Tuesday, August 07, 2007

IYD 2007...Don't be left out!

All over the world, young people will be organizing different events to mark this year’s international youth day. Some will be organizing rallies, others will lobby parliament, sign petition, and some will make it entertainment event with sensible message, while others will take it all to God in prayer! The theme for this year’s celebration is “Be seen, be heard: Youth Participation for development”. So what plans have you made for August 12? Being a day declared as international youth day (IYD) by UN General Assembly, it is recommended that public information activities be organized to promote better awareness of youth development issues.
The first IYD was commemorated on 12 August 2000 . Former Secretary-General Kofi Anan called for governments to become more responsive to the aspirations of youth for a better world. Also in his message that day, Kofi Anan pointed out that in order for youth to deal effectively with the impact of globalization on their lives; they must start preparing for the future immediately and not wait for Governments to tell them what to do.
This means, we shouldn’t just raise issues we want government to respond to but also be looking out how we as young people can contribute to solving these issues. We are to look into directing our passion and dream for the future into being relevant and critically analyzing our role and maximizing our problem solving skills.
Talking about skills, do you know you can also acquire new ones just by taking part in the event? For instance, last year, I joined some of youth volunteers and young leaders in organising a two-days event to mark the day...with the support of British Council and Voluntary Service Overseas of course. The theme was "Tackling Poverty together" and the event focused on giving youths practical skills in tackling poverty through lectures, idea sharing and skill acquisition session. It was during one of the lectures that I learnt that majority of Nigerians are not really poor, they just suffer from poverty of the mind!
It is amazing how much I learnt just by getting involved. The responsibilities bestowed on us as youth organisers was overwhelming, but with the sincere support and encouragement for our adult partners, it was worthwhile burning out sweat over a fruitful course. So as we acted and didn't allow ourselves to be acted upon, we sharperned our organising and facilitation skills. We also were able to Network with key stakeholders and other youths from all over Nigeria . Some of those who were at the event were really impacted, at least, I know one person who will be marking this year's IYD in his community as a result of what he learnt during IYD 2006.
This year’s international youth day will give youths in a thousand and one opportunities to reflect and take action on issues that they are most passionate about. You shouldn’t allow the norms to suppress your enthusiasm, use your voice appropriately, be seen and be heard. If you haven’t decided how to celebrate the day, team up with others who have, join local youth groups in your community to take action, after all collaboration is a sure way to affect a significant change!

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