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Category: Latest News

Unveiling Faculty for CANVASSITY PAN AFRICAN Fellowship Season 2, Semester 1

Youngstars Foundation unveils Faculty team for CANVASSITY Pan African Youth Democracy Fellowship Season 2, Semester 1.

Date: 20 – 24 February, 2017

Location: Lagos.

Unveiling of CANVASSITY PAN AFRICAN Youth Democracy Fellowship Season 2, Semester 1 participants

Youngstars Foundation unveils CANVASSITY Pan African Youth Democracy Fellowship Season 2, Semester 1 Participants.

41 delegates from 11 African countries.

Date: 20 – 24 February, 2017

Location: Lagos.

CANVASSITY PAN AFRICAN Youth Democracy Fellowship Season 2 Calls for FACILITATORS

CANVASSITY Pan African Youth Democracy Fellowship Season 2 is seeking for youth friendly facilitators to join its faculty and serve as facilitators at the academy. CANVASSITY is a program designed for youth and youth CSOs in Africa to better engage government institutions to improve quality of governance, raise accountability and boost citizen-government collaborations.

In 2017, the program shall admit 50 youth from 15 African countries from a competitive selection process to participate in the following activities:-

  • 2 hands-on workshops in Nigeria of 5 days each
  • 6 months engagement challenge
  • A 10-day learning visit to an African country
  • The CANVASSITY Governance Exhibition among others

During the 6 months engagement challenge, each person is to focus their engagement on any of the 6 focal areas namely

  • Public service and administration
  • Electoral Process
  • Tracking Campaign promises/party manifestos
  • Tackling corruption
  • Tackling Youth Priority Issues in the 17 Sustainable Development Goals
  • Improving security and safety

To ensure our participants gain high value knowledge and skills, we are seeking for experienced facilitators who have vast practical experiences in any of the 6 focal areas listed above to join our training faculty.

To apply, please send to jobs@youngstarsfoundation.org the following items

  • Letter indicating your interest and area of focus you have competence to facilitate,
  • CV,
  • Passport photograph and
  • One page essay explaining why you are most qualified to be accepted as a facilitator.

For more details: Read more about Canvassity

Deadline – December 31st, 2016.

CANVASSITY is an innovative youth democracy and leadership program initiated by Youngstars Foundation with support from National Endowment for Democracy (NED) USA.


October 18th 2016 marks the World Youth Day for Democracy under the theme ‘AMPLIFY’. Youth, by definition, has been a subject of debate by many a scholar many a time with little or no consensus. The United Nations (UN) defines youth as individuals aged between 15 to 24 years old while The African Union in the African Youth Charter defines youth as individuals aged between 15 to 35 years old. According to Furlong Andy (2013), youth does not necessarily refer to a specific age range as it is a socially constructed category and refers to a state of mind.Whichever definition one chooses to associate with, the most important component is that the strength, agility and capabilities that lie within the youth are incomparable to any other stage of the human life. It is the contributing agent to the wisdom of the old age that is informed by the experiences acquired in youth.

According to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the number of youth aged 15-24 in Africa in 2015 stood at 226 million accounting for 19 per cent of the global youth population. By 2030, it is projected that the number of youth in Africa will have increased by 42 per cent with the population expected to continue to grow throughout the remainder of the 21st century, more than doubling from current levels by 2055.The youth in Africa wield incredible power in terms of the capability to turn the narrative of the continent around. The large number of the youth population, the incredible technological advances being made today and the vast amount of resources within the continent present the youth with an upper edge and a basis for the creation of a more prosperous Africa.

In terms of democracy, The African Charter on Democracy, Governance and Elections, and the African Youth Charter as well as Agenda 2063 remain the primary frameworks to ensure the constructive involvement of youth and their effective participation in the debates and decisions making processes in the development agenda of the continent.Opportunities for youth to engage in governance and participate in political and decision-making processes depend largely on the political, socioeconomic, and cultural contexts.

The youth, as other members of society, have an important role to play in the democratic processesas attested in the North Africa and Middle East revolution,the fight against the apartheid regime in South Africa, the “Y’en a marre” (Enough is Enough) movement in Senegal, the “Communication for Development” in Cape Verde and the “Young Acting for Change” program in Mali, Burkina Faso, and Togo. The spread of democracy in Africa has increased chances for young people to participate in political life and civil society. Most African countries have government ministers or departments with the explicit mandate to address youth issues, and many have national youth policies and councils in line with their obligation under the African Youth Charter.

