The idea to start a network bringing together African youths working for a better world came to NAYD founder, Pochi Tamba in 2003, after a World Youth Congress organized by a UK civil society organization called PeaceChild International.
Upon her return to Cameroon, Pochi started NAYD and got it officially recognized in Cameroon in 2008.
The primary idea behind the creation of NAYD is to unite African youths working in different parts of the world for a better tomorrow. Pochi believed, at the time, that African youths due to the challenges of moving across the continent needed a virtual platform to know about one another and share best practices in their development ambitions. That vision to link African youths is still today the key raison d’etre of NAYD.
NAYD is run by a Board of Directors, and a string of country coordinators spread across the African continent.
We are a network of over 80,000 youth passionate about a community where people have access to opportunities, resources and freedoms and we are committed to working together to make this a reality for all African peoples especially the marginalized. We are well versed at organizing youth, using digital tools for advocacy, researching with rural communities, spotlighting African youth and creating collaborations around shared dreams for a better Africa.
Contribution to Global Development Agenda
NAYD plays a critical role in linking youth and advocating for African youth’s voice within global frameworks. As an example, we have been at the centre of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). During the years leading to the adoption of the SDGs, we created awareness among youth by unpacking them in a language and manner that spoke to youth. After 2015, we have worked relentlessly to see the SDGs localized and have youth doing this work supported. We continue to work to ensure that these goals speak to the needs of the youth and their communities.
While we recognize the importance of working within a global system to better communities, at NAYD we are very specific in our grassroots approach to development. With this approach, we seek to engage local communities through young people in identifying their most immediate needs and collaboratively coming up with solutions that use local skills and tools. We are also committed to finding ways to resource the grassroots especially youth-led and women-led community groups.
Research & Knowledge Production
NAYD is keen to centre local knowledge and create a safe space for young people to share and curate their own stories. To do this we have recently launched a Research Desk to oversee our research projects. We have also launched Africa Elevate, an open access journal that is youth-led, to specifically publish work by young Africans on development-related themes. We also have a monthly e-zine, INSPIRE, that collates our activities around a given theme. These platforms enable young people to freely share their experiences, opinions, lessons and encourage mutual learning.