Investing in the youth, a critical need!

Toastmasters International in partnership with Girls’ Health and Education Foundation (GHEF) and ONE recently held a Leadership Training Program for the youth in Delta State, Nigeria. The training event included sessions on leadership, public speaking, and featured inspirational talks from young CEOs. During the training, #Girls Count videos were recorded by the delegates presenting them an opportunity to use their voices to advocate for girls’ education around the world. The participants received certificates from Toastmaster International at the closing of the event.

The significance of the event

Young people aged between 12 to 24 years old, make up a significant proportion of the world’s population – and while children are explicitly part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), there is little focus on youth.  Therefore, a large proportion of youth continue to grapple with poverty, inequality and human rights violations while plenty more face gender discrimination. Adolescence and early adulthood should be a time of growing possibilities, expanding abilities and nurturing skills. Instead, this demographic increasingly faces vulnerabilities and marginalisation preventing them from reaching their personal and collective potential. There is a need to protect their human rights and ensure that they have access to quality education, health care, and various opportunities to develop life skills that will enable them to be the leaders in global productivity.

With a stronger grasp of their rights, a clearer vision of what they are capable of accomplishing and ease of access to information, today’s youth have higher expectations set for them than the previous generations. Imagine what the world would be like if they received the proper tools and access to opportunities that would propel them forward in life? Investing in youth makes perfect sense.

It is critical to invest in youth as their sustainable future depends on having resilient populations. Investments have the ability to enhance not only the lives of young people but the welfare of their societies too. Youth are also an important source of inspiration for the future. After all, in just a short span of time, they will become the leaders of our societies, businesses and nations.

We are calling on all influential people to prioritise the youth in development plans, strengthen partnerships with youth-led organisations and involve this demographic in all decisions that affect them.

Emmanuel Umukoro, ONE Member, writes from Delta State, Nigeria



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