Go to School, graduate and get a Job
Many years back, what was prevalent amongst the advice of our parents was that, it is important to go to school. No doubt, education is very important in order to acquire required knowledge in diverse areas and for development. We were not only encouraged to go to school but motivated and given incentives to ensure we complete. I remember my parents used to tell me the importance of education which I also discovered as I grew up. In their words…“if you go to school, after you graduate, you will get a good job”. Ofcourse, this has been the experience of so many people however, it may no longer apply in this process.
One of the buzz words which is prevalent in development is ‘entrepreneurship’. You may have also met or read about people who are proudly entrepreneurs by profession. Entrepreneurs own their own businesses and live up to the risks involved in managing businesses. How can entrepreneurs then extend these opportunities for wider societal development impact while ensuring that their entrepreneurship targets are met?
Social entrepreneurs as defined by Ashoka ‘are individual with innovative solutions to society’s most pressing social problems, it further mentioned that they are ambitious and persistent, tackling major social issues and offering new ideas for wide-scale change’. The youth make up more than 60% of the Nigerian population. Nigeria also has a large number of unemployed youth hence, the need for change in thinking and time to start getting innovative. The government makes promises in every sector for what they plan to do or provide as the case maybe however, will definitely not be able to cater for the whole population especially with the problem of good governance. Globally, there is general excitement at the discovery of a new way of doing things which demonstrates that innovation in development is crucial.
The world is yearning for social entrepreneurs who will not wait for the government of their country but step up their thinking for innovative ideas and solutions for wider societal good. So, as you go through school, while also allowing school to go through you, be open to other form of learning and ideas. This should be the thinking for today and advice to all energetic youth out there.
everybody has a little “soul singer” inside - whether you are a painter, a musician, a writer, a builder, an executive … each of us has that light inside of us to share with the world - we overcome our obstacles and triumph, and go through more struggles only to become stronger than we ever believed we could be - and it makes us a testimony to the power of the human soul!
Let the haters go and show the world what you know - knowledge isn’t just what we learn in school - it doesn’t come from a degree or a diploma alone. It’s that innate knowledge that each of us has within us. You are born with it. It fuels your passion and makes you who you are….
My name is Alexandria Forsyth. I am writing on behalf of the International Youth Initiative Program (YIP), and on the behalf of youth worldwide. After studying for a year in University, I decided I needed something more out of an education and I applied to YIP.
In the most basic sense, YIP is 40 participants aged 19 to 25, from all over the world, living and studying together for one year, exploring how to change the world through developing themselves.
YIP is primarily concerned with strengthening the capacity of young people to take an active role in fostering positive cultural, social, environmental, and economic change that will benefit all sections of society.
Acknowledging the challenges presented by the current issues presented by the time and world in which we live, the culture of YIP is one of questioning complexity, rather than seeking simple ‘quick-fix’ answers to dynamic challenges. YIP provides a space that allows its participants to stay with their questions, however uncertain and uncomfortable it may be. Instead of mandating obscure or irrelevant educational requirements, YIP challenges its participants to explore deeply those questions that interlink the human being to the greater whole.
As a YIP alumni, I believe that this is one of the most relevant and important educational programs of our time. Because of this, I am writing to you now, asking you to join me in supporting this amazing initiative. YIP is striving to be one of the world’s first crowd-funded education programs. Our goal is to raise 1 million SEK ($155,210). In order to raise this money, we want to build a community of 1000 “YIP Friends” who donate an amount of 1,000 SEK ($155) every year. We all know that times are tough, and one-time donations of any amount help us out as well! This global network of YIP-Friends will make YIP financially resilient and community-supported. Your money will cover the educational costs of the program, which under Swedish law cannot be charged to students.
As we step boldly into an unknown future full of a convergence of crises, it is clear we need to find new forms to address these challenges in innovative, dynamic, and holistic ways. YIP is an education that provides young people with the opportunity to truly find the capacities necessary within themselves, and equips them with the tools to create the sustainable change necessary, as well as the ability to continually develop new tools as circumstances demand. By becoming a YIP Friend, you are saying yes to a new form of education, where youth are given the freedom to explore these capacities and tools.
Applications are also open for YIP 2013-2014! An opportunity not to be missed.
Thank you from all of us in the YIP network,
Please go here to donate, apply, or read more about YIP!
Sometimes it hurts
To look back at pictures
Where eyes are innocent
When they glimmer like crystal balls
The future can be anything
It’s all a surprise
We were only babies.
