Written by Cecilia
The International Youth Day – which takes place on August 12th every year- has been set up by the United Nations (UN) in 2000. Youth is considered the time of life between childhood and adulthood (15-24 years-old). This day has different focuses and aims:
1- Bringing youth issues and needs to the attention of the international community.
2- Celebrating the potential of youth as active participants in today’s global society.
3- Stress on the rights of young people to have full access to education, adequate healthcare, employment opportunities, financial services and full participation in civil life.
4- Shaping the youth not just as passive beneficiaries of development efforts but as a force for positive social change.
5- Calling attention on the limited opportunities for youth engagement in many areas of the society.
Especially in a moment of economic uncertainty, it is important that the international community not only pays attention to the issues and needs that young people experience nowadays, but also that countries recognise the potential of the youth in terms of innovation, creativity, energy and foresight. Young people are those people who will manage the future and they must be given the possibility to learn and grow.
Last year’s International Youth Day theme was “Youth and Mental Health”, while this year it will be “Youth Civic Engagement”. Attention is being drawn to a given set of cultural, social and legal issues affecting youth and the international community is invited to both take an action to help them overcome the challenge they face and involving them in the decision-making processes. The engagement and participation of youth in society is considered to be essential to achieving sustainable human development, positive social change and peace. Nevertheless, the opportunity for youth to engage politically, economically and socially are often low or non-existent. The International Youth Day is also an awareness-raising day where attention is called on the need to empower young people who will be managing the future of the world. The International Youth Day is a pivotal moment for action, both for youth and for countries. During this occasion, workshops, concerts, cultural events and meeting are held in order to engage the youth in conversations with their local, national and international leaders and to open up a space for young people to share their message and their stories/ideas on civic engagement activities. The International Youth Day is an occasion for young people to raise their voices and this years’ theme in particular – youth civic engagement – is about the youth taking action!
Link Ethiopia’s aim is to change lives through education. If young people have access to education, they will even be more aware of their rights, more active within their communities and in the global system. Throughout the Sponsorship Programme every year more children are given the possibility to attend school and become more engaged community members and more active world citizens. One of many projects made possible by the Child Sponsorship Programme has been the construction of a New Library for Arbatu Ensesa School in Gondar. Child sponsorship isn’t only about supporting one child’s education, it rather helps to foster a stronger, more aware and more inquisitive group of people that one day will take active part in the community and in the broader national and global system.
Link Ethiopia School Linking Programme is another important initiative that aims at creating a more aware and engaged body of young people. This project aim to promote:
1- Cultural awareness, awareness of diversity and shared aims and ambitions between UK and Ethiopian pupils and teachers.
2- Racial Harmony.
3- Exchange of ideas and thoughts about important issues such as HIV prevention or climate change.
4- Global awareness and empathy.
5- Respect of other cultures through an exchange of traditions and experiences.
On this occasion, we want to highlight Link Ethiopia’s work, that, through the promotion of equal access to quality education, cultural exchange and respect of diversity, actively participates in the mission celebrated during the International Youth Day 2015, namely the one of creating a youth which is more engaged in civil society.