International Youth Day is celebrated annually on August 12th to bring the importance of youth issues to the forefront of the international community and celebrate the youths as agents of change and partner in today’s global endeavours. The focus is on building a better world and instituting tangible improvements in children’s lives, laying out set priorities in fighting childhood hunger, common diseases, and providing improved access to education. The occasion encourages creative thinking with the purpose of adding value to the lives of the children, a strong purpose of environmental pollution mitigation, enhancing sustainability through use of local products and services for the purpose of preserving the youths for the next generations.
Sadly enough, these good plans towards youth development in our country (Nigeria) are currently reversed, posing serious challenges to our present younger generations. Our youths are now faced with frustration and helplessness. The situation is bizarre. While the youths in the country are encouraged to acquire education beyond elementary and secondary levels, there is a large pool of graduates with diplomas, bachelors, masters and PhD certifications who are yet to have gainful employments. The nation has not matched the growth in the education sector with corresponding job creation. A major fallout of the current situation is that parents, who sacrifice everything else to ensure that their children attain these educational goals, are not relieved in the long run. Their children continue to depend on them even after graduation, because they cannot find jobs.
The theme of International Youth Day 2021 is, “Transforming Food Systems: Youth Innovation for Human and Planetary Health”, with the aim to elaborate on all the successes of global effort which will not be achieved without the meaningful participation of young people. The best thing that we can offer youth is education, employment / jobs opportunity and capacity building through various enlightenment platforms. Look into mentorship programs and discover what we can impact on the next generation. Revive our Agricultural systems and be in charge of a healthier generation through adequate information on health care systems, management and practices. We need high patronage of made in Nigeria goods to be utilized and promoted in our home country without any fear and disparity. The unfortunate story of our own country is that the genetically modified organisms (GMOs) rejected by some other countries are highly utilized and promoted in our home country without any questioning and looking back to the harmful effects on human health. The outcry from relevant civil society organisations (CSOs) to draw the attention of the government to do the needful falls on deaf ear. The agriculture systems as earlier mentioned need to be revived but with the practice of organic farming for healthy food production and safer environment.
We call on the attention of the civil society organisations (CSO) and every citizen to help advocate for positive change for better well being of the youth.
As we celebrate this day with our youths this year (2021), the best thing that we can offer them is create job opportunities, training, sensitization, empowerment, ensure mentorship programs etc. There’s need to discover what the next generation has for positive changes; Agenda including poverty reduction; social inclusion; health care; biodiversity conservation; and climate change mitigation.
We believe the youths’ voices and quest for great feats will be considered. As we celebrate the youth today, we solicit for open governance to accommodate, create more opportunities and carry the youth together in the country’s affairs and strengthen things for the benefit of all. It is a great wake up call to arrest restiveness among the youth and bring peace to the nation. As an organisation (Healthy Life Development Initiative) we join the international organizations and everyone to celebrate all the youths worldwide especially in our own country (Nigeria). As an organisation, we will continue to educate, train, sensitize etc the younger generation for a better future.
Signed by: Dr. Mfon Utin (CEO of Healthy Life Development Initiative).