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4 World Youth Congress (WYC) Québec, Canada, 10 – 21 August 2008

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Regénération 2008

Personal Report

World Youth Congress

2008

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Pages 1) Acknowledgements..........................................................................................3 2) Brief Background..............................................................................................4 3) Celebration.......................................................................................................4 Opening Ceremony Exhibition World Youth Walk 4) Skill Building.....................................................................................................6 Regional Roundtable Dialogue How to become a Youth Delegate at the UN General Assembly Making the Case for Youth-led Development 5) Action Project..................................................................................................14 6) Basket of Quotes............................................................................................15 7) Link to Other Resources.................................................................................17 8) Some Outcomes and Thoughts......................................................................18 9) Plan of Action..................................................................................................18 10) Appeal.............................................................................................................18

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
To God be all the glory! Writing this report has brought back profound memories of time spent in working tirelessly to raise funds for the trip. It was a huge and exciting challenge for me to embark on this trip to Quebec, Canada for the World Youth Congress. This could not have been possible without the immense contribution provided by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). Special thanks to Doris Hribernigg, Focal Point, Human Security Coordination Special Programmes Group, Programme Coordination and Field Operations Division and the team of able personnel at UNIDO. I deeply appreciate the timely sponsorship of my flight ticket. Special mention must be made of The Canadian Government; The Governor General, Michaelle Jean; Prime Minister, The Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper, P.C., M.P; Ministers in Charge, Canadian International Development Agency; The Canadian High Commission Ghana; thanks for the tremendous contribution, in terms of financial support and heartfelt hosting and reception, provided to young delegates from across the world. To the Quebeckers and the people of Canada, your lovely smiles brought me a sense of belonging. Indeed, I enjoyed every bit of my stay in the beautiful historic Quebec City. I cannot find words to express my appreciation for the support of Dr. Laura Laski, Senior Technical Advisor, Coordinator of the Adolescent Youth Cluster, TSD; Ziad Mikati; Charlotte Juul Hansen and the entire staff of UNFPA New York office. Thank you for your sustained support. Particular thanks are extended to Prof. Manuel Budu Adjei, President, Ghana Christian University College; Prof. Joseph Nsiah, Vice President; Prof. Swedstrup Ahlijah; Prof. Patrick Cline; Faculty and Staff of Ghana Christian University College. Your support is well appreciated. Credits to the Management, Organizers, Partners and all who contributed selflessly to making the World Youth Congress a success. To all young delegates from around the globe, it was inspiring, motivating and challenging sharing ideas and skills together. Keep up the passion, energy and the spirit of resilience. Finally, comrades and youth/young people, who continue to battle onwards in your efforts to impact lives and society positively. You are the heroes and heroines. Persevere! To all those mentioned above and others not mentioned, I am most grateful.

Cyril Nii-Offei France WYC 2008 Delegate, Ghana
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BRIEF BACKGROUND
From 10 to 22 August 2008, an estimated number of 600 young people from 120 countries gathered in Québec, Canada to celebrate not only the city's 400th anniversary, but above all the contribution that youth all over the world are making to the development of their communities and societies. The Fourth World Youth Congress "Regénération 2008" aimed at acknowledging the achievements of those who make youth-led development a reality and to equip participants with the skills and support needed to contribute to the realization of the Millennium Development Goals more effectively. The Congress was divided into three main sessions: Celebration, Skill Building and Action Project.