School enters your life
Friendships made but also destroyed
Experiences with others
The first taste of the rest of our lives
But we’re still too naïve to know of hurt
Curiosity controls our life
We were still young.
Enter Junior High
Dealing with cliques
Every day the drama and lies
They cause you to question friend from foe
Our hearts hurt
We were growing up.
Enter High School
We start to form the rest of our lives
With the choices we make
And the people with whom we communicate
Sleepless nights turn into blurry days
And friendships become challenging
We are no longer young.
High school gets no better
Every day we’re more exhausted
Questioning basic things like life and belief
We learn more about ourselves
As we gain individuality and freedom
Decide who we like and who we don’t
Our childhood is but a memory.
Finally we experience
Jobs and group projects
Friendships and love
We go to sleep tired and knowing less
But we wake up more in touch with the world
We never stop challenging who we are
For we have grown up.
Imagine a society where being a teacher is equally amazing as being a doctor.
If teachers are just as much as doctors are. Imagine the quality of education in that society. Kids will strive to be a teacher and not choose careers based on predicted incomes and what their parents tell them is a ‘very good’ career. Some people today still have the attitude that ‘if nothing else goes to plan - they’ll settle and become a teacher.’ That is not an attitude you want the teachers of your children to have.
Imagine a society where teachers drive ferraris. Imagine the quality of education then.
You can always say, then people will become teachers only for the income, but if a career like teaching is regarded as as important as being a doctor then becoming a teacher will be just as hard, and then only the best people become one of the most important figures in your child’s world.
I know that there are flaws to this idea and that there are economical and political boundaries that won’t let this happen probably in my lifetime.
But just a thought.
Freedom to Decide One’s Life Path
Trust Youth for (a) Change
According to The Mo Ibrahim Foundation report titled African Youth: Fulfilling the Potential, the continental average age is 20 years old, but the average age of our African leaders is 62. Africa’s tradition of rule by the elders – some of whom, unfortunately, assert a right to govern in perpetuity presents a challenge for youth to influence their country’s leadership in some states. This disconnect due to a variety of cultural, religious and traditional beliefs, between us and our elders, hampers and makes it difficult to solve our issues together. Maybe, we are ‘threatening’ and our elders do not want our questions. How can we approach our leaders in a way that is non-threatening and amicable? One of the ways to do this, which Youth are increasingly recognising, is through meaningful intergenerational dialogue.
As a youth, I have started to question whether our leaders are listening to and including youth in policy decisions. No, I am not denying that we aren’t being consulted; instead what I experience is a once a year youth month celebration which serves as platform for input from youth, and then it is business as usual. This is not necessarily best practice inclusive decision-making. Youth groups are fragmented amongst the bigger structures of leadership and we exist as sub groups from exactly those structures that make resolutions for us. We are disjointed in almost every platform where decisions are made. How possible is it for us to push integration of youth and inclusive participation? We cannot always exist as just networks of youths or young individuals. How about a Youth Affirmative Action Policy? Is that idea too radical as well? We don’t want to be included because of our category, but because we have valuable knowledge and innovative ideas needed to bring about change.
The ideas and models that are being used for youth development are still the same as in the past, yet our priorities have shifted in many ways. Our leaders are doing the same things repeatedly, expecting different outcomes. There are examples of programmes such as Activate! Leadership and Public Innovation that capacitates youth at a local level then connect them together to reach a critical mass of action that can positively develop and drive innovation at a country level. Making us as youth relative to the conversations and structures and to push for reforms using innovative ideas and providing new approaches to the same old problems our leaders are trying to fix.
In South Africa, discourse on youth is increasingly negative. We are referred to as a ticking-time bomb. We are often told that we are disengaged. Headlines in some media describe our aggressiveness and frustration. While we are being described in our deficit over and over, there are actually youths in our communities trying their level best at changing their circumstances for themselves and those in their communities. Let us look at CNN heroes’ nominee Thulani Madondo, and many other youths like him across the continent. We have an abundance of success stories to celebrate. Our perception of ourselves and the positive change we can contribute are extremely positive. These success stories are indications that youth are ready to meaningfully participate when it comes to solving the issues that affect us the most. Is it not also an indication that Africa does have dynamic and powerful youths who can navigate through structures of power with the valuable new knowledge we have? Youth have been so instrumental in change and used social media as a tool to achieve social justice. Many examples from Tunisia’s Virtual Voices, Twestival and the Arab Spring are some of them.
