Consider this as a vision for our society: A country where all citizens, young and old, are informed about and engaged in all major issues that affect their lives. A place where adults and young people are together at the table; debating, grappling with problems, crafting solutions and jointly deciding on how resources should be allocated. A robust democracy where all people, including youth, exercise their right to select those who should speak and act on their behalf and hold them accountable. Where young people have an equal opportunity to have a sustainable livelihood. Imagine adults and young people working together to build a thriving a society from the ground up – contributing to nation building from the community level up to the national level. Herein lies the power behind the potential role of youth as nation builders through political participation. The term nation building is used here to refer to a constructive process of engaging all citizens in building social cohesion, economic prosperity and political stability in an inclusive and democratic way. It is a process through which all people have access to and control of structures and mechanisms that govern their lives. Admittedly, the vision sounds unattainable and lofty for two reasons. 1) few societies have found adequate ways to ensure that all adults fully participate in the political process, 2) even fewer have found adequate ways to ensure that young people share in the burdens and benefits of citizenship.
There are three frequently cited reasons for why young people are excluded from political participation. 1) Young people are perceived as lacking the skills and qualities 2) young people are not afforded the opportunities to share power with adults, and 3) young people are portrayed as lacking the motivation
Young people are often viewed as lacking the skills needed to become part of the political process. These perceptions are often backed by popular theories on childhood...
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