Engaging Youth in Decision-Making: A Path toward Active Youth Citizenship

Active citizenship, especially among young people, is a key pillar of democracy. It calls for civic participation in decision-making that helps ensure government accountability. Yet, in many countries around the world, good citizenship is lacking, leaving young people apathetic and disengaged. This is a serious obstacle to development.

In this Feature Service article, Rahel Weldeab, second place winner of the 2009 CIPE International Essay Competition talks about the importance of fostering a sense of citizenship among Eritrea’s youth. She says, “Active citizenship on the part of the youth ensures that their voices are heard; such participation develops and strengthens the opportunities for young people to learn their rights and responsibilities.”

Article at a Glance

  • Citizenship is not innate; it needs to be taught and cultivated in young people through civic education and leadership training.
  • Citizenship includes both rights and responsibilities; for youth to become active citizens, they need to be given a voice in decision-making processes that affect them.
  • In order for young people to develop a sense of citizenship, they must first realize the positive role they can play through active civic participation.

Published Date: January 21, 2010