The Community’s greatest asset is its human resources, full mobilisation and effective involvement of all East Africans, men, women and youth for national development and social progress, should be a major instrument of development. In this context, the youth, who constitute the largest segment of the population in the EAC, should be accorded proportionate recognition and participation in all national and regional development activities.
The Youth is EAC’s future. It is therefore necessary to ensure the active and effective representation of the Youth in the society as well as in the national and regional integration processes, in order to express their views and interests. The EAC has a Sectoral Council on youth, children, gender and community development which among others is responsible for mainstreaming cross-cutting issues, including youth in EAC policies and programmes.
Upon recommendations of the Sectoral Council, an EAC Youth Policy was adopted in August 2013 in order to provide a binding framework for effective implementation, monitoring and evaluation of youth programmes and projects. It also provides clear strategies in the sector, and a strategic plan which takes into account youth issues.
Mainstreaming youth in EAC programmes aims at:
- formulating a harmonised comprehensive regional policy that provides a binding framework for effective implementation, monitoring and evaluation of youth programmes and projects;
- empowering the Youth so that they can fully participate and benefit from the regional economic, social and political integration;
- establishing a regional mechanism that will promote and sustain youth culture, values, morals and ethics; and,
- implementing mechanisms outlined in the youth policy.
The EAC Secretariat is working towards:
- Establishment of an East Africa Community Youth Council to mainstream youth issues in all development policies and programmes;
- The EAC Gender and Community Development Department is currently negotiating with development partners for support of a Youth Exchange Programme for sharing new opportunities and best practices in business and technology;
- Empowering the Youth so that they can fully participate and benefit from the regional economic, social and political integration;
- Establishment of a regional mechanism that will promote and sustain youth culture, values, morals and ethics;
- EAC in collaboration with the International Labour Organization is in a process of developing and exchange program for young workers within the EAC Partner States; and,
- Availing opportunities for the youth to directly participate in the EAC activities through internships, short consultancies, research, etc. at the EAC and EALA headquarters.