Young People as Agents of Change

Young Volunteers at a Health Fair (RISE)
Young Volunteers at a Health Fair (RISE)

By Paul Okediji

Amina Adhan Ahmed is an undergraduate, like every other university student, but with a difference. She is a passionate youth activist who believes in the fact that young individuals are agents of change. Her passions can be likened to that of many others such as Biodun Awosusi, Lily Mensah, Foluso Ajani, Florence Syevuo, etc all over the continent of Africa and beyond who believe that the younger generation of this age have what it takes to make a difference . . . or better put, to change the world.

We seem to be living in a world that is losing its sense of direction and probably heading for a black hole. Climate-wise, we keep taking actions that we know in the long run would be detrimental to the health of the planet, making it a difficult place to live in; probably the reason why we are already looking towards Mars as an alternative place of abode. Economically, things are not in a satisfactory state. Several governments are still struggling to rise from the ashes of the last major global downturn. Wars here and there, social injustice, inequalities in several aspects of life, rising unemployment and other existing issues all point to the fact that there are a lot of anomalies with our so-called leadership systems.

It is been said that young people are very open to change, as different from the grey-haired folk who claim to hold all the wisdom in the world. The World Demographics Profile for 2012 reveals that 65.9% of the world’s population are between the ages of 15 and 64. This indicates that we are the majority and we deserve to have our voices heard. It’s time we begin to assert ourselves and contribute our quota towards making the world a better place. Well, it is being said that wisdom exists in years, that is however not a reason not to do our part. Young minds are more imaginative, creative, and free of the stereotypes and restrictions that characterize the older population. We are more open to newer and more efficient ideas towards bettering the environment around us.

The point is that we are important stakeholders in our society, and the earlier we realize this, the better for us and the generations yet unborn. We have the knowledge, we possess the wit, we’ve got the intelligence. All that may be needed in addition is just a change of attitude and a desire to want to make a difference. A lot needs to be modified or totally transformed. We do not need the brains of a rocket scientist to identify what these problems are and what the best and most efficient solutions are.

Africa is making progress, albeit at a slower pace than expected. But progress is progress, whether slow or fast. Recent reports show that the millennium development goals and targets are gradually being reached. Countries like Ghana, South Africa, Ethiopia, Rwanda, etc have really made a lot of progress and having a glass half full attitude on the part of us as youths is going to go a long way in helping this progress. Whether we like it or not, the continent is going to make it to that place where we have always wanted it. The only issue is whether we will keep folding our arms, watching, or get up on our feet and contribute our quota. The choice is ours.

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