The Somali Youth Charter

We, the youth of Somaliland, Puntland and
South Central Somalia, acknowledge that we are
the present and future of the nation. Bearing this
in mind, we would like to have a unified voice:
one voice that is heard through this Charter. We
want a supportive and enabling environment, in
which every young person—women and men—
gains ability, authority, agency and opportunities
to make effective choices, and translate these in
their own lives and the lives of other people. the power and struggle of the
Somali Youth League for the liberation of
the Somali Republic in 1960, we, the youth
of Somaliland, Puntland and South Central
Somalia want to have a common voice to
address our common challenges for building an
inclusive Somali society, in which all Somalis
would feel valued and empowered.
Acknowledging that we are a strong force that
can propel the country forward to improve
overall human development, and address the
challenges facing the Somali youth today, and
recognizing the aspirations outlined in the
Millennium Development Goals, we have set
aside our differences and come together with
the hope of attaining the following principles:
We, the Somali youth, declare in a unified voice
through this Charter the empowerment of youth
and the Somali people through:
Policy and Institutional Reform
• Urge the gover nment to develop and
implement a comprehensive and coherent
national youth policy that is well integrated
into national policy and programmes.
• Acknowledge the need to eliminate
discrimination against girls and young
women according to obligations stipulated
in various international, regional and
national human rights conventions and
instruments designed to protect and
promote women’s rights.
• Ensure that every young person, both men
and women, has the right to participate
in decision-making processes in social,
political and economic spheres of society.
• Create sustainable national youth
empowerment funds.
Social Empowerment
• Wish to change the curricula and make
them relevant to local labour market
opportunities, patriotism, morals, the
dynamic environment and personal
• Every young person shall have the right to
quality education that encompasses civic
education at all levels.
• Provide free and compulsory basic
education, and make all forms of secondary
education more readily available and
accessible by all possible means, also
focusing on the nomadic populations.
• Introduce scholarship programmes to
encourage entry into post-primary school
education and into higher education for
outstanding youth from disadvantaged
communities, particularly young girls.
• Encourage stakeholders to provide
opportunities, such as inclusive education,
to physically challenged children and youth.
• Every young person shall have the right to
enjoy the best attainable state of physical,
mental and spiritual health.
• Institute comprehensive programmes
to prevent the transmission of sexually
transmitted infections, HIV/AIDS and drug
abuse, including risks related to maternal
health (female genital mutilation, unsafe
child delivery and high birth rates) by
providing education and awareness creation
as well as making protective/rehabilitation
measures and youth friendly reproductive
health services available, affordable and
The Somali Youth Charter
Annex 1 Youth Charter 163
relevant with special attention to at-risk
• Access to HIV and AIDS prevention, care
and treatment services.
• Zero-tolerance on HIV-related stigma and
• Require access to public spaces where we
can safely meet, interact and play sports,
regardless of gender.
• Request families and governing bodies
to encourage sports, particularly as they
instill values such as discipline, healthy
competition and mental productivity.
• Want to change society’s perception of
youth as problems to be resolved (deficit
approach) to positive agents of change.
• Want the society—our families, friends,
policy makers, institutions and fellow
citizens—to perceive us as fresh, young,
innovative and future visionaries, pioneers
and intellectuals.
• Want to practice tolerance and respect of
people from different backgrounds (clan,
race, tribe or financial disposition).
• Eliminate all traditional practices that
undermine the physical integrity and
dignity of women.
• Harness the creativity of youth to promote
local cultural values and traditions.
• Establish structures that encourage
young people in the diaspora to engage in
development activities in their country of
• Enhance mitigation strategies for youth
who have turned to piracy, extremism, drug
abuse and other forms of risky behaviours.
Economic Empowerment
• Every young person shall have the right
to gainful employment for sustainable
livelihood opportunities.
• Ensure equal access to employment
and equal pay for equal work, and offer
protection against discrimination regardless
of ethnicity, race, gender, disability,
religion, and political, social, cultural or
economic background.
• Every young person shall have the right to
be protected from economic exploitation
and from performing work that is harmful
to the young person’s health or holistic
• Foster greater linkages between the labour
market and the education and training
system to ensure that youth are being trained
in fields where employment opportunities
are available or are growing.
• Develop employment-led macroeconomic
policies on job creation for youth,
particularly young women.
• Promote youth entrepreneurship by
launching a comprehensive training
programme (providing life skills and
livelihood skills training, access to credit,
mentorship opportunities and better
information on market opportunities).
• Institute national youth service programmes
to engender community participation and
skills development for entry into the labour
• Institute a holistic national youth-led
community based programme encompassing
both peace and development in an integrated
• Promote research on Somali youth’s
common problems to shape povertyreducing
Political Empowerment
• Guarantee the representation of youth in
• Create space and strengthen platforms
for youth participation in other decisionmaking
bodies at national, district and local
levels of governance.
• Every young person shall be assured the
right to express and disseminate his or her
ideas and opinions freely in all matters.
• Every young person shall have the right
to free association, freedom of peaceful
assembly and right to information.
Somalia Human D 164 evelopment Repor t 2012
• Would like to be involved in, and to
contribute substantively to peace processes.
• Would like to change the status quo, and
move away from short-term externally
driven conflict management to Somaliled
conflict transformation, embracing
constructive dialogue and addressing
challenges innovatively.
• Want to forge close partnerships with the
youth in the diaspora.
• Ensure youth representation in all national
peace and reconciliation conferences.
• Rei n force t r a d it ional pea cebu ild i ng
Greening Human Development
• Recognize the vested interest and potential
of young people in protecting the natural
environment as the inheritors of the
• Support youth organizations in instituting
programmes that encourage sustainable
energy and environmental preservation,
such as waste reduction and recycling
programmes using clean technologies.
• Wish to receive information about and
introduce or reinforce strategies to protect
the environment and prevent climate
change, particularly in regard to protecting
resources such as land (to avoid overgrazing,
improper waste disposal and deforestation)
and water (to prevent flooding, illegal
fishing and dumping, and protect marine
resources), so we may take steps towards
protecting the environment and livelihoods.
• Encourage the use of renewable/alternative
energy by developing a cadre of youth-led
energy entrepreneurs.
• Ensure youth participation in the design,
implementation and evaluation of renewable
energy and environmental policies, including
the conservation of natural resources.
The Youth Charter was adopted by youth representatives from Somaliland, Puntland and South
Central Somalia during the consultative workshop held in Garowe, Puntland on 24 September
2011, and disseminated to a wider youth group across the regions through consultations


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