Ifeoma Jane Adibe-Chukwuka: #YouthDay Message on How Young Africans Can Contribute to Civic Engagement
Africa’s youth population boom means that they cannot be left behind in civic engagement because whatever decisions made matters on their future, hence the need for African youths to actively participate in civic engagement.
We spoke with young people from around the continent about the world they want, especially how young people can contribute to Africa’s development.
In this mini-series which will begin and end today as part of the International Youth Day (IYD), I will be sharing the opinion of young leaders across the African continent on the theme of this year’s International Youth Day: “Youth Civic Engagement.”
The fourth episode of this IYD series is from Ifeoma Jane Adibe-Chukwuka, the founder of AYECI Africa, a non-governmental organisation that has driven deep and sustainable engagements, making it possible for people in underserved communities, especially women.
Here is Ifeoma’s thought on how young people can contribute to Africa’s development:
About 60% of Africa’s total population comprises of young people below the age of 35- This makes Africa the most youth full continent. It is projected that by 2020, 3 out of 4 people will be on average 25 years. Our work (AYECI Africa) has strongly demonstrated that young people will either help communities thrive or contribute to their further decline. Clearly, if we are to emerge as a developed continent, we must not risk disengaging the large population of our young people. It is critical we mobilise and engage them to play a role in contributing fresh approach in driving Africa’s development agenda. In order for our young people to thrive and contribute to development, I recommend we provide them with opportunities to learn, utilise and apply modern technology, opportunities to engage in civic activities and governance process that engenders human rights, issues of gender equality and social inclusion as well as providing adequate resources and opportunities that promotes employment, job/business skill training as well as supporting environment that helps young people launch new enterprises of their own.
The creativity of young people is endless; as long as we can encourage them to release their ideas instead of quash them. Let’s face it, if young people are the future, why not let them be agents of their future and change. The onus is left on us to engage our young people or leave our development in the sole hands of an out-of-date system that has no knowledge of the changing world around us.
You can connect with Ifeoma on twitter via @ifeomaadibe or follow the conversation via the hashtag #YouthDay or #YouthPower