Never have the voices of young people meant as much as they do today. Greta Thunberg, Malala Yousafzai and Angeline Makore are voicing concerns which they are phasing and experiencing on a daily basis. They do not only raise awareness internationally but also creating change within their community. To achieve this, they must be given the means and the platform to meet with local authorities to provide innovative local solutions to local problems and provide change in the community.
With high unemployment rates and limited opportunities, youth in Africa are turning to drugs, prostitution and gangs to make a living but also to find a sense of belonging. This in turn has a a negative ripple effect on criminality, HIV/AIDS and unwanted pregnancies. Thus, without a platform to raise global and local awareness, find local role models and success stories, communities will continue to rely on international temporary solutions.
By providing youth with a platform to mobile themselves and create dialogue with local governments, negotiations can start to provide opportunity for skills development, support programs and legal reforms. The GVI Trust partner with local NGOs with a long experience in youth activism and assist in mentoring and supporting the process to sit down with governments to raise awareness and find locally owned solutions to local social issues.
Currently, change and power is often in the hands of traditional and religious leaders which lack awareness and understanding of the issues facing today's youth. There is therefore a need to start empower young people to feel ownership and provide modern solutions to community issues. By providing training and a platform to speak up, real change can happen and neglected communities can slowly stop relying on external, financial support.