Building youth agency

During a break, a colleague and I fell into discussing key findings of a commissioned baseline study we were reviewing, particularly that on young locals’ very low score in confidently expressing their thoughts whether in school, at home, or in their villages.  There is an indicator that appears to refer solely to the target of intervention (young people) but in fact embraces young people’s physical, economic, social, political, and cultural environments, and ultimately, the resulting product from the interaction of these with any young person’s make up (personality, physical and physiological attributes), a wicked problem therefore.

This brings up the concern within the monitoring and evaluation community for causality and attribution, seeing that accountability for taming wicked problems does not solely rest on one agency or group or nation for that matter.   Thus the imperative to work with others, allocate tasks and resources, and measure and report on individual responsibility vis-a-vis achievement, in effect build community ownership for the constitutional interest on Filipino youth and their role in nation building.

I’d like to add government’s leadership role in this, which is to provide a clear, consistent, and unifying policy for building youth agency, de-politicize public youth programs (how are young people expected to be nation builders if politicians tell young people to shut down their brains and merely parrot what they say?), and to consolidate and make available to the public coherent data and information that show national and local progress of the undertaking.  Who should these government agencies be?  I’m thinking, apart from the LGUs, the National Economic and Development Authority and the National Youth Commission.

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