The National Youth Forum, a yearly encounter, gave young people from every Burkina region the opportunity to meet with the country’s Head of State and make “concrete proposals for action” with a view to improve their current situation and perspectives for the future.
The Forum – then the only one in Africa – was held for the first time on 10 and 11 June 2005 in Ouagadougou under the theme: ” Youth Empowerment within the Political and Economic Construction of Burkina Faso”. In preparation for these exchanges, seminars were organized on a national level in Goundi, Bobo Dioulasso, and Ouagadougou to give young farmers, young people living in urban areas, and young pupils and students the opportunity to meet and define the concerns specific to each youth category.
Nearly 2,000 young people from all the three aforementioned categories and originating from the country’s thirteen regions attended this first Forum in 2005. After two days of workshops and plenary sessions, the youth presented a list of recommendations in the form of a declaration addressed to the President of Burkina Faso, prior to an “open and frank” discussion session with him that lasted several hours.
Young people originating from rural areas recommended the acceleration of agricultural mechanization processes and the promotion of literacy training and non-formal education. In addition, they suggested a wider range of technical training courses, as well as the creation of village committees to tackle the drugs and alcohol issues and fight against harmful traditional practices; they even proposed to improve the management of wildlife.
Young urban dwellers recommended the creation of a Migration Department and the promotion of Information and Communication Technologies.
Lastly, pupils and students recommended the creation of health insurance schemes, a national fund to support youth initiatives, and a National Youth Council. They also suggested the adoption of a national youth policy that gave birth to the creation of a Ministry of Youth only one year later. Their demand of reinstatement of scholarships, as well as boarding schools for girls was also implemented by the administration.
This Forum was held annually in a different city of Burkina Faso from 2005 until 2014. And each year, the progress made was assessed in direct consultation with the President.
Hence, the 5th Forum, which took place in Bagré from 4 to 7 February 2010, gave participants and public authorities the opportunity to take stock of the 5 previous years, and to report on the Forum’s recommendations since 2005 as well as on the achievements and perspectives. This fifth edition of the Forum gathered approx. 3,000 young people from every Burkina Faso region under the theme “Youth, Agricultural Entrepreneurship, and Self-Employment: a Challenge”.
The last National Burkina Faso Youth Forum took place in Dori in 2013. President Compaoré’s successors did not continue this initiative after his departure. However, other sub-region countries such as Mali, Niger, and Togo followed the Burkinabè lead and in turn organized National Forums.