Leave your comfort zone, UN challenges youth on political participation

Delegates during the Youth Connekt Africa Summit in Kigali in October 2018. / Photo: Sam Ngendahimana.

The United Nations has sought to highlight ways to actively engage young people in enriching national and multilateral institutions and to draw lessons on how the engagement of youth in formal institutional politics can be significantly enhanced.

This was highlighted by UN Resident Coordinator, Fode Ndiaye on Friday August 14, during a virtual event that was held under the theme ‘Youth Engagement for National and Global Action.’

 

The theme was customised to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations and continued commemoration of the 2020 International Youth Day.

 

Ndiaye said the UN75 commemoration during this week gives an opportunity to celebrate and mainstream young peoples’ voices, actions and initiatives, as well as their meaningful, universal and equitable engagement.

 

“Enabling the engagement of youth in formal political mechanisms increases the fairness of political processes by reducing democratic deficits, contributes to better and more sustainable policies, and also has symbolic importance that can further contribute to restore trust in public institutions, especially among youth,” he said.

He commended young people who are taking action to solve problems for themselves and in their communities.

“Young people have been frontline responders to the Covid-19 pandemic, mobilising across the world and particularly in Rwanda. I really want to thank you for your tremendous work; following preventive measures put in place by the Government and innovative solutions to tackle challenges for the benefit of all of us.”

The Minister of Youth and Culture, Rosemary Mbabazi appealed to young people to take action, make right choices and work hard to ensure a better future.

“Rwanda needs more young people who take action and do what is right. Take charge of your lives and create the future we want. I am glad that today we have many young people making right choices, responding to their call as they fight the Covid-19 pandemic and many more who are working hard,” she said.

She commended the UN for their partnership in empowering the youth, however, noting that despite interventions the youth are still facing challenges.

“This is not only in Rwanda and Africa but globally. With support, the world will do its best especially Governments and partners but also much is needed from the young people, your communities look up to you as solution providers.”

Gaelle Gisubizo, the Founder of Keza Game, an edutainment game that encourages positive attitudes and behaviour towards adolescent sexual reproductive health, encouraged youth to step out of their comfort zones and tap into their full potential.

“Leave your comfort zone and chase opportunities. By doing that, I have benefited from various opportunities that are available in my country and I am sure you can too,” she said.

dmbabazi@newtimesrwanda.com

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