Opening Ceremony

CELEBRATION

The "Celebration" segment encompassed the opening ceremony, Cultural events, the celebration of International Youth Day and the presentation of the 'Champion of Youth' awards to a number of distinguished adults in recognition of their support to youth issues. Among them were Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michelle Jean, Governor-General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada; the Founder and honorary President of CIVICUS, Kumi Naidoo, David Woollcombe, President and Founder of Peace Child International; Dr. Kandeh Yumkella, Director-General of UNIDO who received the award for pioneering the Mano River Union (MRU) Youth Employment Programme. This multi-agency programme aims to create employment opportunities for youth in the MRU countries and to contribute to social and political stability, and economic growth in the region. Participants at the Opening Preliminary session witnessed empowering and motivational speeches which heightened the youth agenda around the world. Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michelle Jean, Governor General, Canada, started the proceedings with a dynamic and positive speech. “This is the space in which the voices of all backgrounds can join hands to pursue a better place in the world; the youth must be considered to be part of the solution. You are part of the solution here and now! The entire nation has come together, my commitment to global solidarity is the reason I‟m
excited to be here. You are the movers, the shapers of our planet” her Excellency pronounced.

Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaelle Jean, Governor General, Canada
David Woollcombe, President and Founder of Peace Child International, Continued the positive
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messages by saying: “YLD = the best dollar anyone can invest in. The UN is your champion. You need to learn now, because they need you to step up and do your projects”. Other speakers included William Reese, Chief Executive Officer of the International Youth Foundation; Director of Youth, Sport and Culture Directorate, Pierre Mairesse and Mae Mendelson, Founder Member of the Youth Employment Summit. Youth speaker Kyle Tailor from Youth Venture summed up the feeling of all the participants with an emotional presentation, asking: “Why are you here? Who are we as a generation? What moves us?” Answering himself he said “We are the first Truly Global Generation. We have had enough; we are going to do it ourselves. Dream it! Do it! Think global! Act locally!”

Exhibition

The insightful and inspiring exhibition attracted keen interest from delegates, Quebecers and guests present. In attendance once again was Her Excellency, the Right Honorable Michaelle Jean, Governor-General of Canada. With her were other VIP guests including deputies and winners of the Champion Youth awards. Dozens of exhibitors had the opportunity to briefly share with dignitaries and delegates, details of their organizations and projects. A notable exhibit was the Water Awareness Education Program (WAEP) led by Wadi Environmental Science center (WESC). The program seeks to mitigate the problems of limited clean water resources in Egypt. This program approaches the issue mainly from two perspectives; assessment and education. It chemically analyzes the quality of water in the localities near the Nile, whilst promoting public awareness. WAEP believes
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that early prevention, particularly through early education is essential. The program also coordinates regular workshops and allows youngsters to raise funds on their own in pursuit of their projects.

World Youth Walk
On United Nations International Youth Day, hundreds of delegates and other youth from Québec joined in the World Youth Walk which started from 6pm in the evening amidst musical instruments, flags and posters, calling for an end to war, HIV/AIDS and environmental degradation. The colourful procession marched the 7 kilometres from the Congress venue (Université Laval) to the heart of Old Port of Québec. The high spirits, chanting, dancing, and singing bespoke of the energy and enthusiasm. Even those who watched from the balconies and patios of their homes couldn‟t help it, but to clap and share in the “fun”.

Delegates: during the World Youth Walk

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SKILL BUILDING
The skills building component of the congress constituted an estimated number of 230 workshops, round table discussions as well as keynote speeches. These activities gave delegates the opportunity to exchange, learn, and share experiences and ideas to build together a better future for humanity. The over 155 skill workshops helped enlighten delegates‟ knowledge and competence. The round table discussions and keynote speeches gave delegates the Patience W. Stephens, Ph.D. Focal Point and Team Leader chance to discuss pertinent UN Programme on Youth development issues with UN agenciesboth international as well as local professionals. To make this happen, the program was divided into thematic sessions. Additionally, young educators, activists and young journalists spiced up the congress by sharing their experiences and talents in their specific fields of expertise. Guests from organizations such as the Canadian Development Agency (CIDA) and UN- Habitat emphasized the point that youth organizations and governments need to look for win-win situations, learn to speak each other‟s language and find shared goals to work upon. David Woollcombe, President and Founder of Peace Child International, never without a useful piece of advice, said that the youth need to look for their comparative advantage when asking for support from their governments. That is to say, what can youth do that their government wants to accomplish, and can do so better than any other organization working with government? In short, he advised the youth to find something they could offer their government that no other entity or individual could, in return for their governments support.

