About AYNM

The African Youth Network Movement (AYNM) is a network of networks that seeks to empower youth networks across Africa to collectively harness their experience, knowledge and expertise towards the development of the continent. It further aims to spur growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance, and enhance peace and stability across the continent.

It is led by Mrs. Graḉa Machel who has built successful movements across Africa especially in women and child rights; it is incubated under the Mandela Institute for Development Studies (MINDS).

MINDS has a special focus on youth’s active participation in and engagement with development, political and governance processes.



To convene youth led networks into a vision-building process for a Pan-African movement that can drive a common agenda for youth


To build cohesion and collective enquiry about the purpose of the movement with partners


To create individual and collective next steps and commitments after the launch of the youth-led movement


To connect youth networks on a digital platform which will enable them to build synergies and share knowledge


August 2017

The Graça Machel Trust (GMT) and Mandela Institute for Development Studies (MINDS) initiated a conversation with twenty-seven organisations working in youth empowerment to:

  • understand the challenges faced by youth networks
  • identify opportunities for greater collaboration among youth networks.

Fifteen network representatives attended a two-day workshop in Johannesburg on the 2&3 August 2017.

They raised the following issues:

May 2018

GMT and MINDS continued the conversation with the networks working in the youth empowerment sector. Thirty networks convened to craft the vision mission and objectives for a Pan African youth-led movement.

To establish the need for a youth movement in Africa we asked the network representatives 3 questions:

  • – Small focused networks
    – Selection of young leaders
    – Advocating for policy change
    – Use of role models
    – Internal locus of control
    – Diversity of skills
    – Networks which link members to essential resources
    – Impact in smaller communities
  • – Domesticationofknowledge
    – “Circular networks” – same faces – exclusive
    – Networks operating in silos
    – Short-term thinking
    – Tokenism
    – Lack of communication
    – Limited funding
    – Language barriers
    – Quality over quantity
    – Credibility
    – Sustainability
    – Powerful impact
    – Lack of monitoring and evaluation mechanisms
    – Market access
    – Clarity on vision and strategy
    – Governments which are not committed to implementing youth strategies
  • Leverageresources
    – Scaling up
    – Transformation
    – Access to other networks
    – Add value for each other
    – Create an African value proposition
    – Map the entire problem in youth leadership
  • – Create impact
    – Innovation
    – Shorten learning curve
    – Funding
    – Legacy
    – Empower youth
    – Global influence
    – African Identity
    – Amplifying our voices
    – Sharing strategies
    – Responding to complex challenges and systems – Changing harmful cultural practices

July 2018

The movement was officially launched in July 2018 during the inaugural African Youth Networks Summit (AYNS) which took place in Pretoria, South Africa.

  • The Summit was also celebrating the legacy and leadership of the Late President Nelson Mandela on his 100th birthday
  • More than 200 representatives from African youth networks attended the Summit
  • Over 35 African nations were represented at the Summit.

During the Summit, the participants made commitments towards the advancement of the African Youth Networks Movement. Youth constituencies agreed to advance the development agenda in the following areas:

  • Education
  • Entrepreneurship and Jobs
  • Peace and Security
  • Political Participation

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