In many African countries, however, youth have either remained marginalized and/or have not played a significant role in the political processes largely due to institutional and policy constraints of the state and society.This is compounded by other factors such as disappointment with the political norms portraying politics as the preserve of the “old elite”, the mistrust towards political parties, disillusionment and manipulation as a result of increasing unemployment rates, age restrictions for voting/eligibility to vie for leadership positions, cultural restrictions and the complexity of democratic decision making processes.

The solutions to these challenges are not uniform in nature thus cannot be applied across the region in a similar manner. There is need therefore for custom-made solutions that are responsive to the diverse challenges on the ground. The leaders have an obligation to create platforms and involve the youth in the decision making processes at local and national levels. These platforms should serve as avenues for the youth to have their voices heard and also to be informed on the government programs, the implementation process and the effect on their livelihoods.

The youth also have a responsibility to seek out opportunities within which they can participate effectively in the development of their countries and the region as a whole. They should endeavour to stay informed by utilizing all sources of information available to them especially as a result of the advancements in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) which gives youth an added advantage whereby they can access information from wherever they are. The youth should also make good use of the platforms that have already been created in the youth ministerial dockets and other youth-led initiatives by coming up with proposals and initiatives which they can receive assistance to implement.

There is also need for the youth to apply the knowledge gained in education institutions to come up with home grown solutions to the challenges facing their individual societies and also hold discussion forums with peers from diverse backgrounds to share ideas and brainstorm on ways in which they can work together to have a greater impact.Through concerted and purposeful efforts the youth will be able to occupy their rightful place in society and contribute effectively to the growth and development of their countries and the region as a whole.

Source: africademocracyforum.org

Successful Conclusion of the maiden edition of CANVASSITY Youth Democracy Fellowship Academy

Youngstars Development Initiative international Abuja, Nigeria with support from the NED – National Endowment for Democracy USA launched a new program called CANVASSITY Youth Democracy Fellowship after the successful retirement of DESPLAY Africa, Nigeria’s foremost and longest annual youth democracy program, conducted annually non-stop from 2005 to 2015. CANVASSITY Youth Democracy Fellowship Academy is designed creatively to increase youth capacity to effectively engage and support government institutions deliver impactful governance, raise efficiency and accountability.

44 African youths (33 males and 11 Females) visited Calabar, the capital city of Cross River State for the first semester between 23rd and 26th February 2016 at the Mirage Hotel, Calabar Cross River State, Nigeria with 43 Nigerian participants from 21 states from the six geo political zones of Nigeria and one international participant from Mosterrado, Liberia for the training. The theme for semester one was “Understanding Democratic Governance and Institutions”. During the sessions participants were trained on how to engage, visit and collaborate with government agencies to address social problems.


CANVASSITY semester two had a total of 35 participants (24 Males and 11 Females) from 17 different States across Nigeria and FCT Abuja, and 2 international delegates from Liberia. The second semester training workshop took place at the NBC Centenary House, 33 Lusaka Street Wuse Zone 6 Abuja, Nigeria from Tuesday 20th – Friday 23rd September 2016, Semester 2 theme was “Engagement Skills and Leadership Development”. The major objective of this semester was to help participants understand the concepts of leadership, and engagement skills that are required to visit, engage and collaborate with government institutions to address social concerns.

Components of CANVASSITY

Democracy Works Canvas (Artistic Illustration) – This is actually the brand/trademark of CANVASSITY, and the paramount activity expected from participants. Each participant is to work with a local artist to develop a drawing illustrating the social problem and create an ideal solution, and to present the drawing to the preferred government agency in the course of seeking collaboration. A total of 23 canvases capturing different issues were received.


Passing-it-On (PiOs) – It is a mandatory step down activity requiring every participant to converge and pass on what they have learnt at CANVASSITY to at least 40 youth in their place of residence. During the PiO, participants are also required to display their Canvas to their attendees. This activity is scheduled to happen within an 8 weeks’ time line, ending April 31st. 28 Pass-it-On (PiOs) were conducted and reported by participants with 1309 persons in attendance. One of the highlight of the PiO event was the coverage granted by Sokoto State Radio House (Radio Rima) to Anas Sanusi Gusau, a CANVASSITY delegate from Sokoto State, which reached hundreds of thousands of listeners, thus generating much interest in the CANVASSITY project in the region (North West).

Youth Engagement with Government- This component is truly the thrust of CANVASSITY, as it encourages participants to identify a government MDA and engage them with the aim of collaboratively trying to solve a social problem. Each delegate was to use his canvas drawing as the entry point and engagement tool. 20 participants engaged with different government MDAs in an attempt to solve problems identified with different negative and positive feeds from their experiences shared. Worth mentioning, 44 participants went on a half day internship in ten Government institutions during the first semester in Calabar as part of their Youth-government engagement training.


