Youth empowerment is about enabling young people to realize the dreams, visions, motivation, knowledge and skills that they already have. Youth empowerment is about partnership and ownership. When young people are involved in decisions and projects relating to themselves, they will feel strong sense of belonging and ownership that will improve the sustainability and overall benefits of the programmes.
The youth are empowered when they acknowledge that they have, or can create, free choices in life, take action based on that decision and accept responsibility for the action. To achieve this, a proper environment must be put in place i.e. economic and social base, political will, adequate resource allocation and supportive legal and administrative framework, a stable environment of equality, peace and democracy, and access to knowledge information and skills and a positive value system. Empowerment is based on the belief that young people are the best resource for promoting development and that they are agents of change in meeting their own challenges and solving their own problems.
In order to empower the youth, youth managers, leaders, teachers and parents must identify new ways of educating young people. They should no longer be taught what to learn, but how to learn, not what they are committed to but rather the value of commitment. In addition, adults must change the current communication paradigm with young people. They should engage in dialogue and change from working for youth to working with youth.
Unemployment brings along with it social problems like crime, alcohol and drug abuse. These vices require attention from both government and non-governmental agencies. Unemployed young people should be provided with access to services and support programmes, and opportunities for further training. Young people need to be nurtured and be able to take up leadership roles at various levels which enable them to have a positive effect on others and act as role models. They should ascend leadership ladders so as to champion youth matters that are not addressed in the decision-making organs due to lack of representation.