In many countries today, there is a discrepancy between rhetoric about the need to invest in youth and young people’s participation in policymaking, planning and implementation. With the momentum that is created by the ongoing discussions on young people, there also emerges a great opportunity for their further integration in development processes. This requires dedication, will and commitment on both sides.
Terms like “investment in youth” may imply that young people are or can only be passive recipients of investment. But this view is misguided because young people can and must be indispensable partners in development. In my involvement in youth organizations, I have seen firsthand that with the right support, young people can be the problem-solvers and innovators who can break the mould and find new ways of doing things or ways to do them better. Young people are in the best position to understand what they and their peers need and are able to ensure implementation in broader networks that are often inaccessible to policymakers.