Jennifer Ehidiamen: #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.”

To cap up this episode on International Youth Day (this is the seventh/final episode), here is a message from Jennifer Ehidiamen, one of the rare tenacious African youth you will meet that drives her fellow youth to lead a purposeful life. Jennifer is the founder of Rural Reporters (this platform), a news platform that reports on under-reported issues in rural Africa.

Here is Jennifer’s opinion on how young Africans can act on the theme of this year’s International Youth Day –“Youth Civic Engagement”. She shares her thought on how young people can contribute to African development through civil engagement:

 

“Young people can start by developing themselves and enhancing their skills to be better leaders and problem-solvers.

Africa has a very young population, we can also get to harness the energy this group brings to tackle different challenges by providing more opportunities for youth engagement at both local and national level. This means, older leaders at all levels should begin to see the youth as partners in development as oppose to recipient of development.

On my part, I have really been blessed with various opportunities to sharpen my skills while also learning by doing through various volunteering and work experiences over the past decade. I feel I should start thinking sustainability as well as giving back while growing of course! Along with a few other colleagues, I’m currently bootstrapping an alternative news media portal called RuralReporters  where we seek to provide young people and organisations, especially NGOs, the opportunity to maximise the power of citizen journalism to tell their own stories. The more underreported issues are profiled and published, the more rural communities are engaged to become a part of Africa’s development. I’m very optimistic that our generation has what it takes to “create” a world we want. It might take time and a lot of energy tackling hands-down challenges of previous generation. But with more collaboration and accountable leadership, we’ll get there. Let’s keep faith alive.”

 

You can connect with Jennifer on twitter via @disgeneration or follow the conversation via the hashtag #YouthDay or #YouthPower

 

Busayo Sotunde is a prolific writer with special focus on Business, Entrepreneurship, Reproductive Health and other development issues in Africa. Her articles have been published by different outlets including Investing Port and Ventures-Africa.com. She has a penchant for reading and sustainable development. Follow Busayo on Twitter @BusayomiSotunde