Written by Nchimunya Hazyondo
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 the change they want to see in the country and how they can contribute positively in light of the UN’s announcement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Challenges Worldwide was among the privileged organisations to be invited to take part 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 agenda 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 a great icebreaker to introduce the concept that we were all youths with a common goal.
The next activity was themed “The Zambia we want 1”; it involved all participants visualising the change they would like to see in light of the 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 contribution to creating the Zambia they want to see and the crown of the tree represented the change they 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.
“The Zambia I want is one where there is no corruption, hunger, gender inequality, HIV/AIDS, child abuse or 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, voicing their opinions on the change they want to see in their societies in response to the SDGs.
Participants were asked to discuss the SDGs that where allocated to their table and discuss what they knew about them. The facilitator went on to explain each of 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 were then giving the opportunity to talk about the progress that their work has made towards achieving the SDG’s.
Challenges World Wide identified SDG NO. 8, 2 and 4 as the ones they were making the most impact on. Challenges Worldwide ICS Volunteers are placed in Small Medium Enterprises where they work as junior consultants and help the business grow. This work goes a long way towards SDG 8: Good jobs and economic growth.
Furthermore, Tommaso, a volunteer working with PES OIL designed a proposal on a feeding program for a Needs Care School in Ng’ombe that will be fundamental to the efforts of tackling goal 2: Zero Hunger. 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 at the moment.
In light of SDG NO. 4: Quality Education, Olivia and Nchimunya are working towards making UNESA an outstanding private university offering quality education in the east and southern African region. They are working on an operation plan that outlines how the university seeks to offer high quality education once it gets accredited by the Ministry of Education.
Later in the day, participants were given an opportunity during 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 about the work that the organizations where doing to foster 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 so that they were aware of the developmental schemes that are specifically allocated to young people. The facilitator went on to explain community power mapping, a communication tool for communicating to members of parliaments and local leaders relevant developmental issues in the community. The participants were also required to pledge commitment to taking the knowledge learned in the sessions back to their community, engage fellow young people and encourage them to play a part in the decision making of their community.
“Today, I am committing myself to doing something about the SDGs” Participants at the Youth Summit.
Challenge yourself to change your world….be the change you want to see!