3 Dec 2011

Youth Participation in Development Issues – Samuel Duru

Change, yes we can!” has become the slogan of not only a successful campaign but also a message of hope at a time of national and global crisis. Of course, change for the sake of change is not enough. The goal and direction of that change is far more important. Youth must bring their wisdom to bear on the myriad challenging social issues of today. There is a place for us in the line-up that is happening across the globe right now.

The youth are not only the leaders of tomorrow–we are also leaders of today. Youth participation in issues of local and global concern means: recognizing and nurturing the strengths, interests, and abilities of young people through the provision of real opportunities for them to become involved in decisions that affect them at individual and systemic levels.


However, providing real opportunities for young people is often easier said than done. Thus, we have to put on our thinking caps–put our creative powers to work, and start creating opportunities for ourselves and for others within our various backgrounds. I am so glad that NAYD has given us a platform to aspire, inspire, learn, and contribute meaningfully towards uplifting all humanity. Big or small–our contributions to this end can make a huge difference and help create positive change. “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” - Margaret Mead.

You may think because you are just one person, there is nothing you can possibly do that will make a difference. You may think you are too insignificant to matter. You may think you do not have enough time or money to do something worthwhile. You may think that there are powerful forces out there that control everything, and that you are too small to make an impact–you are probably right. But when you become part of a group, things change and anything is possible.

With team work, we can turn off the tide of indifference and inaction in our society. The changes that are happening in our countries and globally, call for a large number of young people to get involved and help create a new vision and put us on a new path toward positive change. That means getting active and bringing lots of other young people into the process.

We should figure out that the very fact of community and cooperation is a sine qua non for a more equitable, prosperous and sustainable future for all. With synergy, we can carry out meaningful projects which will result to positive and enduring changes that improve lives and communities around the world.

"You may never know what results come of your action, but if you do nothing there will be no result.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Get off the mat! Get involved! Be an actor, not an onlooker!