In many African countries, children and young people have become critical stakeholders and advocates in
achieving the ‘child rights agenda’. In addition, the pervasiveness of social media and information technologies has
expanded opportunities and platforms for digital activism by young people. Against this backdrop the paper explores
the context, content and complexities of children and young people’s advocacy in Africa. It describes the diverse
advocacy interventions undertaken to promote their rights, including children’s parliament, participation in national
and international conferences, Voices of Youth, ‘speaking to power’ through performances and information
campaigns for issue positioning.
However, most of the approaches are still donor-driven, adult-initiated and
patronising. Besides, the complexity of social change and policy influence and the limitations of digital media create
considerable challenges in achieving expected advocacy outcomes by children and young people in society. Thus,
the paper argues for a re-examination of existing participation and advocacy paradigms and practices in line with the
complexities of development programming and Africa’s social and political contexts. Strategies for addressing the
weaknesses in children and young people’s advocacy are outlined.