Young Citizens: Youth and Participatory Governance in Africa

Published on 1 December 2011

All over the world citizens are starting to demand accountability from those in power. We are seeing exciting experiments in participatory governance. But are they working for young people? What spaces are most promising for the participation of children and young people in governance?

Across Africa youth (particularly boys and young men) are seen as a ‘lost generation’: frustrated, excluded and marginalised from decision-making processes.

Contributors to this special issue demonstrate how this is changing. Young people in Africa are challenging the norms and structures that exclude them, engaging with the state and demanding accountability. This special issue describes how young people are exercising their right to participate and developing the knowledge, skills and confidence to affect to change. It explores methods of communication, appraisal, monitoring and research which are involving young people in decision-making spaces. It asks how can we re-shape how young people perceive and exercise citizenship? How can we redefine and deepen the links between young citizens and the state?

This issue demonstrates the persistence, passion and enthusiasm that youth bring to governance processes – and driving change in creative and unexpected ways. It highlights how young Africans are addressing the documentation gap that surrounds youth and governance in Africa and enabling other participatory practitioners – young and old – to learn from their experiences.

It will also be valuable for those working in other regions.


Rosemary McGee

Power and Popular Politics Cluster Lead

Publication details

published by
Greenhalf, J., McGee, R.(edts)
Greenhalf, J., McGee, R.
Participatory Learning and Action (PLA), issue 64


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