Presentation by: Cyril Nii Offei France, under the topic: Youth Job Creation Programme (How to create jobs for youth in the least developed, post-conflict states), 08/14/2008
Highlighted some challenges, successes and lessons learnt from youth-led development, Mr. France
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said his motivation was drawn from the fact that agriculture accounts for almost half of Ghana‟s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and export earnings and employs threefifths of the workforce1. However, despite its importance, sectoral growth has lagged behind other sectors of the economy, hence the decision to collaborate with young farmers in creating appealing sustainable initiatives to encourage more young farmers.

Presentation by: Cyril Nii Offei France, during the Round Table on, “Youth & Government Dialogue Session”, Moderators Wendy Cunningham, World Bank Children & Youth Department; David Woollcombe, International Director, World Youth Congress; Guests: CIDA-Canada (Paul Samson); UNIDO (Doris Hribbernigg); GTZ-Germany (Timo Weinacht); UN Habitat (Mutinta Munyata); IADB (Fabien Andres Koss)/ AED-USA (Andy Munoz). 08/13/2008.
The United Nations system keenly participated in the Congress through a joint UN exhibit and also facilitated various workshops on topics ranging from sustainable development, the MDGs, youth employment, sport and values, sexual and reproductive health and youth participation.

Regional Roundtable Dialogue
As part of the second section of the Congress, Seven (7) Regional Roundtable dialogues took place on Saturday, August 16 from each region displaying insightful solutions in the form of two major recommendations which will be forwarded to Governments and Aid Agencies. For the purpose of this congress, the „round tables‟ were divided as follows: Africa, Asia and the Pacific Islands, Europe, La Francophonie, Latin America, Middle East and North Africa and North America. The methodology of sessions allowed participants to discuss the challenges and opportunities of Youth Led Development, as well as having a democratic dialogue and decision making dialogue on the recommendations which would be submitted to the Canadian Government and other stakeholders. Finally, the small groups reported to the larger group and two major recommendations were extracted and
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Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy II (2006-2009) vol. 1. Priorities for private sector competitiveness p.31 Page | 8

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agreed upon by the larger group. Recommendations from regional roundtables are as follows:

Region: Africa Number of Participants: 36 Countries involved: Ghana, Burundi, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, Liberia, Central African countries, Major Recommendations: 1. Localize the Millennium Development Goals and recreate them as youth-led initiatives a. Be inclusive of local governments, languages; b. Create partnership between governments and existing institutions working with young people. 2. Provide more funding for youth-led initiatives and youth capacity-building a. Include the issue of gender inequality (re-orientation of values), human rights b. Provision of mentorship programs; c. Provide educational training (formal and informal) as well as specific skills geared towards sustainable development; d. Create partnership between governments, institutions and young people to promote youth-led development. 3. Youth policy should be established for each government ministry.

Region: Asia and the Pacific Islands Number of Participants: 60 Countries Involved: Australia, Hawaii, China, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, Vietnam Major Recommendations: 1. To restructure the policy making process into a bottom-up, grassroots approach that accurately consults all citizens to voice their opinions on a range of interconnected issues; a. Promote a move to self-sufficiency of communities and application of native processes. 2. To encourage the active participation of young people in all programmes of civil society and to recognize the actions that they are currently taking to make a positive impact in their communities; a. Encourage youth and elderly interactions and cooperation. 3. To ensure that environmental policies are inclusive and integrated into institutions; a. Raise awareness of environment by encouraging less wasteful behavior and reducing carbon footprint; b. Address the carbon injustice between developed and developing countries.
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4. To ensure that governments better allocate resources and ensure that the capacity of youth is developed and supported; a. Education system should be re-evaluated to include emphasis on environmental knowledge, cross-cultural understanding, experiential education and youth-led development.

