As we mark Africa Youth Day remember:-
Time – 2015 is important because it provides us with a chance to take charge of the process of steering our communities towards sustainability through the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).We can and should be remembered as the generation that moved Africa and the World to a higher level of development. Now is the time to use our energy and vitality to create real change through implementing these goals.
Role – the role we play is central to the implementation of the SDGs. Governments and the development community at large know how much power the youth have. Our voice and action count. Already this year young people have created change through active involvement in the development and adoption of the SDGs. The momentum must continue. ‘What can I do?’ is the question that every young person should be asking themselves. Which of the 17 goals are you passionate about? Passion is everything because even when everything else fails you’ll still wake up and do what you are passionate about. How can you bring that goal into action into your local community? It begins where you are, with what you have and with the people surrounding you. Any action, no matter how small, counts. Many small actions together create an unstoppable force. Do what you can where you are. If you are not sure where or how to begin then seek help – contact young people active in your community, community leaders and youth organizations like NAYD http://nayd.org/.
Collaboration – young people must come together in meaningful partnerships to implement the SDGs. Our diversity of skills, interests and strengths lie at the base of these partnerships. Many young people are already doing great work in their communities. We must come together at local, regional, national, continental and the global level – not in the traditional paternalistic approach based on aid but through more equal and meaningful partnerships – Nigeria and Norway, sharing ideas on agribusiness, Ireland and Ivory Coast on Solar Power…we need to connect globally for mutual benefit and positive change in the community.
Accountability – as implementation of the SDGs begins there will be movement of resources towards the community. These resources must reach the intended people or projects. We need to be vigilant, to constantly check these resources are made available for their intended purpose. We must also remember to measure, monitor and report the progress of the 17 goals and 169 targets.
As we stand up as young people on Africa Youth Day, reflect on how you would like to be remembered by future generations. If you truly want to see change then make a personal commitment now to implement the SDGs in your local communities.
Happy Youth Day from the NAYD Team.