Commonwealth Secretariat, partners sign MoU on youth empowerment

Mnena Iyorkegh, Abuja.

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Commonwealth Secretariat has signed an agreement with the world’s largest youth organisations on a new era of youth empowerment.

The Memorandum of Understanding outlines the areas of cooperation between the partners and ratifies the formation of the Commonwealth Alliance for Quality Youth Leadership.


The agreement, signed by the Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland and representatives of its partners at the CHOGM, is with the commitments to;

  1. Work together to promote volunteerism
  2. Offer young people the practical experiences needed to compete in the labour market
  3. Create an environment where collaboration and innovation can thrive; and
  4. Support the development of leadership and useful life skills.

The agreement comes at a time when the prospects of young people in the Commonwealth have been particularly impacted by the pandemic.

Speaking at the signing, Secretary-General Scotland said that   “This is a historic moment for youth development in the Commonwealth. I have just come from our Intergenerational Dialogue where our young people have very eloquently outlined their vision for sustainable youth-led development in the Commonwealth, and where leaders have answered with a pledge to support them.

 “This Alliance was built to help us re-imagine education, creating services to our young people, which ensure they have all the practical support they need to be innovators, changemakers and to truly take charge of their future.”

Specific Objectives 

According to a statement issued on the day of the signing, the organisations will work with Commonwealth members to directly enhance the leadership and life skills of millions of young people by 2030.

“Specific objectives of the Alliance include: Accelerating youth leadership skills training, using non-formal education and learning approaches, to reach over 100 million young people by 2030; Harnessing the vast potential and contribution of young people to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals; Developing the wider ‘soft’ or ‘core’ skills – such as resilience, teamwork adaptability, problem-solving, decision making and communication – which can help young people to ensure they are ready for the world of work post COVID-19”. 

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Prince Edward Earl of Wessex and Forfar also said that  “This Memorandum of Understanding represents a statement of intent and willingness by a number of youth organisations to dramatically improve the opportunities of young people throughout the Commonwealth to access non-formal education and learning.

“As many of you know, my father, The late Duke of Edinburgh, was a great advocate of such opportunities and encouraged millions to experience personal achievement. Yet that was over many years, we need to provide those benefits and that effect to millions of young people every year, now.”

The Alliance is one of the many tangible outcomes of the 26th CHOGM in Rwanda that will deliver on the Commonwealth’s commitment to creating a common future for all.

Approximately 60% of the unemployed in Commonwealth countries are young people and millions more have experienced disruption to their schooling, making non-formal education and learning even more integral.

The statement noted that the organisations are working together with at least 250 million young people and have contributed to the empowerment of more than one billion in the last century.


Zainab Sa’id