2021-2025 NYCOM strategic plan in the offing
National Youth Council of Malawi (NYCOM) has developed a 2021-2025 strategic plan to guide its work following the expiry of the 2015-2020 strategic plan. The new strategic plan will help the Council to reassess, rebrand and reposition its core activities to create a lasting impact on youth development in the country.
The 2015-2020 Strategic Plan had three key pillars of institutional capacity, programmes for youth empowerment and resource mobilisation whose objectives, among others, included enhancing effective participation of youth in key decision-making structures at all levels; improve the levels of leadership and governance structures of affiliated youth organisations; and improve oversight functions of the Council’s board just to mention a few.
Cognisant of the shifting landscape in the youth sector, the new plan has incorporated emerging trends and challenges with realigned pillars responding to youth driven demands such as youth civic engagement, youth coordination and management, social enterprise and youth development.
After assessing the 2015-2020 Strategic Plan, the need to shift focus became apparent. This shift fits in well with the government’s focus on sector reforms that is also taking the Council into a new direction. In line with our key reform areas, a functional review of the Council was conducted to improve service delivery. The functional review was also to reflect the new strategic direction.
A stakeholder analysis conducted showed that majority of youths, especially those in the rural areas, wanted improved access to the Council. Among some key and notable issues youths unequivocally raised was the lack of inclusiveness in youth programming and lack of resources or support for young people with disabilities. A greater call to coordination of youth activities and programme development also came out quite strongly in the assessment.
While there are a number of youth drop-in centres, it has been noted that services being provided are not inclusive. For example, there are no Braille literature to cater for youths with visual impairments. Besides, people working at these youth centres lack basic knowledge of sign language which makes it difficult for youths with hearing impairments to access services.
One area that also came out during the assessments is lack of employment and economic activity. A majority of youths feel that they need more support in raising capital and entrepreneurship. Such issues on entrepreneurship and more are some of the issues the new strategic plan seeks to address.
There are some key areas that have been considered in the new strategy to address the emerging issues that came out during consultation processes and these include:
Develop a set of structures and formal processes to help in mobilising resources for youths: This includes helping young people to obtain proper documentation such as audit reports, approval from Malawi Revenue Authority for their businesses and registration with Malawi Bureau of Standards, among others.
Leverage on existing partnerships: NYCOM will work to strengthen the already available partnerships with local and international organisations to garner more support for youth development.
Cultivating new partnerships: NYCOM will establish strategic alliances with other institutions and initiatives that allocate financial resources, generate institutional and public support or mobilise resources for youth development. The Council will target institutions and initiatives including private sector to seek their support using carefully developed approaches that are in line with their mission, mandate and values.
Youth to youth support: NYCOM envisages to work with youths who are well established to give back to their communities by supporting youth programmes that will not only elevate the lives of fellow young people, but also develop communities where they come from.
Income generating initiatives: The Council will also develop its own income-generating initiatives to generate funds for youth development programmes. This will include running businesses and partnering with other businesses just to mention a few. At the moment, the Council will continue supporting the Airtel Money business for it to grow and start making profits. The Council, through this new strategy, hopes to increase resources for youth development work as well as to provide grants to youth clubs. It is the expectation of NYCOM that at the expiry of the 2021-2025 Strategic Plan, many programmes within the Council and youth clubs should be self-sustaining. The desire is to see youths creating jobs for others and contributing a lot to the macro-economic indicators of the country. Together this shall be achieved.