This year, the SUN CSN Secretariat is very excited to be launching the next phase of the successful Youth Leaders for Nutrition Program, and we’re inviting all CSN Members to join us in recruiting the next generation of young change-makers on nutrition.
What does this new phase look like?
Previously, the SUN CSN has supported 13 brilliant youth leaders to become trailblazing advocates for nutrition. This approach had tremendous impact on these youth leaders and enabled them to influence decision-makers at the highest level.
However, this meant our reach was limited to only a handful of individuals and we weren’t always including or empowering the most marginalised young people in our advocacy.
Moving forwards, the SUN CSN has agreed to move beyond working with individual young people, towards working with national networks of youth activists across the CSN.
To make this model work, Youth Leaders will become ‘National Youth Coordinators’ whose main responsibility will be to adopt a community-organising approach to build national networks of youth activists, prioritising the recruitment of grassroots activists from marginalised and underrepresented communities.
What are the benefits of this new approach?
- Powerful communities – with young people being supported to bring people together in their local area and educate and inform others of their rights to adequate nutrition, communities will be stronger and better able to wield their collective power to influence decision-makers to deliver their demands.
- Collective power at the national level – When individual young people engage with decision-makers it can be impactful, but they can often be ignored or dismissed after the interaction. With movements of young people spreading across the CSN, young people will be impossible to ignore when it comes to nutrition.
- Prioritising the most marginalised voices – As outlined in Strategic Objective 1 of the CSN Strategy 3.0, we are committed to ensuring that the most marginalised and underrepresented voices are included in the CSN’s advocacy on nutrition. By prioritising underrepresented voices in our recruitment of new National Youth Coordinators, we will begin diversifying our cohort of young people. But we aim to go further by adopting a community organising approach to reach the most marginalised children and young people at the community level and empower them to join us as youth activists!
What role will CSAs play?
CSAs will play a crucial role in supporting and enabling meaningful youth leadership on nutrition. Some CSAs have already begun running youth engagement activities which we can all learn from and apply to the next phase of this programme. As the CSN, we should be striving to support self-determining networks of young people who are empowered to identify their own priorities and advocate for the nutrition policy changes they deem most important, in a way they feel is most impactful.
The National Youth Coordinators, and the networks of youth activists they are building, would be part of your CSA, and should be seen as equal stakeholders within each alliance, whose views and ideas will help strengthen your nutrition advocacy.
CSAs would be expected to act as allies to young people and as champions of meaningful youth leadership on nutrition. Activities for CSAs might include:
- Showcasing and celebrating the power of these youth networks on CSAs’ own communication channels
- Opening doors and creating opportunities for youth activists to represent themselves at high-level advocacy events
- Sharing knowledge and expertise on nutrition policy and advocacy
- Supporting youth networks to identify and apply for youth-targeted fundraising opportunities
The CSN Secretariat is actively applying for funding to ensure CSAs are adequately supported to carry out these activities. The exact amount of funding available is not yet confirmed but will be communicated with CSN members as soon as possible. Given the funding constraints, the number of National Youth Coordinators we will be able to select will be limited and will be determined based on the volume and quality of applications we receive. This means that we may not be able to recruit a National Youth Coordinator in every country where there is an CSA interested in working with one.
What’s happening next?
In the coming weeks we will start openly recruiting National Youth Coordinators from across the CSN.
Here’s an overview of the planned recruitment process:
- Young people will be invited to submit a short application detailing their suitability for the role.
- We will review these as they come in and shortlist them for interviews.
- CSA representatives will be invited to join the interview panels for young people in their respective country.
- CSN Secretariat, Partner Organisations, and CSA representatives will decide on the final selection of National Youth Coordinators to kickstart the next phase of the program.
Are you a young person passionate about ending malnutrition?
Are you ready to build a movement of change-makers in your country?