There are important leaders from our past including Ashley Kriel and the youth of 1976, and we acknowledge them, but this is the youth of NOW. The awareness of struggle heroes as champions of change and the previous generation of youth who had the ability to defy large structures are still romanticised, as much as we envisage our contribution that we are about to make. We are bound to do things differently even if we consciously remember those from our histories; we seek new ways at solving our problems. We are reinventing ourselves and defining our own vision. We can learn from the past, we can learn from the previous generation, but not everything.
My proposed solution is that succession planning is made for younger leadership and that more spaces or enabling environments are created for intergenerational dialogue where youth can participate in decision-making processes. More importantly, that our leaders, governments, business, communities, trust us. Otherwise, we will never ever convince ourselves of the value we are to this continent.
Trust us for a change.
Africa’s most prized assets, Youth.
“Will you teach me in that university?”
The Cycle of Green Economy
When I first read about Green Economy, I became angry, sad and glad. I know these are mixed feelings, but that was how I felt. I imagined the extent to which the developed world is advancing. The economy the developing world is still talking about is the economy of bread and butter and the establishment of basic infrastructure. Nevertheless, I am fascinated by Green Economy because it will have an immense and profound impact in a developing country like my country Sierra Leone.
There are a lot sectors in which Green Economy will be brought into play. The energy sector in developing countries is largely untapped. The provision of electricity by government is far from adequate let alone the provision of power from the wind, the sun and natural gas. But what will have an instant investment success is recycling.
There are a lot of recyclable items in my country that go to waste. Recyclable items like metal, paper, plastic and glass are under-utilised.
A lot of trees will be saved if waste paper is recycled. Paper and paper products like card-boards, cartons and paper boxes constitute about three-fourths of the garbage content in the developing world. An investment project to collect such paper and paper products and a recycling plant to make recycled paper will be an instant hit. This investment will not only be economically viable, it will also reduce the litter in the streets, and in our neighbourhood, not to take about the reduced use of tree plants to manufacture paper
Metals that are discarded are also an unnecessary clutter in the environment. The business of scrap metals is already flourishing one. But there are a lot scrap metals that can still be collected and put to good use after recycling. Attention is only paid to big, heavy and bulky metals from times, nails and other articles and trinkets are overlooked. Collecting these metals, for recycling will be a good investment and will reduce the reliability on the extraction of ones to manufacture metals. Why should we away when such metals can be recycled?
Plastics, like paper, are other recyclable items of recyclable plastic are disposed of as garbage. A plastic recycling plant will address the waste plastic problem. The same applies to glass products. A lot of empty bottles are discarded as refuse in the environment. Recycling such glass products is a viable business.
Recycling these products will not only enhance Green Economy, but will also help cleanse our environment of garbage and filth and cut down on the pollution of streams, rivers, oceans and our planet. Recycling is one way youths will be involved in job creation.
Building a sustainable society through education
Building sustainable community wealth through adoption of the waste hierarchy model (3Rs) and Promotion of energy conservation and efficiency demonstrates social, environmental and economical responsibility. In fact, they encompass environmental benefits and provide social and economical advantages for higher institutions, schools, its student’s population, the local community and its environment. These activities would create jobs, boost food supply (saving and recovering of farmlands), raise life expectancy (e.g. improving healthy living), and guarantee a healthy future.
Jonathan has over 16 years experience of working with youth in South Africa. In 2011, he launched RealStart - a youth development programme designed to help disadvantaged young people change their lives, set their future career path and become positive roles models.
Projected industry needs
WHEN WILL I START LIVING!
the day is dawn while dusk
i cant recall ma last meal
i wish i had gone to school
but the feeding programme aint there anymore
and ave got siblings to look after.
mum and dad are no more!!
i curse where AIDS came from…
but then i cant loose hope
its all i got..hope that
things will get better
and tomorrow will provide new opportunities!
hope! hope! hope! you are all i GOT
Les enfants de la République démocratique du Congo étudiant en plein air à l’Est fuyant la guerre et sont sans soutien.
No more Politics give Us quality Education #YouthSkillsWork
ekan samu wure! (I have found the place)
“Education to me is very important, it makes someone to understand life…but for me formal education should be incorporated with vocational training, so that when one is out of school and get no government job or any work at all, one can fall back on his skills and start private business, that is if government will give needed assistance to start..”.
