In September 2018, Y-Act launched the Sauti Sasa (Swahili for “Have your voice now”) movement, holding government committees accountable for engaging youth meaningfully in their processes.

Kenya`s County Governments Act in section 106 (4) obligates counties to provide for citizen participation that shall be done in a process that involves “ meaningful engagement of citizens ” (105(1-d).

It is important to note that meaningful engagement means more than mere presence or representation in policy-making processes. It requires allowing youth the trust, respect, and decision-making authority they need to have a true impact. But the responsibility goes both ways. Youth need to be prepared, engaged, and educated about the processes they seek to inform. Since youth are as diverse as their older counterparts, they also need to be willing and able to represent the interests of their peers, as well as themselves. Youth priorities and perspectives may vary by age, gender, socio-economic status, geographical location and many other factors. And it is imperative that the voices of those who are marginalized and vulnerable are heard.

To emphasize on the importance of meaningful youth engagement (MYE) in Kenya’s policy decision making processes, Y-ACT facilitated co-creation sessions with policy makers and youth advocates around the country and identified the following key principles of MYE:

Elements of Meaningful Youth Engagement (MYE)

The successful adoption of MYE as an approach for successful policy development and implementation calls for the application of tools that will be used to monitor and promote ownership on the part of the decision-maker and youth alike. Therefore, Y-ACT has developed “Minimum Standards for Meaningful Youth Engagement” that define the parameters through which MYE can be successfully implemented. Y-ACT has also developed an MYE scorecard as an accountability tool for both decision makers and youth to measure, track and hold both decision-makers and youth accountable in MYE in decision making processes.