Written by Nchimunya Hazyondo
Putting the “YOU” in Youth!
Held on the 25th of November 2015, at southern sun hotel, The Zambia Youth Summit witnessed about 70 youths from across the country come together and discuss about the change they want to see in the country and how they can contribute to it positively in light with the Sustainable Development Goals. Challenges World Wide was among the privileged invited organisations and was represented by five volunteers and three leaders.
After the arrival and registration of all participants, the moderators, Christina Cameron (Challenges Worldwide volunteer) and Tilvas Ngosa (restless development) briefly highlighted the proceedings for the day and introduced the facilitators and organizations that where being represented by the participants. This was followed by speeches from DFID, Restless Development and British Council representatives.
“I came to the podium running instead of walking in order to demonstrate the energy youths have. We therefore expect everyone to actively participate” Harriet Mwiinga. Restless Development Country manager.
To get the day started, the facilitators requested everyone in the conference room to move around and get to know ten people by their name and the organization they were representing. The Get to Know Me interactive session was mainly to change the atmosphere from strangers in one room to friendly youths with a common goal.
The next activity was themed ‘the Zambia we want 1’, and it involved all participants visualise their views regarding the change they would like to see in the country in light of SDGs (sustainable development goals) and ending child marriage. This was done in groups and an illustration of a tree was used. The roots represented the problems that exist in the country, the stem represented the youth’s contributive role in creating the Zambia they want to see and the tree crown represented the change they would want to see in the country. Presentations based on the illustration where made from all groups and the famous parliament clap was given after each presentation to show agreement on the change they wanted to see in the country.
“The Zambia I want is one where there is no corruption, hunger, gender inequality, HIV/AIDS, child abuse and early marriages…….in terms of early marriages, let us not just educate the females but engage the boys as well, because when females are educated, they will have the knowledge quite alright yet the potential perpetrators, boys, are left out”. Justine Mwila (Sports in Action)
An exciting video on the SDGs was played in the afternoon session of ‘The Zambia I want 2’. The video showcased both famous and regular people, voice out their opinions on the change they want to see in their societies in light with the SDGs.
Participants were asked to discuss on the SDGs that where allocated to their table and discuss what they knew on them. The facilitator went on to explain all the seventeen SDGs and the importance of youth involvement in achieving them and how it is everyone’s responsibility to enforce them. Community based organizations/ NGOs where they asked to make mention of the impact that they are already achieving in light with the SDGs.
Challenges World Wide identified SDG NO. 8,2 and 4 as they ones they were making the most impact on. Volunteers are placed in Small Medium Enterprises where they work as junior consultants and help the business grow. This is evident that they are all working in line with SDG 8 which is decent work and economic growth. Furthermore, in light with SDG NO. 2, Tommaso, a volunteer working with PES OIL designed a proposal on a feeding program for a Needs Care School in Ng’ombe. The feeding proposal is part of his company’s corporate social responsibility. The program once implemented will ensure that children are fed with a much more nutritious porridge than the one they are being fed on at the moment. In light with SDG NO. 4, Olivia and Nchimunya are working towards making UNESA an outstanding private university offering quality education in the east and southern African region. Their work involves working on an operation plan that outlines how the university seeks to offer that quality education once it gets accredited by the Ministry of Education.
The participants given an opportunity, in the Hot Seat session, to talk directly to the British High Commissioner, government representative from Ministry of Youth and Sport, DFID and UN representatives. The participants at this point learnt more of the works that the organizations where doing in fostering development in Zambia and how youth involvement was vital in all stages of developmental activities. Despite not having so much time on the hot seat session, the youths had a chance to ask questions on various issues affecting society.
The last session of the Youth Summit was themed ‘taking it to my community’. The facilitator encouraged the youth to be pioneers of the change they want to see. He also talked about the youth policies that are available in the country and challenged the participants to read them in order to be aware of the developmental schemes that specifically allocated to young people. The facilitator went on to explain the community power mapping which is a communication tool of communicating to member of parliaments and local leaders on developmental issues in the community. The participants were also required to pledge commitment to taking back to the community the lessons learnt, shared and decisions made through engagement of fellow young people in the community.
“Today, am committing myself to doing something about the SDGs” Participants at the Youth Summit.
Challenge yourself to change the world…..be the change you want to see!