3rd MenEngage Africa Symposium – Youth Declaration

We, the youth of MenEngage Africa, recognize that our our wellbeing and livelihoods within the African continent is met with multiple crises. With these crises unfolding globally and regionally, if we are to survive, thrive and contribute to gender equality and human rights in our diversities, then ethical meaningful inclusive youth involvement and engagement is our main recommendation.

For too long, we have been excluded or only tokenistically included in the policy and decision-making processes affecting our lives, livelihoods, and futures. In advocating for meaningful engagement, we demand that our voices be heard, our lived experiences valued, our demands addressed, and our efforts, leadership, and agency acknowledged. We intend to achieve these goals not as passive beneficiaries but as initiators, leaders, partners and collaborators every step of the way.

We are not waiting for an invitation to transform masculinities and harmful gender norms that greatly affect us all, specifically young women and girls. In fact, we want to be at the forefront of driving change; pioneering innovations, mobilizing our peers and communities, advocating for human rights and gender equality, working from the ground up to transform harmful norms, stigma and discrimination in youth directive and effectively managed approach.

We emphasize our collective responsibility, duty, and opportunity to create a youth friendly network that is fully accessible and inclusive, one that centres on the needs of young women, refugees, young people living with disabilities, LGBTIQ+ persons, young people of color, and other vulnerable and marginalized youth groups – also emphasizing the intersectionality of these identities. We also highlight the importance of fostering intergenerational solidarity, dialogue, and partnership in this process.

With this 3rd MenEngage Africa Youth Declaration, building on previous declarations from the 1st and Second MenEngage symposia in Johannesburg and Maputo respectively, we – the youth of the MenEngage Africa Alliance – present our common vision for promoting Gender Equality in Africa. It is the outcome of an extensive consultation process that began with a 2-day MenEngage Africa Youth Annual General meeting, attended by young people from over 17 countries within the MenEngage Africa Alliance.

This Youth Declaration is founded on– and is a continuation of– the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, particularly Sustainable Development Goal 5, and it builds on the purposes and principles enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Charter of the United Nations, that proclaims the inherent dignity and equal rights of all human beings, regardless of their sex, race, religion, or any other status.


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