Commonwealth Youth Worker Alliance trustees chart pathway to youth empowerment

07 March 2024
Commonwealth Youth Worker Alliance trustees chart pathway to youth empowerment

Youth empowerment, growth opportunities and a supportive alliance primed for powerful and positive youth development transformations.

This is the vision of the new board of the Commonwealth Alliance of Youth Workers Associations (CAYWA).

Installed at CAYWA’s recent Annual General Meeting (AGM), the new board of trustees pledged to continue the work of the alliance. The organisation was formally established and endorsed by youth ministers in 2017 to facilitate the provision of training opportunities and formal qualifications for youth workers. It also offers them an active role in collaborating and contributing to Commonwealth youth development policies.

The outgoing Chairperson, Emeritus Professor Robyn Broadbent, reiterated the critical importance of the alliance while handing the reins to the new Chairpersons. She also highlighted some of the accomplishments of the outgoing board:

“CAYWA has worked hard this year, thanks to Peter Anum, our project officer, to extend and build our membership. We are currently a member of 33 networks, with Africa being our largest region. Much of the board has been involved in mentoring new associations and supporting their development.” 

Incoming Co-Chair, Tanya Merrick Powell, who represents Jamaica and the Caribbean, pledged to harness the passion, expertise and experience of the new board. A long-standing youth development advocate, Merrick Powell said the new board would:

“create a viable force for positive change and support CAYWA’s vision of becoming a source of collective action for youth development globally.”

The new board will build on the outcomes of the 2023 Youth Work Conference, a partnership between the UK's National Youth Agency and the Commonwealth Secretariat.  During the conference, more than a thousand delegates met to leverage the power of youth work to make transformative changes through social, cultural, academic, legislative and political interventions. 

Speaking at CAYWA’s AGM, Layne Robinson, Head of Social Policy Division at the Commonwealth Secretariat, described CAYWA as an invaluable part of the Commonwealth’s youth development ecosystem and pledged continued assistance to the alliance.

He added that the new board of trustees were joining the network at a pivotal time  when hundreds of organisations, young leaders and officials were engaged in youth-led action for sustainable and inclusive development as part of the Commonwealth Year of Youth.

 Mr Robinson said:

“There is no denying that the pathway towards our youth development and empowerment goals is fraught with hurdles, pitfalls, and unexpected challenges such as the global pandemic. But we understand that we must not shy away from these challenges.”

"We must be agile and innovative, embracing the developments and changes such as the emergence of AI. Most importantly, we must collaborate and plug into what is happening on the ground. CAYWA helps to make all of this possible.”

CAYWA acts as the collective voice of youth workers and development practitioners through its member associations. It is an alliance dedicated to raising the standard and status of youth work by connecting practitioners, strengthening networks, and championing the professionalisation of the field of youth work.

Media contact

  • Ijeoma Onyeator  Communications Officer, Communications Division, Commonwealth Secretariat

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