The International Youth Day was first marked on the 12th of August in the year 2000. It is a day set aside to give opportunity for governments and other organizations to draw attention to issues affecting youth worldwide. Over the years various intervention strategies have been developed and targeted at youth although not all have been very effective. This is partly due to the fact that most interventions are made without considering the views of the youth. This year BAOBAB for Women’s Human Rights (BAOBAB) is creating a forum for young men and women to air their views thus offering them an opportunity to unlock their potentials.
BAOBAB is asking why the youth should wait to be leaders of tomorrow when they can be great leaders today. This is against the backdrop that the youth are the leaders of tomorrow. So why should the youth allow themselves to think only of the future while the present is failing them? The lack of Youth Friendly Health Services has been an issue ailing Nigeria and the rest of the developing world. This issue has played a big role in young women experiencing high maternal mortality rate, rise in teenage pregnancies and unsafe abortions everyday. Other issues to deal with are increase in unemployment, high levels of poverty, human trafficking and expensive education. The root causes of these issues need to be addressed with immediate effect to safeguard the safety of the youth and these questions will form the basis of the online discussion.
The discussion will be conducted online for a period of two weeks, from the 12th of August to 26th of August 2011. The main participants of the discussion will be youth across Africa and because the discussion will be conducted online, it will give room for as many participants as possible. This discussion is meant to provide a platform for youth to speak out about the issues they have been facing and how they intend to make things better for themselves and share the ideas that they may have in promoting equality among men and women.
There are many other issues that the youth in Nigeria and across the region face, this year BAOBAB is offering the youth a chance to air their views, comments, share their experiences, expectations, fears, struggles, strengths and above all we are giving them a chance to be among those who will make an impact by speaking out (like is going out of style) by joining the BAOBAB online discussion.
The Objectives of the online discussion include:
• Create a platform for the youth in Nigeria and around the globe to share their concerns, their views, their worries, and their struggle, through the online discussion.
• Create ways to advocate for improved access to sexual and reproductive health and right’s knowledge, information, education and services in Nigeria and the developing world.
• Create awareness on issues of human rights and the need to promote these rights
The expected outcomes of the online discussion are:
• Have more informed youth in the area of their rights as it regards the youth friendly health services.
• To have more interaction between the youth and the non governmental organizations that advocate for their rights.
• To have more organizations willing to advocate for better solutions to the issues that the youth will mention during the discussion.