To be or not to be involved… That’s the debate.

Avatar Pao Suárez
Inscrit le 13 février 2014
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  • Age 23

An Amnesty International Delegation of young people attending the

An Amnesty International Delegation of young people attending the "Jovenes Rumbo a Cairo + 20" Uruguay, 2013

Hello everyone, Latin America as you might know is a very violent region and delinquency is the signature to this sad issue, mafias, gangs, fiscal paradises, corruption, kidnapping, raping and forced evictions continue to frighten society towards placing new topics or fighting the ones that represent a high cost to development and security; however, great efforts are being made and huge change has already taken place. For example, the Peruvian fire-fighters department recently started putting into practice a device for animal rescue, also in Bogota, Colombia the SantaMaría Bullring was turned into a cultural place where district administration sponsors community activities, on the other hand Miss Bachelet, the current president of Chile has shown a historic political disposition to improve sexual and reproductive healthcare and good news continue to come along as the region leaders look for higher prevention standards and inclusive ways to consolidate democracy.

One of the topics that has been gradually made ​​visible in the region is the youth participation in terms of decision making and public policy designing. This is noticeable because as years have gone by, more funds have been allocated to youth led organizations. More organs of state have engaged in youth oriented initiatives and even political parties have widen their activities to give the youngest generations chances to take action in the topics they care. So there is a certain level of consensus on the “youth” topic, which has enabled devices to happen and grow through time giving more “scenario” to both children and adolescents in society, nevertheless among the discussions that this issue has generated there´s one that causes the biggest rivalry: should young people get involved in the decision making process that generates the policies made for them? Now, what are the sides of this debate? Ideas are conflicting. While some people consider that the “youth” topic threatens authority and “draws” an uncertain future. Others drive the conversation to the innovative opportunities that younger people can show in order to raise healthier and happier generations.

The first point of view I might explain it with a phrase my primary school teachers taught me. “When adults talk children remain quiet, pay attention and don’t interrupt”. However we didn’t get that kind of respect. People who stand contrary to including the younger in decision making process validate their speech by explaining that the less experience one has in life the less capable someone is to study objectively and issue and take wise choices driven by reflection. Another argument points that young people are more likely to follow “ideals”. They don’t fully understand which might lead them to talk about thing they don’t really know, in other words, for some people the youngest generations are second class citizens.

On the other side there are people who believe that the more space younger generations have to involve in the topics they are directly affected by, such as education. The more chances a country gets to solidify its democracy with innovative ideas that inspire and drive real change, for them, children and adolescents embody passion for humanitarian causes and act within the “purity” of their minds, minds that have not been “stained” with consumerism – among other “evils”- yet, and even for the more “rebel” ones listening people based on the simple fact that they have things to say is a priority because is expresses a community sense and democratic values. Also these people argue that there is no better way to teach than through the example, so, people who are respectful of other´s opinion got that lesson from practicing it not from reading (it’s a saying). Another argument from this side is that by considering issues that the youngest people have a country has more opportunities to face an issue “before it happens”, meaning that instead of responding a problem a truly preventive way to face them is to study those problems in their early stages. When they happen to the most in touch with society people.. the younger people.

As you might imagine this discussion is not a “life or death” one but it certainly generates huge controversy among the contrary sides and its definitely a national issue in the Latin American countries. Now, what can you(th) do about it? Participate with the current established mechanism! Sadly depoliticized people allow others take decisions for them, even if their necessities and priorities are completely different, which leads to , for instance protecting pharmaceutics more than patients but hey! The world changes as a consequence of the way we interact with it , sometimes we have to “swim against the river flow” until the river flow goes a little more along with our own rhythm, so if in your country YOU can participate and speak up about the issues you care about, do it!, if you can strengthen any emergent young organization just by belonging to it do it too!, I fully encourage you to, because as I´m guessing you noticed, I´m 100% pro youth. I am a young person and throughout my short life, I have seen enough to understand that children and young people not only need, but deserve opportunities to drive positive change in society. In fact, the 2014 Human Development report (UNDP) explains that young people are among the vulnerable spheres of society and urges governments to have ambitious policies that look after the youngest interests.

In case you want to read the full report here´s the link to downloading it:

Hope you like this post. Thanks very much for reading :D

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