- Ismaila Kaduna-Nigeria 28
- “Without education you cannot go anywhere, it is the best life for me…so more schools be built in our neighbourhood…and school fees reduced or removed” – Hadiza 16yrs Kaduna-Nigeria
`ekan samu wure! Which though not the real meaning literally means I have found the place drop me here or am getting off here n Hausa language a popular language spoken in Northern part of Nigeria and some part of Africa it is a daily phrase you hear if you commute through the public transport system. That phrase seems to be the shout of African youths as regard the reality of illiteracy, we are shouting, we are tired please drop us from this carry along and non-inclusive policy on all matters that concerns young people. Whereas few people dispute youths’ right to education, few efforts are made to ensure that youths actually benefit from education services.
I have grown up to know that education does not save you from deception, even at that it is still the only way out of oppression anyway. I know no system is perfect but here at home in Africa we must stop using that as an excuse to cut off a generational consciousness, because it is only a generational consciousness powered through education that can bring about the desired impact when young people get leadership power or get into places of influence.
I once read it somewhere that we have no future without children; worst of all what kind of future we would have with children without any form of education, I have witnessed a few crises both political and tribal here in Nigeria and those that used as fighters are young people with no education. I see children that are religiously confused both Muslim and Christian and worst of all those that do not belief in anything and they are more in number and can be bought over by the highest bidder because they have no means of livelihood. They do not understand how a civilized society works; they wake-up with no life goal; football viewing centres is their homes. However all this have to change, we as young people are saying youths are more of an asset, not really beneficiary of developmental project, like it seems now.
In over 15 years of serving humanity through volunteering for youthful causes from educational outreach to psychosocial health issues among youths, am a living witness to what education at whatever level can do, and when combined with life skills training, then you are creating a generation that would do wonders. From my activeness as a volunteer I came into leadership position as the youth coordinator in 2002, representing the youth on the management board of the Red Cross society in my region, (Benue) it was in this position, that I learnt the first lesson of youth participation, that is there is no place for the youth in leadership, not because we cannot lead but because the adult that failed in their youth, are afraid of what ‘I do not know’, so for youths to earn their place at the top, they must bring innovative ideas to the table, this I did through an inert embodiment of a balance necessary to learn quickly and perform exceptionally in new, challenging environments. Adding enthusiastic desire to take any initiative and being hard working; you must learn to put them at ease, while with you. We have to be genuine, optimistic and have a confident personality, with well-developed leadership skills, and have ways to engage challenges and challenge self and others to work collaboratively and approach issues in an innovative ways; these were the virtues that earned me a place among the ‘strong and mighty at that level’. I would not have done that, if I was not priviledged to have gotten some form of education and training.
As a youth camp director for eight years (2001-2008), I saw, the desire among youths to educate themselves, but there was a weak system to help them, even when they strive to attend, instructional materials are not available, cost of education are becoming expensive, we were not discouraged, we encouraged ourselves, those that could afford it then went ahead, other took advantage of the public system education that are available though not quality enough but it was affordable, while other enrolled into various skills programme. Looking back now we have over a hundred graduate, encouraged t
To collaborate my story that we are tired, I decided to interview our present gateman Ismaila Jamiau 28 years old, and a house-made to my neighbour Hadiza Emmanuel a 16 years old girl in the quarters where I live in Kaduna state-Nigeria, currently ending a one year volunteer service, teaching in college, he has they desire to go back to school after failing to get the needed five credit from high school (secondary school) to get him to college, as I wrote this piece he has gone back to register to re-sit for his examinations, in his words “Education to me is very important, it makes someone to understand life…but for me formal education should be incorporated with vocational training, so that when one is out of school and get no government job or any work at all, one can fall back on his skills and start private business, that is if government will give needed assistance to start. Also pray man-know-man should end with our parents and politicians from our areas should also pick the challenge to give educational scholarship”
For Hadiza, she was brought from the village to stay with a family; she attends evening secondary schools that fits to her work schedule, does her chores in the morning, while her employers and their kids are away to work and school, so on their return, she heads to school, the concern is the fatigue and concentration level in school, after such a tedious work, but she feels, it is better than no education at all, at least she can read now and getting to write gradually. “….though to be honest afternoon school is not that good because them the environment is not conducive to learn mathematics…but for many people like me that cannot wake and get ready for school, unless we finish our house work, it is helping us to at least get a form of education. So I appeal to government to build more school in our neighbourhood and get us better environment.”
We are tired of relying on politics and politicians, because we only do what is popular, depend on their opinion and appear better that we are; we want to be productive, becoming better than we appear and provide substance. So the appeal is build more schools that are equipped with instructional materials, open more vocational centres and get trained and qualified personnel to train us, until then ekan samu wure!, we would not go with carry along again.