Auwal Muhammad Adamu, CANVASSITY delegate from Bauchi state explaining his Canvas to the Permanent Secretary, Commissioner for Education Bauchi State Mr. Nasiru Mohammed Yelwa.

Community Outreach Events (Crow Pulling Events)- This is the activity that required delegates to look out for Crowd Pulling Events that will gather 300 persons and more, and display their canvas drawing as a way of creating more awareness and support for the problem they are working with government to solve. Most importantly, during the crowd pulling event, they will get people to sign a sheet with their names, number and emails supporting their campaign. 17 CANVASSIY delegates attended and leveraged on 19 Community Outreach Event reaching over 7,000 persons.

We finally broke the jinx after several attempt, the 2016 International Learning Visit delegates travelled to the United Republic of Tanzania. It was the first time our delegates are travelling out of West Africa. The delegates departed from Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos, Nigeria on the 21st of August 2016 to Julius Ayerere International Airport Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and returned safely via same route on 26th August, 2016.


CANVASSITY Cross-Border International Learning Visit delegation at Prevention Control and Combating Corruption Bureau (PCCB)

Although 19 participants that participated in the first semester did not meet up with the required activities to qualify them to attend the second semester. More so, 9 of the participants that qualified to attend the second semester could not make it due to unforeseen circumstances beyond their control. Nevertheless, we had 19 new participants that joined the second semester. On the third day (Thursday 22nd September 2016) of the training/workshop, there was a CANVASSITY exhibition where 13 students showcased their canvas drawings, and shared their experiences on engaging government with the public, and there was a courtesy/thank you visit to DAAR Communication Plc complex, owners of AIT- Africa Independent Television our media partner. The delegation was received by top management staff of DAAR Communication, including the MD, DAAR Communications PLC Mrs. Tosin Dokpesi. In other to highlight CANVASSITY participants’ projects activities to engage a broader audience, beginning from the first week of April 2016, Youngstars Foundation has produced and uploaded a total of 16 Episodes of CANVASSITY TV Series on her Online TV- Youth TV Africa capturing the experiences of CANVASSITY participants. The video skits gave voices to young people’s ideas about democracy, good governance and their contribution to nation building.

Youngstars Foundation and International Republican Institute Hosts A One Day Youth Colloquium on the state of Governance

The National Youth Colloquium on State of Governance in Nigeria held at the conference hall of Kanem Suites, #41 Ajose Adegun Street, Utako, Abuja on the 25th May, 2016. A total number of 101 participants from 26 States across Nigeria including the FCT were in attendance.

During the event, three (3) panel sessions took place with panelists drawn from youth led civil society groups, political parties, and government agencies. Also, there was a break out session during which participants were asked to identify and discuss 2-3 youth and governance priorities and the practical actions youth can contribute over the next 12 month. To crown the day was the debate session on the topic “One year of the present government in office, has the state of the youth improved?”.

At the end of the program, a communiqué was developed by participants to voice their position on youth priority areas they want government to consider in the next 12 Colloquium Communique and Working Document 2016months.


Panel 1: Democracy and Public Governance from a Youth Lens: Challenges, Opportunities and Next Steps.

National Youth Colloquium on State of Governance in Nigeria Panel 1


  • Myani Bukar – Presidency, Abuja.
  • Sola Fagorusi – Onelife Initiative, Oyo State.
  • Samson Itodo – YIAGA, Abuja.
  • Priscilla Obaifo – Braveheart, Edo state.
  • Ifeoma Malo – Energy and Policy Consultant, Abuja.


  • Kingsley Bangwell – Youngstars Foundation

Panelists were drawn from civil society groups, political parties and government representative. Sola Fagurosi alleged that the present government were unable to properly and effectively communicate its programs and policy to Nigerians and the alarming rate of job lost which majority of the audience agreed. More so, Priscilla Obaifor, also made mention of deteriorated nature of the economy. Ifeoma Malo spoke on the removal of the fuel subsidy and paucity of fund that necessitated it removal. While Samson Itodo drew the attention of the audience to growing disobedience of court orders and disrespect for the judiciary, which portents a great danger to upholding the rule of law in a democratic setting and the frosty relationship between the executive and the legislature in the last one-year which has also hampered the pace of governance, including the 2016 Budget Appropriation. Most importantly, Myani Bukar agreed to some extend that there is a communication gap between the government and the citizenry, and he also said the present government underestimate the enormity of the problems.

Panel 2: Youth Political Participation in Nigeria: Challenges, prospects and Next Steps.

