Young people - let's be the change we want to see

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A group of young people during a Life Skills training programme.
A group of young people exchanging knowledge during a Life Skills programme at a local Community Development Center in Djibouti Ville.

As the fourth industrial revolution is unfolding before our eyes, it is forever changing the way we connect and interact with each other in this hyper information era. At the same time, we are living in a world with huge social challenges for young people. As per the Human Development Report 2019, the world reached a historic milestone with 7.7 billion people, 1.8 billion of which are youth aged 10 to 24. Of this young population, 90 percent live in developing countries.This generation, the most interconnected generation ever, continues to grow rapidly, and the challenges they face are ever more daunting.

I am optimistic when I see young people committed to making our world a better place. Over the next decade and beyond, if we are to solve the most pressing issues of our time, the leaders need to tap into the dynamism of us young people. We are social entrepreneurs that have the potential to disrupt inertia and be the most creative forces for social change.

It is my vision to be part of a world where the potential of each young person is fulfilled. For this to be achieved, we must first address the widespread misconception that young people shouldn't have a say when it comes to dealing with the world's problems. It pains me to see how young people, particularly those of us living in poverty and developing countries, are treated as beneficiaries when, in fact, we often know best what is best for ourselves.

In a world where climate change wreaks havoc on our economies, societies and environment, where unemployment and inequalities are rampant and where trust in international cooperation is falling, our hope as young people must remain unmoved. We must rise to the challenges and offer solutions.

One of the best ways we can make a difference is to inspire others to join us as we seek to turn the tables. Not only should we teach other young people about important issues, but we must encourage them to teach others too. Many charities have resources to support young people who want to act and volunteer for a cause they believe in. If you can create a team to join you, by giving everyone a role as an ambassador and a change agent, you’re helping them to put their own ideas into reality and make a much wider difference.

There’s never been a greater time in history for reaching out to millions of people around the world. You’ve probably seen how a single Twitter hashtag can create massive social awareness. As young people, lets create hashtags that can go viral and create dialogue on issues that matter to us here in Djibouti and we can brainstorm solutions to it.

Platforms such as Voices of Youth give us a space to share our thoughts and get ideas from others. It enables us to amplify our voice and be part of the global narrative. These are platforms that help mobilize global support, if we are to have an impact at a global scale.

The "how" of how to empower youth to be change agents is to let us develop our own ideas- as long as they are in the range of potential social good actions. While one young person might be ready to speak out on a cause to their classmates or create an after-school club, another might produce a video to build general awareness, while another might make bracelets to sell for a cause. The action almost doesn’t matter as long as it is meaningful to young people and fosters a sense of purpose.

 

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