The topic ‘Youth’ in any form is something that has long been discussed and written about. People still discuss and write about it and will continue to write about it since the potentials embedded in it cannot be over-emphasised. As I was thinking of what to write in commemoration of the forth coming INTERNATIONAL YOUTH DAY (IYD), the first thing that came to my mind was; What if all the energies and enthusiasm of youth are painstakingly harnessed towards development? What a great way to build a sustainable development agenda.
My experience as a volunteer in East Africa for the past three years has equipped me with knowledge and experience to share some thoughts on youths’ energy because with the growing number of young people in Africa and their determination to make positive changes, one will wonder why policy makers and governments in time past have not given it the needed attention until recently.
Several young leaders, students, professionals of age between 22-35 years within the East African region came together during the last week of the month of May for the Tanzania International Model United Nations (TIMUN2017) conference tagged ‘Creating Global active Youths in Diplomacy and Leadership’, to collectively share ideas into finding the problems and challenges facing youth development within the region. MUN is a United Nation simulation conference which is aimed at training young leaders in diplomacy and also to foster international cooperation for sustainable development.
As a participant during the conference I was able to lend my voice on the problems and challenges faced by young people and I took special interest in the product ideas that could be applied to issues concerning quality and inclusive education for sustainable development. The conference observed that access to quality education, youth unemployment and political exclusion are major challenges facing the youths in developing countries. The challenges are enormous but if the youth energies and enthusiasm are properly mobilised can give us the answers we seek.
Tackling these challenges requires mobilising a whole lot of energies from all facet of life, from professional background and all ages because in an increasing connect and open world, the youths are showing an ever-growing interest and concerns in development related issues. According to the United Nation Economic Commission for Africa in its publication in march,2016 discovered that in Africa, over 70% of the urban population is young people under the age of 30 years, more than elsewhere, development can only be achieved by mobilising the youth’s energies and having an informed, strong and organised youths. A university Don at the University of Makerere once said “when youths are assisted to learn how to solve their own problems through need identification and sustained actions on their need, unrest and conflicts will be averted”. I strongly agree with him because for development to be sustainable it must be in an atmosphere of peace and security. Youth energy is key and therefore should be mobilised and channelled towards development.
Consequently, the level of development we seek involves supporting a new generation of young people, assisting and mobilising them in order to strengthen their abilities towards development which is far reaching and sustainable.
Article by Omajijohn