The Afrika Youth Movement (AYM) is a pan-African, youth-led movement that strives for the participation, development, and leadership of African youth to achieve their rights to peace, equality and social justice. Started by Tunisian and pan-African activist, Aya Chebbi, as a Facebook group in 2012, and launched in 2015, AYM is becoming one of Africa’s most influential youth movements which with more than 10 000 members from 40 countries.
AYM’s “Theory of Change” revolves around the following three areas:
- Connect young Africans to the vision of pan-Africanism and collective action;
- Empower young Africans with the knowledge, self-confidence, capability and commitment to make change happen;
- Mobilise young Africans to engage, organise and lead change that delivers the results that Africa needs.
AYM focuses on these three areas simultaneously with the understanding that they mutually reinforce each other and will be the only way to reach its goal of transforming Africa.
AYM created a groundbreaking new model of youth forums on the continent called “AYM Youth Empowerment Forum from Global Agenda to Africa’s Agenda”. The inaugural Forum, which was held on 20 March 2017 in Nairobi, Kenya, brought together 84 young changemakers from 19 countries in Africa and the diaspora, many of whom represent grassroots initiatives, to participate in creating a new model of youth forums to engage with the United Nations and the African Union. The second forum was held on 22 April 2018 in Accra, Ghana.
The forums have resulted in structured, gender-balanced, committed country-focused teams called “AYM Youth Hubs”. The forum model was also replicated into national forums; in Lagos engaging religious leaders, and Kampala engaging embassies and the private sector.
AYM is a non-registered movement and operates for the last three years with no central bank account. Its funding model is based on maximising strategic partnerships, members’ mobilisation through their organisations, and community fundraising. The forums are fully funded by its members with no external funding. AYM spaces have been transformative, inclusive, impactful and life-changing for its members.
One of many inspiring stories is that of Smith Etumba who took a bus trip from Goma via Kigali and Kampala to Nairobi to participate in an AYM forum. He was exposed for the first time to an African space discussing a global agenda and pan-Africanism. Smith returned home and launched, with other Congolese participants, an AYM hub under the theme, “Active Youth, Drivers of Development”.
AYM has already launched four decentralised hubs in Uganda, Ghana, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Nigeria, and plans to launch another 15 hubs across Africa this year where its members are building youth alliances, changing narratives, and seeing the results of their advocacy work.
AYM organises its members in five committees, namely Agriculture, Health, Education, Gender, and Peace and Security. These committees facilitate online forums, run advocacy campaigns, and produce strategies and papers to affect policies. Each committee develops its strategy independently, but in line with AYM’s core values and mission.
Examples in this regard include AYM committees on Health and Gender which are championing the Menstrual Hygiene Day every year (28 May) and organised #PeriodNotShame local actions to increase awareness about menstrual hygiene. In Mautu Community in Cameroon, AYM distributed sanitary pads to 654 girls, and in the Bongo district in Upper East Region in Ghana, it distributed sanitary pads and sensitised 272 girls of Nyaruga D/A Junior School. AYM also uses music and art to mobilise youth and produced a song “Afia Mama” for this campaign.
AYM is recognised among 100 Sparks of Hope by the Elders, and was a 2018 UN SDG Action Award finalist.
Click here to make a donation to AYM.