Region: Europe Number of Participants: 50 Countries Involved: Azerbaijan, Slovenia, United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, Austria, Russia, Finland, Serbia, Moldova, Romania, Turkey, Czech Republic, and Ukraine Major Recommendations: 1. Increase transparency of funding available and simplifying grant application and making bursary schemes more accessible; a. Trust should be placed in young people as project managers; b. Find ways to increase the feasibility and the success of youth-led development projects. 2. Providing more opportunities for informal education and supporting dialogue among youth at the global level; a. Governments should target the stigmatized and marginalized groups; b. Increase the awareness in communities of the success of youth-led developments, which will help to motivate other young people. 3. Creating a comprehensive youth policy in each country – including, as much as possible, youth parliaments and youth advisors to the government; a. Youth-networks and youth-led organizations are part of the solution: it is essential to co-operate with them in community and national decisionmaking and project delivery/implementation.

Region: Latin America Number of Participants: 50 Countries Involved: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Peru Major Recommendations: 1. To democratize and facilitate access to governmental and private funding at the national and international level. This will help develop the leadership capacity of youth who are actively engaged in initiatives related to social action, education, environment, and health; a. There should be more funding for informal education and alternative methodologies of education; b. Greater investment into education and prevention programs – particularly for youth-driven projects, non-formal education, and capacity building opportunities.
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2. To institutionalize youth participation by ensuring their inclusion in multiple levels of decision-making; a. A quota should be given for youth representation in local and national governmental processes; b. Support councils, co-operatives and civil society organizations as stakeholders in decision-making rather than solely as consultative bodies. 3. Ensure regional cooperation of Latin American counties in environmental policy making so that sustainable technologies are implemented through stronger policies that will lead companies towards more effective practices throughout our region; a. Immediate standards and regulations should be adopted to enforce the suspension of mining activities. This will be implemented until sustainable practices are established and guaranteed; b. 0.7% of the GNP should be reserved for foreign aid to follow the commitment done with the Monterey Declaration.

Region: Middle East & North Africa Number of Participants: 20 Countries Involved: Algeria, Iraq, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Mauritania and Bahrain Major Recommendations: 1. To provide opportunity for inter-youth interaction and understanding by: a. Increasing exchange programs; b. Establishing pen-pal curriculum in schools; c. Increasing second language learning, emphasizing on other national languages. 2. To encourage youth to change public images and prejudices through: a. Establishing youth-led media b. Increasing youth councils which will allow youth opinions to be voiced and taken into consideration by government. 3. To promote care for personal health and the environment by: a. Allocating the efforts of the Ministers of Health and Environment to support successful youth projects as well as awareness-raising campaigns towards health and environment in association with organizations and youth initiatives; b. Intensifying the teaching of environmental programs in schools, in a framework of the educational system in the field of environment and health (non-formal education).

Region: North America Number of Participants: 25 Countries Involved: Canada, United States of America.
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Major Recommendations: 1. Establish a Ministry of Youth in the USA and Canada; a. To legitimize the importance of youths b. To create a national network of youth-led development groups, projects and funding opportunities; - Involve youth in policy and decision making; - Implement global, human rights and social education in school curriculum; - Increase funding for accessible exchange programs; - Expanding mentoring and internship programs; - Implement post-secondary voluntary program which can decrease tuition fees; - Increase the funding for, and expand the number of community centers. 2. To make youth a priority by including youth oriented programs into the federal budget; a. Increase funding opportunities for youth services, programs, and projects to ensure the well-being of youth from every socio-economic status as responsible citizens; - Increase government funding for arts programs for youth; - Fund Public Service Announcements on the Millennium Development Goals MDGs.

Region: La Francophonie Number of Participants: 38 Countries Involved: Canada, Major Recommendations: 1. Environment: teach environmental values to young people from their early years; ensure a continuum of environmental education activities throughout each young person‟s school career and enacting a political framework for young people to advance their concerns in all the member countries of the Francophone; 2. French Language: Support French Language education and learning programs; 3. Economic Governance: Support the participation and consultation of youth in the development of economic policy of each country and create a larger platform for youth participation in the decision-making processes of international economic institutions; 4. Create a youth section: In each ministry and state institution, that should be managed by young people themselves.

