OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

Y-now: A global youth approval certificate for local impact

A global youth approval certificate which allows young people to validate policies and programs that affect their lives and livelihoods.

Photo of Hannah Tsadik

Written by

Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

The world has Fairtrade and Eco certificates, paving the way for mainstreaming sustainability in everyday life. The next frontier in sustainability standards is a certification for doing inclusion well. Evidence shows that the more inclusive a society, the more peaceful and prosperous it will be. Yet 51% of the world’s population, those under 30, are largely excluded from meaningful decision-making. So how do we revolutionize and incentivize youth inclusion for local impact and global scalability? Through Y-now: an innovative youth approval certificate that gives young people the power to validate relevant policies and programs in the intersection of peace, planet and prosperity. The certification is granted by youth bodies, as an endorsement that a given policy or program has lived up to certain youth inclusion criteria. The first step is to generate inclusion standards through crowdsourcing with the help of innovation hubs and advice from the likes of Fairtrade. Once the standards have been globally co-created, the Y-now certification will be piloted in Turkana, Kenya where the discovery of oil has created both new expectations for development and threats to the local ecosystem. The framework for regulating oil development is in negotiation – the Petroleum Bill of 2015 remains in parliament. This has allowed elite private and public interests to dictate extraction, with local youth excluded from decisions. The eventual policy will shape the development of Turkana for the coming decades. The pilot will thus support local youth in Turkana to audit the Bill and its conception through the Y-now standards and support stakeholders to identify how to better live up to them. The lessons from Turkana will be captured in an accessible Y-now handbook for youth in other contexts to use. To further popularize Y-now, the Turkana pilot will be captured in a compelling serialized mini-documentary made by young Kenyan filmmakers for wider recognition and global uptake.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

- 3,000 diverse young men and women under age 30 in Lokichar (East Turkana) who will have a meaningful say on the direction of the Petroleum Bill, and greater participation in its implementation in Kenya. - Formal and informal youth entities in Turkana who will have a structured process to engage local and national powerholders to ‘incite’ inclusion and accountability. - Turkana County government and Kenyan Parliament will gain a mechanism that positively encourages them to live up to international commitments around inclusion and help deliver better social and environmental outcomes while conferring legitimacy and popular support to the proposed interventions. - An estimated 10,000 young people across the world who will crowd-source the Y-now standards and be part of a global movement to set their own terms of participation. - The Kenyan innovation hubs and film crews who will have the opportunity to apply and deepen their skill-sets for to contribute to the triple bottom line.

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

There are over 95 sustainability standards, but not one focuses exclusively on inclusion as a measure for sustainability. As such, Y-now is transformative in helping to think and act in a new way on the meaning of sustainability, in a world where 51% of its population is under 30 years, but only 2% of the world’s parliamentarians are. While the application is novel, the certification methodology itself is a tested measure allowing Y-now to innovate and learn from the best practices of existing standards. Y-now also leverages the latest technologies and the wisdom of a global community while also being adaptable to tackle long-standing, deep-rooted challenges in local contexts. Finally, we are well-placed to support this idea because of 35 years of experience as peacebuilders - collaborating for inclusion, longstanding experience in the Horn of Africa (including Turkana), ongoing youth engagement work and existing networks and partnerships critical for success.

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Initial Design: I am exploring the idea, gathering the inspiration and information I need to test it with real users.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

Life & Peace Institute is an international peacebuilding organization that prioritizes working at the intersection of identity, power and exclusion; navigating issues of injustice and marginalization, and forging links and collaborative relationships in order to achieve long-term change: between people and power-holders, and across business, philanthropy and governance spheres in Africa, Europe and at global levels.

Expertise in sector

  • 7+ years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered non-profit.

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

This idea was sparked by a simple insight that LPI and its local partners had after supporting 20,000 hours of youth-led dialogue in the Horn of Africa; youth are agents of change now and not only tomorrow. To heed the urgent call to partner with young people to lead our future now, 20 people from across LPI and partners (representing Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, Sweden) went into a co-creation & design lab in May 2018 to find an idea as big as the insight - and emerged out with Y-now.

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

The pilot area, Turkana, is the poorest county in Kenya in which development has been catalyzed by a resource - oil - that has unique risks: to local dynamics of power and exclusion (people and peace), to the environment (planet), and to prospects for equitable development in this historically-abandoned region of Kenya (prosperity). The government has frequently acted in the interests of business, and local communities function based on patriarchy and generational exclusion. Ownership over resources such as oil, and the land under which it sits, remains a recent concept in Turkana. Youth are on the front line of this tension – instrumentalized and manipulated by elders, excluded from decisions, but deeply affected by, governance, conflict and economic development processes. Nonetheless, as the oil extraction process continues, youth will bear the brunt of decisions – and legislation – made and enacted on their behalf.

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

A multi-stakeholder-level-sectoral approach is required for systemic change for youth inclusion. So, locally, we will partner with Friends of Lake Turkana (FoLT), a grassroots organisation that works to foster economic and social resource and environmental justice. Together with the National Youth Council (Turkana Branch), FoLT will in turn engage approximately 3,000 youth in Lokichar in the Y-now pilot. We will retain strong relationships with the County Government – essential for working in this sensitive environment – including its Peace Directorate, as well as maintain open dialogue with international private sector actors engaged in extractives in Turkana. Nationally, we are exploring ways to partner with Nairobi-based innovation hubs such as PeaceTech Lab and Ushahidi for the most suited tech solutions. Globally, LPI will leverage its membership with the Inter-Agency Working Group on Youth & Peacebuilding, with its access to large numbers of young people in nearly every country.

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

- Over 75 per cent of the population in Kenya are under 30. - Based on prior engagement with young people in Turkana County, LPI has seen strong civic engagement and willingness to participate in local policy-making, creating prospects for capitalising on the youth dividend in the County. - Turkana also hosts a number of strong, locally-representative civil society and community-based organisations with the necessary capacities to mobilise a large contingent of this population.

Geographic Focus

The idea has global reach through technology, but is piloted and grounded in Turkana, Kenya.

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

Year 1: Partnerships, Knowledge Exchange with Fairtrade & B-corps, Design & Implementation of Crowd-sourcing Platform (Step 1-3 in the introductory video) Year 2: Pilot Y-now Certification Process in Turkana, Kenya (Step 4-5) Year 3: Global Amplification through Production & Dissemination of Y-now handbook & mini-documentary (Step 6-7) = 36 months.

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No

Attachments (1)


Read about our four insights on young people's participation that sparked the Y-now idea, grounded in ten years' worth of local, youth-led peacebuilding practice in the Horn of Africa, .


Join the conversation:

Photo of Raj Patra

Very inspiring! Would love to hear about the initiative and ways we can promote it in our work in Asia as well. All the very best!

Photo of Hannah Tsadik

Thank you Raj Patra , tell me more about the work that you do! Look forward to engaging more.

View all comments