The Consortium for Elections and Political Process Strengthening (CEPPS) established the Youth Democracy and Governance (DRG) Cross-Sectoral Initiative to examine the intersections between DRG and other youth development sectors, bringing together practitioners, donors and young leaders from across the world. This initiative explored cross-sectoral challenges and opportunities to connect young people’s interests and their desire to solve sectoral development problems with their political participation and ability to influence decision-making.
Over the course of the initiative, CEPPS identified four key cross-sectoral challenges, including:
- Limited examples of youth-specific cross-sectoral approaches;
- Exclusionary structures that limit young people’s access to decision-making;
- Prohibitory attitudes, beliefs and social norms transcend sectors and have a direct impact on young people’s agency and opportunities to participate; and
- Insufficient understanding of how complex socio-economic problems are shaped by formal and informal power dynamics.
Recognizing these cross-sectoral challenges, CEPPS identified the following seven key recommendations to support the implementation of cross-sectoral youth programs.
- Leverage existing resources to invest in cross-sectoral programs;
- Leverage existing relationships to build cross-sectoral partnerships;
- Co-design cross-sectoral initiatives in partnership with young people using an intersectional PYD framework;
- Train youth leaders across development sectors and integrate “soft skills”;
- Enact quotas to lower the age of eligibility for participation;
- Expand non-DRG practitioners’ understanding of informal political participation; and
- Allocate resources to monitor and evaluate cross-sectoral youth programs.
CEPPS will build upon these lessons and recommendations in Phase II of the initiative to develop resources and continue discussions that support youth-focused cross-sectoral programs.