The Youth and Community Advocacy Network or ‘YouCAN’ is a network of advocates which strives to garner support at the community level by creating the demand for good quality early childhood development (ECD) and family support services.
The YouCAN was conceptualised by the CCSI, with a view to furthering its youth, community involvement and advocacy thrust. As a part of this effort, rovers, parents, interns, high school and college students, teachers, community activists, parents, ECD practitioners, journalists and anyone interested in early childhood development issues will be engaged and encouraged to join this network.
We intend to double our advocacy efforts by fully engaging our partners and stakeholders at the micro-level and the launch of the YouCAN is the first step. This micro-level engagement will see capacity building among young persons to allow them to become advocates or champions for ECD. The YouCAN aims to instill a sense of empowerment in youth and communities and charge them with the responsibility of lobbying for improved services.
The YouCAN’s two broad aims are to garner support towards the sustainability of the RCP in countries where the programme exists and to lobby for improved ECD facilities and services throughout disadvantaged communities.
- To contribute to the creation of social demand in civil society (especially among youth and community) for good quality ECD services (such as the RCP-type concept) for socially vulnerable young children and families
- To strengthen the knowledge base of constituents in order to raise the awareness on socially vulnerable young children and families, using the FDCC initiatives as the vehicle, especially the RCP-type concept
- To contribute to leveraging support for the mainstreaming of essential services like the RCP-type concept within existing Government services by 2015.
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How YouCAN Operates
- Targets youth, parents, community leaders or any individual who is interested in YouCAN’s purpose
- Members establish a local/community YouCAN
- Leaders (at least 3 persons) from each local YouCAN become members of the Regional YouCAN
- Members of the YouCAN advocate for the provision of quality ECD services and the sustainability of such services
- Each local YouCAN plans and implements advocacy activities e.g. campaigns (fundraising, letter writing), peaceful marches, workshops, showcases etc
- Leaders and members of each local YouCAN will be exposed to training and will participate in regular consultations
Why a Youth/Community Focus?
- It’s important to forge partnerships for joint problem solving and decision making in the region
- Young adults and the community can make a valuable contribution to local and national socioeconomic development
- Young adults have proved to be highly effective. In the Roving Caregivers Programme (RCP), ECD services are delivered by home visitors (Roving Caregivers) – 95% are below age 30
- Programmes like these don’t only benefit vulnerable children. They also benefit youth and the community. The young men and women who care for children, who are Roving Caregivers and who are RCP interns acquire skills and self-confidence to improve their own lives too
- ECD and family support services build a better future for children, young adults and each community as whole by reducing youth delinquency and other social ills.