On 26 August 2016, during a side event preceeding TICAD VI, Richard Dictus, the Executive Coordinator of the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme and Ambassador Dr. Kipyego Cheluget, Assistant Secretary General of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) towards establishing the COMESA Youth Volunteer Scheme (COMESA-YVS).
The MOU signing was a culmination of extensive discussions between the two organizations led by the UNV Regional Office for Eastern and Southern Africa based in Nairobi.
The jointly drafted MOU provides a framework for setting up a youth volunteer scheme across the 19 COMESA Member States. The scheme’s broad objective is to enhance youth participation in national socio-economic development and regional integration among the countries.
The signatories envisage that the scheme will accelerate the progress on youth empowerment in the COMESA Region and contribute to achieving the goals and targets of various international and regional instruments, standards and resolutions that support, address and contribute to youth empowerment. These include the COMESA Youth Programme, the African Charter on Youth, the Africa Union Agenda 2063, the UN Agenda 20130 on Sustainable Development, among others.
In the MOU, COMESA and UNV agreed to cooperate in promoting youth volunteerism in the COMESA Member States through the development of programmes, management systems and procedures. They also agreed to cooperate in promoting recognition, documentation and knowledge sharing on youth engagement through volunteerism.
The MOU formalizes a new chapter in UNV’s support to COMESA Member States. It will enable the immediate development and setting up of the COMESA Youth Volunteer Scheme.