Youth Political Education

Youth Political Education – “Making Your Mark”: IFWEA’s global project for advancing democratic political engagement of young, grassroots leaders.

This year IFWEA launches the Making your Mark project. Targeting young people between the ages of 16 and 25 years, the project aims to make equality and human rights real for young people through equipping them to promote political participation for youth social justice and inclusion. Activities are designed to empower young people to develop their own political understanding and agency to preserve, protect and promote equality and human rights. The project captures the creativity and dynamism of young people as a strategic resource. They act as the drivers for social change, not as passengers. Support and encouragement to develop awareness and capacity –  to engage in peer to peer networks, is provided locally and globally by IFWEA affiliates. This enables the participants in the project to transcend the local and develop an international consciousness regarding human rights, global citizenship and the importance of the youth voice as a vehicle for change. Over the next three years this project will allow for the integration of education, engaged research and community collaboration, building capacity, resources, tool and techniques – made by young people and designed for young people – to promote political participation and political agency for rights and inclusion.

Starting the project… In 2017, IFWEA conducted the pilot phase of the project which sought to establish a confident, empowered and enthusiastic group of young people in three cities with serious socio-economic divides: in Limerick, Ireland and Cape Town, South Africa. Using study circle methodology and supported by educational resources shared between the IFWEA Secretariat and IFWEA’s Irish affiliate ENGAGE at the University of Limerick’s, the young participants learned to dialogue about their hopes and aspirations for their rights, and then work out a strategy for how they would expand the dialogue with organisations in their communities and design their engagement with the mainstream political institutions.

Online resources The resources for these project activities, called respectively “Limerick be Heard” and  “Cape Town Be Heard” are captured on IFWEA’s Online Platform. Go to (

Global partnerships
As part of the Irish project, ENGAGE convened a two day conference to introduce the project to a broader audience, and representatives from a number of international youth and higher education organisations took part including Sweden’s Arbetarnas Bildningsförbund (National Worker’s Educational Association), the Centre for Civic Engagement and Community Service at the American University of Beirut, Lebanon, the South African based Secretariat of the International Federation of Educational Associations (IFWEA), the University of Massachusetts, Boston, USA and the youth organisation, ZAK Malta.  Through a series of interactive workshops, the delegates shared examples of the ways that they engage with young people and marginalised people in their respective communities. A collaborative education project based on these initiatives will be launched in 2018.

IRELAND – SOUTH AFRICA: Making Your Mark Project  “Limerick Be Heard and Cape Town Be Heard Youth Exchange ” – October  2017

The participants came together in Cape Town and did a programme of activities to exchange and share knowledge of the impact of political, economic and social systems on youth in Ireland and South Africa. Along with this, learning about educating and organising among youth, in community and in campaigns. The groups took part in the Youth Globalisation Awareness Programme, engaging with worker leaders about the issues of youth.



SOUTH AFRICA: Making Your Mark Project  “Cape Town Be Heard” – June 2017

“Cape Town Be Heard” attends the Youth Parliament in the Western Cape Penny Hlaluka IFWEA project assistant reports: “Youth experienced first-hand the processes and protocol of the provincial Parliament Assembly. Recommendations made by the 2017 Youth Parliament will influence the strategic decision making by provincial government that ultimately affect the lives of young people in the areas of: youth and economic empowerment, poverty alleviation, youth and social cohesion, youth and education – skills development and access to education. There was a good geographical representation of youth in high school, university students, young entrepreneurs but not many community activists.”   left to right:  Aviwe Macothoza, Sisipho Filane, Ziyanda Majikela, Nande Depha and Phakamisa Dungululu at the Western Cape Youth Parliament

SOUTH AFRICA: Making Your Mark  “Cape Town Be Heard” , May 2017

Programme and Graduation  The youth participants completed the education programme over the course of weeks, incorporating study circles methodology, producing “postcards” (creative expressions) of their expectations and journey. Participants held flash group meetings with youth in their community areas, and are involved in planning and doing study circles. Pictured below is the group on Sunday 21st May, at their last workshop. Joining them is Tajma Sisic (on the far left), Olof Palme International Center intern at IFWEA – who has been a project assistant on MYM.