Youth citizenship, national unity and poverty allev iation: East and West African approaches to the education of a new generation
Chege, Fatuma N.
Dovie, D. A.
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Youth citizenship is now on the international agenda. This paper explores what that concept might mean in the context of two African nations: Kenya and Ghana. Post independence, both countries focused on rethinking the colonial concept of citizenship in line with their political-cultural traditions, providing education for all youth and to encouraging new notions of national citizenship. Programmes for civic education were established that have been reshaped over the last fifty years. These citizenship education programmes display the tension between different political goals of national unity, economic progress and the promotion of human rights, working with diversity, and encouraging collective responsibility and individual development. The aim is to use the education of the citizen to encourage civic engagement although there is evidence that these programmes might not, for a variety of reasons, engage all young people into the nation building project. The paper considers evidence from a wide range of documentary and social scientific sources to open debate about how to encourage young people’s citizenship within the project of poverty alleviation.