Proceeding of Project Inception Webinar: COYOQA Project
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The COVID-19 crisis has severely disrupted youth livelihoods, access to education, employment and participation in governance processes, decision-making and public life. It is envisaged that the long-term impact of the crisis will include increased levels of youth unemployment and exacerbation of their vulnerability and exclusion. At the same time, the COVID-19 crisis has the potential to promote youth agency by encouraging innovation, strengthening intergenerational dialogue and promoting social accountability. The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by establishing a Regional Response Strategy (RRS) for COVID-19 Pandemic as a call of action. Member states were tasked to use their National Response Strategies to monitor the performance of RRS and formally conduct COVID-19 surveillance at the national level. This emphasized the top-down strategy in communicating World Health Organization guidelines to communities. However, the RRS omitted youth-led civic engagement in tracking its implementation for strengthened public health delivery, increased accountability and responsiveness to community needs. Throughout the region, the fight against COVID-19 has taken a top-down communication approach thereby side-lining community engagement as a critical operational tool. The communication has also been centralized thereby excluding the peripheries.