Monday, August 24, 2009


To a young entrepreneur who owns a small supermarket, sustainability could mean the ability to effectively manage his business towards expansion in order to lift others out of poverty by employing more workers and leave a legacy for his children. For a student, it could mean being academically conscientious in order to advance in life in all ramifications and become a productive member of the society when he becomes an adult.

Esther Afolayan, the Senate President of Nigerian Children’s Parliament and Esther Agbarakwe, the African Regional Coordinator of UN CSD Youth Caucus are two young female activists I respect a lot because of their active involvement and commitment towards youth development in Nigeria . In a telephone conversation with both of them recently, I asked what their thought was about “Sustainability: Our challenge. Our Future.”

“Sustainability involves preserving the environment for the future…it encompasses politics, economy etc. The challenge we young people face is lack of sustained human development effort. For example, the government gives scholarship to people to go and study abroad in order to come back and improve the society with their knowledge but when these people acquire the knowledge, they do not return back to serve their country” said Agbarakwe. “To sustain the future, we must create an enabling environment and adopt a sustainable life style, simple action such as remembering to switch off the light when not in use, to preserve electricity counts. We should also learn to lookout for the well being of those around us” she added.

Sharing a similar view, Esther Afolayan said that sustainability involves doing things that can go on for a long time so that those coming along can benefit. She pointed out that Ignorance is a major threat to sustaining the future. “Young people do things without knowing the long term effect of their actions”. To sustain the future she suggests that the Nigerian youths should be encouraged to leave their comfort Zone and take positive action.

Sustainability is a process that continues for a long time, it also means meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of the future generation to meet their own needs. Sustainability does not waste resources through corruption or negligence. It entails the effort made by individuals, Non-Government-Organizations (NGOs), corporate bodies and Government to preserve the environment; the capacity of one generation to tackle social challenges in order not to transmit it to future generations; and the need to provide a steady economy without compromising resources for the future. Like Agbarakwe and Afolayan, I also believe we must do things more efficiently and effectively, to develop the youths and society for sustainability.

1 comment:

Zaid-Abiodun said...

Esther Agbarakwe, over time have shown that she is an exceptional and passionate youth leader who is buoy by the vision of a just, sustainable and peaceful world. If only we can get other youth like her, that will positively emulate the legacy she has set before us all. Esther Afolayan, though still very young, but a lad to watch out for in years to come. A sustainable world is definitely achievable.