National Youth Colloquium on State of Governance in Nigeria Panel 1


  • Tanko Yakassai – Global Shaper, Kano State.
  • Ms Indi Kato – Youth Political Activist, Abuja.
  • Donald Unanka – Potters Gallery, Abuja.
  • Ifeanyi Aniagoh – SSA to Gov. Willi Obiano, Anambra State


  • Kimberly Nwanchukwu – On Air Personality, Nigeria Info Abuja.

All panelists were politicians except Donald Unanka who is a person living with disability (PLWD). Tanko Yakassai said one of the major limitation gap for youth participation in politics are age limit and finances, however he said some youth are already making progress in that regard, like the speaker of kaduna state house of assembly and a federal house of representative in Bauchi state who are both below 35 years. Donald Unanka highlighted the demography of (PLWD) Persons with Disability who represent a huge demography that are still being alienated due to the absence of a legislation to guarantee their fundamental right to participate. Most of the audience who are youth commended the fight against corruption of this administration. However, there is a perception that the anticorruption campaign is one sided. Ifeanyi Aniagoh said the President needs to demonstrate high trust in the youth capacity by appointing credible and competent youth into his cabinet and other key positions which the audience agreed and the agitation for a reduction in the age to vie for high political offices. While Ms Kato elaborated on the challenges facing female in political participation and the lack of support from the female gender as well.

Panel 3: Nigeria 2016 Budget Appropriation – Implication and Windows for Youth Development.

National Youth Colloquium on State of Governance in Nigeria Panel 1


  • Abiola – Bugit, Lagos.
  • Charlse Olufemi – Aide to SSA to the president on Youth and Student Affairs.
  • Idayat Hassan – Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), Abuja.


  • Sola Fagorusi – Onelife Initaitive, Oyo state.

Idayat Hassan from CDD kick started the session by stating on how citizen can get involve in budget monitoring and evaluation, she also said an average Nigeria youth is not well informed about the Constitution and the National Budget and so cannot effectively engage government and demand accountability. While Abiola from Budgit gave an extensive analysis on how Budgit collect, analyse and publish their data for citizen consumption and where youth can find what is being allocated in the budget for them. However, Charlse Olufemi said there is so much focus on the Federal Government, whereas youth need to focus more on state and local government for accountability and transparency. He further, said an average youth are just interested in what the can get during elections instead of thoroughly examining candidates and voting for the persons with credibility and competence during elections.

The general feeling among the audience is that they should make the effort to have a copy of the national, state and local government annual budgets and track government projects that are captured in the budgets so that they can hold government accountable at all levels and the process of recall for non-performing elected legislature was also emphasized.

Gender Equality Advocacy video featuring Kingsley Bangwell

The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) is seeking to address how men and women can work together in leadership when a country is undergoing a political transition through the Global Women’s Leadership Program by developing a Male Allies for Leadership Equality (MALE) training curriculum. In order to inform the development of the MALE curriculum, IFES set out to conduct focus group discussions and key informant interviews to understand how to foster the development of coalitions of women and men to advocate for more inclusive political processes. IFES’ second set of focus groups were conducted in Abuja, Nigeria in an effort to understand if and how male and female leaders were working together since the 2015 elections and given the progress Nigeria’s institutions have made on gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Kingsley Bangwell, Founder of the Youngstars Foundation, spoke with IFES about his perspectives about gender equality and how society should value women as equal citizens. Watch the video below.

Anas Sanusi Gusau – CANVASSITY Community Outreach Activity in Sokoto State

CANVASSITY is an innovative youth centric program designed to increase the capacity of youth to effectively engage and support government institutions deliver impactful governance, raise efficiency and improve accountability. Inspired to encourage young people to be more complimentary of government and not to be always critical, the program received 168 applications from interested youth, from which only 45 were selected from Nigeria and Liberia to attend the first semester of the training.

Community Outreach is one of the major components of CANVASSITY Youth Democracy Fellowship. After the first semester of CANVASSITY, participants are expected to leverage on 2 crowd pulling events with a minimum of 300 attendants each to share visions of collaborating with government to address community concerns. Thus, after the first Semester of CANVASSITY Youth Democracy Fellowship, Anas Sanusi Gusau, a participant resident in Sokoto State, Nigeria leveraged on a crowd pulling event (Matriculation and Orientation of 2015/2016 academic session) on Sunday 13th March 2016 at the main campus of Usmanu Danfodiyo University, where he got 321 persons endorse his proposed community government collaboration project – The Effect of Mass Media on Youth. He plans on engaging the Ministry of Information and Orientation in Sokoto State on this project.