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Cyril Nii Offei France receiving an award from Glenn Zyzanski, Project Manager CIDA-Canada (...for answering CIDA’s youth-led development quiz)

How to become a Youth delegate at the United Nations General Assembly
The workshop/debate gave young people, UN officials, and other participants an opportunity to address what they understand by, and what they expect from “youth participation”. The term has been used repeatedly but means different things to different people and organizations. This workshop brought together youth delegates and UN staff from various agencies to debate on pertinent issues. Young delegates were exposed to how youth participation can be fostered in promoting national development and in UN discussions. How to become a Youth delegate at the United Nations General Assembly Since 1945, the United Nations (UN) has been renowned as an international organization that commits to facilitating cooperation in human rights, social progress, international law and security, economic development, and achieving
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world peace. So, it was imperative the World Youth Congress in Quebec City featured a conference on how to become a youth delegate at the UN General Assembly.

The following is basically “how-to” become a UN youth delegate:
1. Prepare to talk to your government: - Identify national youth institutional structures; Build partnership with organizations(i.e. local UN Association); - Research (i.e. find out what former youth delegates did to research their goal); - Find support. 2. Talk to your government: - Prepare a concise, effective proposal; - Provide supporting policy document (i.e. your country‟s national youth policy); - Provide supporting letters (i.e. from your local government official); - Find the contact in your government that deals specifically with youth. 3. Draft a plan of action: - Establish priorities; - Identify key issues in each priority; - Set objectives; - List related actions; - Write a declaration or pledge stating why you want to become a youth delegate.

Making the case for Youth-led Development (YLD)
How can we engage our governments and persuade them that supporting youthled development is the best policy for achieving the MDGs? The President of Peace Child International, David Woollcombe believes that the answer is youth-led development. In his recent book “Youth-led Development: Empowering Youth to make poverty history” he explained the five arguments he uses to persuade policy makers that YLD works.

David Woollcombe President of Peace Child International,

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1. Education The best way to learn is by doing. Supporting youth to lead projects or to establish small businesses will help them develop useful skills, in a way that taught courses cannot provide. The opportunity to participate in such activities increases their employability by increasing self-confidence, team working abilities and skills; 2. Jobs The centre of YLD is job creation. YLD supports young people to establish the businesses they think will work in their communities; 3. Economic Growth YLD helps young people enter the formal economy. More businesses mean more workers and more taxes; 4. Evidence of Success In David‟s book, he presents extensive evidence that YLD projects are cheaper and sustainable than traditional approaches. 5. Service The benefits of volunteering for the community and individuals are huge. YLD provides an excellent vehicle for international youth exchanges.

ACTION PROJECTS
During the final segment of the Congress, young delegates actively participated in 40 action projects to contribute to community development in the surroundings of Quebec City to put their newly acquired skills into practice. These projects were realised in collaboration with many local organizations that already work with great enthusiasm for the improvement of the quality of life of their peers. The idea behind the action project was also to prove that youth can go further than just talking, and take action wherever they go. The following are but a few Action Projects undertaken by delegates:  Delegates participated in the elaboration of a “tacon-site” in the frame of the project “Evenement
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 

Ouananiche” Venue: Jonquiere, Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean. Delegates helped in the last minute logistical plans for the Festival du Bucheux. Decorations were made and delegates had an opportunity to exchange with the city‟s inhabitants. The venue was Saint-Pamphile, Chaudiere-Appalaches. Delegates helped in the transformation of an elementary school by painting the walls with lively colors and murals to encourage their imagination. Venue: Ecole Saint-Fidele – Ville de Quebec. The young delegates made scientific tests to analyze the various constituents of water. They further took care of the river banks by cleaning and revitalizing it in place. Project/venue: Comite de valorisation de la riviere Beauport – Ville de Quebec. Delegates helped in building a rustic campsite in the woods near the EcoChalet, built a biological garden and participated in a medicinal herbs workshop. venue: APEPA-St-Alban, Portneuf.

