By Yvonne Ndungi

Youths ‘persons aged 15 to 24 years’ constitute a formidable economic, social and political powerhouse for the future generations. They constitute 16% of the world population of about 1.8 billion. In a modern world grappling with climate change, disease, conflict and poverty, there is dire urgency to invest in the young brains. They are a pool of talent, offering possible breakthroughs in retaliations to the self-invented human cataclysm. 

Sustainable Development Goals are a global consensus, affirming the universal village commitment towards economic prosperity, greater social well-being and protecting the environment. Young people are not spectators of these development goals nor are they just beneficiaries of others efforts, they are the architects, the sculptors and the ground work engineers for their realization. Active engagement of the youths present the global society with an incentive of achieving acceleration towards the year 2030 global priorities.

At the heart throb of any policy formulation and implementation is a vital element of decision making. Majority of None Governmental Organizations are key drivers championing the SDG’s. Young people should actively be engaged in NGO’s activities to initiate the desired outcomes. The Butterfly Project in India has greatly empowered the young women in the local communities to demand for change.  

Democratic governments all around the globe allow for legislative arms. Such constitutional institutions facilitate rigorous representation of majority and minority views. Youths need to effectively utilize such platforms in local politics to adverse their concerns. Not Too Young to Run Campaign initiative sought for anyone to endorse young people’s right to vie for office. Similarly,16 year old Greta Thunberg from Sweden continues to send shock waves across the world with her fight against Climate Change in a rather unique way a movement that has left governments’ around the world in awe.

Robust economies thrive in an amicable and conducive environment. It is a pillar that anchors growth and development. UN-led peace building initiative Youth4Peace embraces young people as active players in positive and constructive change. In speech made by the Envoy of the Secretary General on the youth, in the Open Debate on Youth as Agents of Peace, Nairobi, noted that youth have portrayed mistrust in the way of governance and their exclusion in governance, social and civic life.

Youths have continued to be part of the solution rather than being part of the problem. Participating in the UN-Habitat Urban Youth Fund to actualize innovative projects has proved necessary in creating sustainable development. In Kenya, there exists capacity building and finance initiatives for the young people known as the UWEZO fund aimed at empowering the young people. 

However, there is need for young people to lead the way just as the Nobel Peace Laurent, Yousafzai Malala, an activist for girls’ social and economic empowerment demanding change by creating awareness.  Emma Watson, featured in the famous movie Harry Potter, is a role model in creating a dynamic force defined by political change and social transformation. It is time to join the discussion, educate oneself and advocate. It is in the interest of the global community to lean towards just and equitable society, prospering in the present without compromising the resources for the future.