Southern Africa Youth Forum (SAYoF) is a Regional platform for youths and Youth Organizations within the SADC region. It is founded based on the increasing demand by youth to be important players and stakeholders in regional processes to proffer solidarity at national and regional level, participation in sustainable transformation and in the agenda set by SADC Heads of State, the SADC Secretariat among other SADC organs. SAYoF is composed of youth organizations and formations working in SADC member States, taking advantage of their diversity and innovativeness to transform lives at regional and national level. SAYoF believe youth in SADC Region should be stakeholders and leaders, providing initiative and making pragmatic contributions in the development discourse of their home countries and the region. SAYoF believes that real transformation is where youth are placed at the centre of development policy in the region; steering through a sustainability lens, the various instruments that guide the region’s growing work such as protocols and agreements.
Harnessing the demographic dividend in the region requires investments in ensuring participatory, representative and inclusive political processes as well as responsive state institutions. This must be premised on the enjoyment, protection and respect for fundamental civil, political and socio-economic rights of young people including young women, and young people with disabilities who experience dire rights-based challenges. Further to this, effective management of diversity through the provision of safe spaces for mutual learning, innovation and collaboration at the regional level can provide leadership and mentorship opportunities for the emerging young leaders to transform the region.