By: Edna Ninsiima
To begin Day 2 of the East Africa Youth Summit was Miss Earth, Rwanda presenting on The Role of Youth in Environmental Protection, Climate Justice and Social Economic Rights. Miss Uwase Honorine Hirwa speaks passionately about climate change and the environment. Citing her country Rwanda, Uwase challenged the youth present to innovate towards recyclable products and maintain responsibility in garbage disposal. It was unanimously agreed that both communities and policies need to work together to protect the environment.
Two of the breakaway sessions on Sexual Reproductive Health Rights and Adaptive Leadership were participatory with youths getting into groups to share and discuss experiences and knowledge. Imali Ngusale of DSW Tanzania showed a video of a 5 year old mother which triggered stories and frustrations about child/teenage pregnancies. Imali encouraged the youth, especially parents to teach their children and those in their communities their Sexual Reproductive Health Rights to encourage dialogue and avail solutions in the event that these rights are threatened or violated. She also tasked youth to hold leaders accountable for their actions; in reference to development being given priority at the expense of health. “We must make our leaders realize that without a healthy nation, there’s no human resource and so development cannot happen,” she added. Adaptive Leadership emphasized dealing with consequential changes which involves risk taking and experimenting.
The afternoon panel discussion on Youth and Global Sustainable Development Goals – Opportunities and Challenges had Taye Balogun with the quote of the day on youth contribution to the SDGs: “Talk is cheap, what have you done about it?” Attendants later discussed and presented action points including:
- Nurturing talent.
- Building an education system that prepares students to meet the requirements of the job market.
- Providing free legal aid to communities and individuals who cannot afford legal fees.
- Providing training sessions for the youth on participating in and effecting social justice.
- Fostering integration in communities by supporting sports and the arts.
- Sensitizing communities on self-reliance in terms of economic survival.
- Youth taking up responsibility for creating awareness.
- Increasing platforms available for the youth to access information on health.
- Adding books to the community libraries.
- Implementation of policies on gender equality.
Photos by: Fahad Fuad