Basket of Quotes…
“As youths, you have to be concerned… there has to be something else in life worth fighting for. Stand up and fight for your rights” Dr. Kandeh Yumkella, Director General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization. “Young people need to lobby so that they become the centre of government policy” David Woollcombe, President and Founder of Peace Child International “If you are not going to opt into the system, your voice is not going to be heard and the decisions will continue to be made for us” Brooke Ward, Young Journalist “Money should not be used as an excuse for not taking action” Dr. Kumi Naidoo, Founder and Honorary President of CIVICUS International Secretary-General, Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP) “Youth need to be empowered to be leaders today and not just in the future” Her Excellency Michaelle Jean, Governor General, Canada “Youth and governments need to look for win-win situations, learn to speak each other’s language and find shared goals to work upon” David Woollcombe, President and Founder of Peace Child International

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Link to Other Useful Resources
Watch out for WYC 2010! www.turkiye2010.org Peace Child International www.peacechild.org Canadian International Development Agency www.acdi-cida.gc.ca Startup and Change the World www.ysei.org/?q=node/18 Youth-Led Development www.greenbooks.co.uk TakingITGlobal’s Guide to Action www.takingitglobal.org/action/guide/online.html Nothing For Us, Without Us www.peacechild.org/www/pci/downloads/Actiontoolkit.pdf Millennium Campaign Toolkit www.tigurl.org/millennium Canadian Educational and Training Awards – Africa (CETAA) www.cetaa.ca

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Some Outcomes and Thoughts:
 Participation in the congress has broadened my understanding in youth-led development, provided me with skills and support to effectively intensify my contribution to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals; The congress offered me an opportunity to share my experience in youth-led development with other local and international delegates, guests, and development/aid agencies; Working together with my team during the action project did not only help me appreciate other cultural differences but also to be accommodative. It was also an opportunity to know the people and society better. The high levels of development witnessed confirmed my impressions and justifies why Canada often comes out top of the UN‟s Human Development Index; I am confident that this event will inspire the development of more youth-led initiatives and projects in the near future.

Plan of Action:
 To share the resource materials and experience gained from the congress with my colleagues, student groups and other local youth groups, this is to help mobilize more young people and civil society groupings to push for change towards youth development and youth-led development initiatives. This will be done through the launch of a campaign (letter writing campaign to ministers or holding meetings to raise awareness amongst youth where government officials will be invited to attend); In collaboration with the National Youth Council, other youth organizations and other stakeholders we will create employment opportunities by bringing young entrepreneurs together by forming co-operatives through which they can facilitate the development of businesses, such as student businesses, as well as add value to primary agricultural produce, through the development of small scale agro-industries.

Appeal:
 Regardless of young people‟s background and/or the difficulties we face in achieving our full potential and contributing to the development of our communities, it is evident that indeed young people have contributed and are contributing significantly to social, economic and environmental change. Hence I make this passionate appeal to Governments and Aid Agencies to wake up to the incredible potential of Youth-Led Development (YLD) and contribute to its growth and sustainability.

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African governments including the government of Ghana must ratify, implement and with young people, monitor the recommendations of the African Youth Charter. This is because it ensures the constructive involvement of Youth in the development agenda of Africa.

More information on the Congress can be found at www.wyc2008.qc.ca

This report has been compiled by: Cyril Nii-Offei France Youth Development Advocate P.O. Box GP 18932 Accra Central, Ghana Cell: +233 249 415 528 cyril.france@gmail.com cyril@savechildrennow.org

Development Management Student School of Community Development Ghana Christian University College P.O. Box DD 48 Dodowa, Ghana Tell: +233 229 520 42, 274 241 121, 289 511 199 Email: gcu@ghanacu.org Web: www.ghanacu.org

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