young person?
Whenever the Commonwealth Secretariat refers to a young person, this is anyone between 15 and 29 years old.
What do we mean by youth empowerment?
Giving young people the opportunity to participate at all levels of the development process and in decisions that affect their lives, by creating and supporting the conditions which enable them to act on their own behalf and on their own terms.
What do we mean by youth mainstreaming?
Youth mainstreaming is a long-term strategy that aims to ensure that young people’s perspectives are fully recognised within societies.
What do we mean by youth responsive budgeting?
This provides a means for determining the effect of government revenue and expenditure policies on young people. Youth responsive budgeting seeks to ensure that the collection and allocation of public resources is carried out in ways that are effective and contribute to advancing and promoting youth empowerment.
What is a sustainable livelihood?
‘A livelihood comprises the capabilities, assets (including both material and social resources) and activities required for a means of living. A livelihood is sustainable when it can cope with and recover from stresses and shocks and maintain or enhance its capabilities and assets both now and in the future, while not undermining the natural resource base.’ Source: Adapted from Chambers, R and G Conway (1992).
What are the Secretariat’s goals in this area?
Our main goal is for a Commonwealth where young women and men have realised their potential individually and collectively and are effectively integrated as agents of change for development and transformation.
How do we measure progress?
We have developed the Plan of Action for Youth Empowerment, which is a framework for Commonwealth actions in youth affairs; as such it is a foundational document for the CYP and its ministerial network. However the Plan of Action for Youth Empowerment also seeks to stimulate and guide action by other development partners: from intergovernmental agencies, to NNOs, to organisations formed of young women and men themselves. In addition to this, we are in the process of developing the Youth Development Index which would be a standard tool to monitor and evaluate youth development in Commonwealth countries.
If we would like assistance from the Secretariat what should we do?
Please contact the Commonwealth Youth Programme by emailing email@example.com or calling 0207 747 6462/6456
What are the Millennium Development Goals?
The eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – which range from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education, all by the target date of 2015 – form a blueprint agreed to by all the world’s countries and all the world’s leading development institutions. (Source: UN).
The eight goals are:
I am a young person. How can I get involved?
As a young person in the Commonwealth you can get involved in our work by contacting your National Youth Council or Ministry for Youth Affairs and becoming an advocate for youth development; contacting our CYP regional centres and volunteering and contacting your Regional Youth Caucus Representative