Today Africa says the world should celebrate youths as key agents of change. In NAYD, it is a chance for me to look at sunshine, at the energy of the African youth and at the resilience of these often less educated than most, less equipped but who do go places. Like the founder of a youth group that today counts members across the globe, permit me to share a little more on how it feels to be an African youth.
For most of us who got stung by the desire-for-change mosquito, life at each moment is always a hard choice to make. Will you eat, get clothes, buy a phone, go dancing, get discouraged, or will you break away and go do what your heart tells you is right? Once you start, will you accept to go against the waves - dictatorship, corruption, climate change, gender inequality, conflicts, terrorism, to name a few, though ill-equipped and hardly being trained? Will you step ahead into the unsure world of those who dare, or will you finally do like many do, fold their hands and see things go wrong. Living in Africa and speaking loud about change can be a tough task for a young girl or boy. If you have taken that path to change Africa, then this is a good day for me to remind you that thousands of young Africans like you believe that we can stop rape, we can get better healthcare, we can say NO when we believe it is not right, and that there is nothing wrong with listening to your heart. I want to give you examples of such youths from around the continent.
Stephen Machua, 'an Emerging voice for Africa', aware of the issues with youth and leadership matters has created various platforms to help nurture youth leaders.
Tinashe Lindel Dirwai, an active member of the Power of the word (www.poweroftheword.org) a non-profit organisation that aims at giving an ear to the oppressed voice of Zimbabwean women.
Judyannet Muchiri, an 'African crusader' and change maker, believes that Africa is an equal participant in global affairs and in the power of social media to bring people together under one agenda.
NNADI Anthony Kevin has built a wealth of experience in areas like reproductive health, peer education, mentorship, advocacy and community mobilizing, strategic management and leadership and climate change.
Jean Paul Brice Affana is Head of Youth Programs of the International Association for the Advancement of Innovative Approaches to Global Challenges (IAAI) an Austrian based organization.
These young people, like myself, are moving one step at a time towards change and have already made marks in what they do. They are also volunteers working to connect thousands of African youths working for a better tomorrow through NAYD. This is a good moment to recognize their commitment, and though them, that of millions of youths across the world for change. This is how I believe we can take advantage of demography dividend- by keeping together and never giving up!
Remember that nothing good comes easy. If the world you want to live in must be a dream, make it a loud dream. For those who dare greatly, achieve it greatly. Celebrate this day, but redouble your commitment for tomorrow. A better world depends on that.