What matters most to youth? Part 2


no picture Ma'Reke
Se registró el día 26 de junio de 2014
  • 25 Artículos

Source http://hopeofafricayouth.com

Source http://hopeofafricayouth.com

Have you had an experience that upended your views or enlightened your view concerning certain issues? You need to read my first post in this series.

On August 12, the International Youth Day, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and Global Citizen launched a #showyourselfie global social media campaign to urge world leaders to make the needs and rights of young people a priority in the post-2015 development agenda.

Young people were encouraged to take a selfie and post it onto Instagram or Twitter, to send a clear message to leaders that it’s time to put young people in the spotlight. Like this year’s theme to commemorate the day, “Youth and Mental Health,” this campaign was not exactly exciting to me. This excerpt from a post by Mail & Guardian Africa may help convey my sentiment at the time:

If Africa’s youth were to start taking selfies and loading them the impact would be tremendous, after all this is the world’s most youthful continent with approximately 65% of the total population below the ages of 35 years, and 35% between the ages of 15 and 35 years. This huge number puts Africa at the centre of international youth day, and yet they would probably be the least likely to join this feel-good #showyourselfie campaign. This is because Africa’s youth are experiencing huge challenges in employment, education, access to capital and health services – which are particularly pronounced in rural areas. While some of the global youth are preoccupied with perfecting the pout to load onto social media, Africans are busy trying to get an education, a job, avoiding illnesses and being used as political pawns or conscripts in armed struggles...Policies are clearly needed to address Africa’s youth bulge—perhaps engaging them in activities with more tangible gains in money, sex and jobs - rather than a hash-tag campaign – would be better for next year.

So, I sought to ask some young people in Nigeria, Africa’s biggest economy and country by population, what matters most to them. Thankfully, I got sincere replies! I thought of summarising their thoughts but later decided that may not suffice. Here are some of the true life thoughts of real people from the youngest continent of the world:

“What matters most to us are economic opportunities, improvement of education sector to increase chances of getting a good job, and boosting entrepreneurship.”

“I think the youth in Nigeria are underutilized. They are not properly engaged in areas that will better their life and the country at large. The youth are not given the right opportunity to discover their potentials. We are tired of being the leaders of tomorrow that will never come.”

“I want to see a change in the way our leaders take decisions. I want to see a change in the way our leaders carry out their duties-without excessively spending the resources of the state. I want to see a society where our common citizens become more concerned about the issues related to governance rather than just sit back and complain. I want to see a society where people have respect for the natural environment, a society where all men would have access to all resources whether rich or poor.”

“I think what matters to the youth in Nigeria is recognition. Nigerian youth are not recognized for their works and they are not well paid. We need the attention of the government, we need the government to provide more job opportunities and also provide a platform for us to showcase our talents.”

“Empowerment, curbing youth restiveness by providing jobs via vocational and entrepreneurship development.”

“Good technical education that will create jobs.”

“I think what matters most to youth are technology and creative works. We are now in the days of youth using technology to solve the nation’s problem, be it economy, health, education and so on. Creative jobs like photography, fashion designing, shoe making, etc.

“Health and mental wellness!”

“The deteriorating state of our education system is my greatest concern. So much is being said but nothing serious has been done to change the situation. Without a quality, functional, effective and up-to-date education, we have no future. Investment in education should not only be targeted towards physical infrastructures only. Effort should be made to develop the capacity of educators in modern methods of teaching and learning. Design thinking and entrepreneurial learning should be integrated into teachers' training institutes. And schools should upgrade their programmes to reflect current realities. So much needs to be done. And I look forward to a moment when we would all come together to collaborate in order to outline these challenges and proffer real solutions to them. Thanks.”

“Thank you for this opportunity. I wish all youth around the globe a happy youth day. The youth in Nigeria, need adequate mentoring to help foster a healthy and balanced personality and employment opportunities which includes holiday jobs. Most times, the youth face the challenge of living their dream because they are deprived of the opportunity to develop their soft skill to equip them for their future. I do hope the youth of today can live to become the intellectual sound leaders of tomorrow.”

“We need proper internship/grooming. Every organisation and ministry must be mandated to take in students for internship. Every course must provide room for internship and students allowed to choose their preferred path.”

“I am worried about the poor mental attitudes towards positive developments and inability to say no to crime.”

“Issues of concern that need to be addressed like the challenges of insecurity and joblessness, juvenile delinquencies as a result of idleness, loss of trust in the standard of education and governing bodies.”

“I look forward to a society where the youth (the future of a society) is courageous enough to shun all form of mediocre and immoral lifestyle, are respected and allowed to make opinion & contribution in this society, the older folks being fully supportive playing only supervisory/advisory role not interfering roles.”

“A non-discriminatory society with abundance of opportunities to inspire us!”

“What matters most to the Nigerian youth is access to proper health, education and opportunities to utilize their skills.”

There you have it! So to you-what matters most to youth in your country?

P.S.: I should have a concluding post. Yes, wait for it! :)

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