Youth Programme on
Elections and Governance

Through the Youth Dialogues, MINDS brings a pan-African connectivity that ensures a cross border sharing of ideas and experiences to develop methodologies that are distinctly African.

Trevor Manuel
MINDS Advisory Board

According to a 2014 report, 60% of the one billion people in Africa are youth under the age of 35 years, with 35 % between the ages of 15 and 35 years old. Clearly Africa’s youth constitutes an important group whose demographic superiority, if harnessed, could determine the outcome of elections and quality of leadership and governance across the continent. Presently, however despite this demographic dominance, participation by African youth in key political processes is either low or negative.

The MINDS’ Youth Programme in Elections and Governance is one of the four core programmes implemented by the organisation. Active youth participation in governance, and on-going engagement with leadership and governance processes can potentially hasten the transformation of the continent to realise the socio-economic and political progress needed to improve conditions and living standards of the Africa society. The Youth Programme has been specifically designed to strengthen the quality of youth engagement in the electoral and political governance processes in Africa.

Youth should be key architects of the future of Africa

Our global space is dominated by growing social and online processes and tools for which the youth have higher and better levels of competence than older generations and it is evident that countries that have created space for the youth to participate are achieving better levels of innovation and hence better technological and economic development. Through their networks and application of information and communication technologies, the youth can play a significant role in the transformation of the continent.

At MINDS we believe that the quality of leaders chosen by a society forms the bedrock of the type of society that emerges. Through the Youth Programme, we challenge African youth to link the creation of the Africa of their dreams, with the kind of leaders they help choose through the electoral processes, with pressure brought to bear on ensuring accountability to campaign promises and commitments.

Building the Foundations of Future Leaders

In order to alter the current trajectory of Africa’s political economy, engagement with youth to build the foundations of future leadership, the Youth Programme seeks to ensure that Africa’s youth embrace:

  • a better understanding of leverage based on their numbers
  • a deeper appreciation of how they are being used by the older generations in subverting electoral process and that this behaviour is against their interests
  • higher levels of participation in and ownership on the outcomes of elections
  • choices based on a clearer understanding of the importance the capacity of leaders and substance in their programmes over their ethnic aligencies
  • the development of skills and institutional platforms for engaging with the authorities of the day
  • Higher levels of the utilisation of social media during elections.


Regional Training Workshops on Elections and Governance

MINDS’ provides civic education on elections and governance to African youth through regional training workshops. The aim of the MINDS Regional workshops is to create awareness, enhance knowledge and develop relevant skills in electoral and governance processes and leadership among participants, in order for them to effectively communicate and apply these skills in influencing and mobilising other youth to actively participate in the processes and other community and national development activities.

The content covered in these workshops familiarises African youth with electoral and governance processes relevant to their countries. Participants are equipped with knowledge and skills to enable them to mobilise peers and meaningfully participate in electoral processes. With an understanding of governance systems, African youth can make informed choices regarding how, or if, these systems can benefit their quest for a continent they envision.


MINDS 2018 Civic Education Training Workshop

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MINDS 2017 Train The Facilitator Training Workshop

The main objective of the four-day workshop was to equip MINDS Alumni with facilitation skills to enable them to run training workshops. The learning outcomes of the course included:

  • Developing facilitation skills for adult learners
  • Using a range of presentation tools and techniques tools and techniques to deliver content to an audience effectively
  • Understanding how to elicit input from learners and how to create an interactive and
    engaging environment for them
  • Developing an awareness of how non-verbal messages can be effectively communicated.

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MINDS 2016 Civic Education Training Workshop

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MINDS 2015 Regional Civic Education Training

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MINDS 2015 Civic Education Training Workshop

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Youth Dialogues

The MINDS Youth Dialogue is an annual gathering of young African leaders who have demonstrated a commitment to the development of Africa, practical involvement in elections and governance and the ability to mobilise other youth towards a set goal. At each Dialogue, we facilitate conversations between 100 or more youth, drawn from across the continent, and experienced African leaders with the aim of exploring the kind of Africa the youth can aspire to create for themselves. Topics addressing the role and impact of youth in elections and governance on the continent are researched prior to the Dialogue and discussed at the event.


MINDS 2016 Annual Youth Dialogue

Annual Youth Dialogue was held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and brought together 95 young African leaders from 47 countries across the continent, who demonstrated their commitment to the development of Africa through practical involvement in elections and governance and the ability to mobilise other youth.

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MINDS 2015 Annual African Youth Dialogue

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MINDS 2014 African Youth Dialogue

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How can I attend a MINDS Youth Programme event?

Interested individuals who meet the qualifying criteria are invited to apply to attend our events. The invitation to apply is announced on our website, Facebook and Twitter accounts before the opening of applications.

Who can apply to attend MINDS Youth Programme events?

Youth Programme events are targeted at:

  • African youth aged between 18 and 45 years old
  • Individuals who are resident in Africa
  • Individuals who have demonstrated the ability to mobilize other youth towards a set goal, involvement in elections and governance and a commitment to Africa’s development through practical community involvement
  • You are welcome to submit an application if you meet all of the criteria above and any other specific criteria as set out on each application form.

Where are the events held?

MINDS’ hosts four regional civic education workshops and on elections and governance and one Dialogue per annual cycle. The workshops are held in Southern, East, North and West Africa. Central African countries are invited to any of these workshops depending on geographical proximity, language commonalities and ease of travel. MINDS’ lists the countries that are invited to apply when the call for applications is made. 
The Dialogue is open to applicants from all African countries and is held in a different country each year. The host country is announced when applications open.

Why is my country not listed under its region? / Why is my country listed under a different region?

We try our level best to keep countries within their regional grouping but due to geographical proximity, language commonalities and ease of travel, some countries are included in other regional groupings.

How many times can I apply to attend a MINDS Youth Programme event?

If you have never attended a MINDS event, you are welcome to apply as many times as you like. However, if you have already attended a MINDS event, we encourage you not to re-apply to allow others to experience and learn.

What expenses will I Incur to attend a MINDS Youth Programme event?

MINDS will cover the cost of air travel to and from the closest international airport, the cost of accommodation and meals during the event and actual visa fees (not other expenses associated with obtaining a visa) on production of valid receipts. MINDS will not cover the following costs:

  • Any expenses incurred during the application and selection process
  • Any expenses incurred in obtaining medical clearance or medical documentation to travel
  • Any visa fees, IF a selected candidate ends up cancelling their attendance at the event or if they fail to obtain all necessary travel documentation to allow them to attend the event
  • Any other expense incurred in trying to obtain a visa/s other than the actual visa fees
  • Any other incidental expenses incurred during travels to and/ or from the event. This includes in-transit accommodation or transportation
  • Any incidental expenses incurred during the event
  • Any costs incurred in conducting tours or expeditions during the event
  • Any expenses incurred in communicating with the MINDS team.
  • The list above is not exhaustive. Confirmed participants are provided a comprehensive list of expenses that are not covered by MINDS.

Can I sponsor myself or other participants to attend a MINDS Youth Programme event?

We welcome financial contributions that enable us to extend our reach. If you would like to sponsor yourself to attend a Youth Programme event, contact us. However, you are only able to sponsor yourself once you have been selected to attend the event. 
To sponsor other participants or make donations to our organisation, please send an email to

If I am not successful in attending an event, how else can I get involved?

Kindly send an email to and we will share your contact details with MINDS Alumni in your region or country, so that they can alert you to any local initiatives.


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South Africa


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