The word social justice evokes images of fairness and equal opportunities , it means paying attention to the muted voices , it implies a shift from business as usual to business unusual.
To many young people in Africa the attainment of social justice is a mirage.This is due to inherent challenges that may be systemic , to lack of opportunities due to a development model that benefits a few at the expense of majority, it may be discrimination based on economic class.
Due to the start realities of the day to day struggle for social justice , a breed of young people are becoming conscious about issues and seeking engagements that have lasting impacts on communities.Through adoption of a Learning and Exchange Model young activists in Kenya and South Africa are forging alliances that provide platforms where leadership can be learnt differently, where young people are at the centre of pushing for social justice in a practical way and where the relevance of ideals of pan-Africanism are learnt and practiced.
Through exchange , young South Africans come to Kenya and experience what it is like to be a young Kenyan , and in the same vein, young Kenyans go to different communities down in South Africa to understand the life of a South African youth.The exchange is not just a visit that ends with touring a foreign land but actual engagement with social movements and other civil society formations including contribution to advocacy work , participation in local forums and engaging fellow young people.
Through placement in organisations carrying out social justice work and visiting communities grappling with social justice struggles of rising poverty levels, youth unemployment , climate change , food related uncertainty , privatisation of basic services and other forms of economic shocks and stressors , these young people cultivate the much needed knowledge in addressing the issues and at the same time develop the urge to advocate for the right of the underprivileged based on practical experiences , knowledge and experience sharing .This process also contributes to inculcating alternative world views based on understanding and analysis of issues.The Learning and Exchange Model provides spaces for debate on issues and collective seeking solutions while at the same time , enabling young people to reach out to fellow youths.This also helps nurture a different type of leadership that is more conscious on social justice.The model further provides a platform for young people to link local issues with global agenda bringing a sense of urgency in tackling social injustices within communities.
Learning and exchange Model when utilised by youth serving organisations can go a long way in transforming the mindset of young people .