At only 35, Alpha Abdoulaye Diallo, a doctor from Guinea, has lived through two dictatorships, two military coups and an assassination attempt on the head of state. Through his work with civil society, he has also watched Guinea’s attempts to become a working democracy from the front row.
“I first joined Guinea’s social movement and the National Council of Civil Society Organizations, which was established in 2002, as a result of IFES’ nationwide dialogue on civil society in 2006. Since then, I have been a youth leader,” Diallo said.
In 2007, he was elected president of the Guinean Africa Youth Network, an organization that fosters citizenship and promotes rule of law. The U.S. Embassy funded the group through IFES in 2008 to establish and train 38 Young Citizens Committees. In partnership with IFES, the network also organized trainings and voter education sessions throughout the country for the 2010 presidential elections.
Diallo believes that through this work to promote citizenship amongst his peer group and the protests organized to advocate for change, Guinean youth played a historic role in the Guinean 2010 transition.
He believes youth organizations’ impact will only grow.
“Youth are now looking to play a larger role in the decision making process. With the experience that we have gained these last years with IFES, RAJ-Gui – our local network of youth organization – has been able to get funding from other donors like the Open Society Initiative for West Africa and the United Nations Development Programme; becoming a reference for youth groups and development institutions nationwide and even outside of Guinea,” he said.