n Commonwealth Youth and Development - Youth leaders as change agents in sustaining youth organisations : a case study of Malaysia




The youth, as the future leaders of the country, have unique leadership roles and responsibilities in moulding the younger generations towards nation building. Excellent and sustainable youth organisations, as partners in national development, have the task of bringing about developmental change in the country. The Ministry of Youth and Sports, Malaysia, plays a major role in the planning, implementation and evaluation of youth development programmes. The ministry has been closely monitoring the programmes and activities conducted by various youth organisations. Despite considerable efforts and financial expenditure by the ministry, the success and sustainability of youth organisations in providing impactful programmes and activities are still questionable. One of the many reasons for the inability of youth organisations to become sustainable is because of the leadership roles youth leaders play in attaining the organisations' vision, mission and goals. The success of youth organisations greatly depends on the competencies of youth leaders to ensure that the organisations survive in an ever-challenging environment. This article discusses the roles of youth leaders as change agents in ensuring that their organisations become sustainable, and contribute to nation building. Specifically, two major questions are addressed: (1) What leadership roles do youth leaders have, in working towards sustainability; and (2) What role patterns should youth leaders adhere to, as change agents in sustaining their organisations? This is a qualitative study where data were gathered through focus group interviews and document analysis. Respondents were selected from youth organisations that have been awarded the Anugerah Belia Negara (National Youth Award), comprising of the chairpersons and their deputies, secretary, treasurer and committee members. The study revealed six major leadership roles for youth leaders as change agents, with 33 leadership practices and responsibilities aimed at ensuring the sustainability of their organisations. These include their roles as managers, process helpers, consultants, catalysts, problem solvers and resource linkers. The study concludes that for youth organisations to be sustainable, youth leaders must play the role of change agents.


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