The YouLead-Collective (YLC) is one of Project 90’s youth initiatives, best described as an “Initiative by the Youth for the Youth”. Following the retreat held earlier this year – which brought over 24 young leaders together at Jakkalskloof Farm in Swellendam to discuss responses to the climate change crisis and to create a framework for the YLC initiative – the membership has now grown exponentially to over 50 members. The retreat created a platform for empowering the members to own the initiative and since then, they have spearheaded various plans to engage actively with civil society through collaborative work.
To date the YLC has created a leadership structure, which clarifies how each participant fits within the initiative, and the responsibilities of the various roles. At the centre of the structure, the steering committee is the driving force behind the strategic plans needed for the YLC to achieve its’ vision. Members of the YLC have the important duty of voting for or against the ideas proposed by the steering committee, should ideas proposed not fulfill YLC’s mandate. The stakeholders, Project 90 staff and the YLC Coordinator compliment and support the initiative as it moves forward.
The initiative continues to expand. Recently, the YLC completed its’ initial draft of a strategic partnership agreement with the African Youth Union (AYU), and more discussions are underway with Activate!, 350.org, WESSA and SAIIA to explore collaborative opportunities. The content of these agreements are probably less important than the symbolic message sent to other civil society organisations, in that they pave the way for the national and international communities to collaborate with the YLC, in creating a united voice of the youth from the Global South at key climate change negotiation meetings.
Blessing Mutiti, YLC Coordinator