The Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) has recently held several activities to celebrate African Youth Month. A number of dialogues with young people took place with the creation of scenarios and participants giving their feedback on a number of issues including the Coronavirus pandemic, Empowerment for 21st Century African Youth and what it means to be an African Youth, among others.
The activities, which took place on Friday, November 27, 2020, aimed at celebrating African Youth Month around Africa. During the African Youth Month, YMCAs around the continent hold appropriate programs aimed at building a better Africa for young people in their various countries.
In Liberia, the program was held under the theme, “Youth Voices, Actions, Engagement: Building a Better Africa.” A Facilitator at the dialogue, Decontee George, said the goal of the YMCA and the African Union is to champion a new Africa where young people would see themselves as integral to achieving Agenda 2063.
Agenda 2063 is the continent of Africa’s strategic framework that aims to deliver on its goal for inclusion and sustainable development and is a concrete manifestation of the the pan African drive for unity, self-determination, freedom, progress and collective prosperity pursued under Pan – Africanism and African renaissance.
Referring to a number of scenarios of violence with the most recent in Gardnersville, a Monrovia suburb, where a bus was set ablaze after a motor accident, Miss George called on the youth to avoid violence in any undertaking noting that Liberians will shortly go to the polls and whatever the outcome of the polls, Liberians should remain peaceful.
She also cautioned the youth to stop being judgemental and look at issues from a balanced perspective.
“The Liberia YMCA is interested in making young people to become leaders, We want young people to use their voices in order to make changes,” Miss George said.
On how the Corona Virus affected their lives, many of the youth said the impact of the virus affected their schooling, as well as interference in the work schedule of their parents and fear associated with the pandemic.
On how the world sees Africa, the youth said the general perception about Africa is poverty, something many of them said has a negative image of the continent and called for the application of the law and respect also for the constitution.
The dialogue was also taken to the YMCA Polytechnic, where many of the students recounted the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic on their lives and that of their families.
“My brother became ill during the pandemic and this affected our family as we were in a state of confusion,” one of the students said. Some also said their businesses were affected as they experienced huge losses.
Activities marking the African Youth Month continued on Tuesday, December 1, at the Liberia YMCA National Headquarters in Monrovia, with a gathering, where youth shared their views on a number of realities and how those issues impact their lives. Such issues included what it means to be an African youth, and how youth are treated by elders and decision-makers outside of Liberia among many other topics.
The celebration of the African Youth Month and planned activities are intended to encourage young Africans as cardinal to achieving Agenda 2063, regardless of the spaces they inhabit, through amplifying the presentation of the average young African on a continental scale.