By Charles Nonde, Public Information Assistant, UNIC Lusaka
International Youth Day (IYD) is observed annually on August 12th. It is meant as an opportunity for governments and other stakeholders to draw attention to issues that concern youth worldwide. During IYD, concerts, workshops, cultural events, and meetings involving national and local government officials and youth organizations take place around the world.
IYD was designated by the United Nations in 1999 with the adoption of Resolution 54/120. International Youth Day’s Slogan for 2014 was Youth and Mental Health. For 2015, it was Youth and Civic Engagement. The theme of the 2016 International Youth Day was “The Road to 2030: Eradicating Poverty and Achieving Sustainable Consumption and Production.” For 2017, the theme of IYD is “Youth Building Peace”. The theme for IYD 2018 was “Safe Spaces for Youth”.
Against this background, youth from various backgrounds in Zambia converged at the Mulungushi International Conference Centre in Lusaka on August 13, 2019to discuss various issues affecting the youth in the country and find solutions to address these challenges.
The youth where joined by representatives from the United Nations in Zambia headed by Dr. George Okech who as Resident Coordinator, a.i, Hon. Emmanuel Mulenga, MP, Minister of Youth, Sport and Child Development who was Guest of Honour as well as representatives from the Ministry of Gender, Ministry of General Education and various youth groups.
In his goodwill message, Dr. Okech noted that the 2019 theme calls on all to think about education and ensure its transformation so that it could positively impact young people everywhere. He quoted the UN Secretary General Mr. Antonio Guterres’ message on the 2019 International Youth Day “We are facing a learning crisis.
Too often, schools are not equipping young people with the skills they need to navigate the technological revolution. Students need not just to learn, but to learn how to learn.”
Dr. Okech commended the Government of the Republic of Zambia for its unwavering commitment to improving the lives of young people in the country. He noted that the Government’s support had contributed to enhanced awareness of the importance of transforming education at individual, community and national levels.
The Minister said that government recognized the importance of education as a cornerstone of development for every nation. “Education takes centre stage in government programmes including Vision 2030 and the Seventh National Development Plan,” Mr. Mulenga said. Furthermore, he highlighted that the high rates of youth unemployment were a mismatch between industrial demands and skills training.
As part of the commemoration, multi-sectoral youth-led panel discussions were held. The first one tackled the theme “Transforming Education for a Brighter Future of Work using ICT and Innovation for the Youth” with panelists being representatives from the Ministry of General Education, Copperbelt University and an organization called i-School.
The other multi-sectoral youth-led panel discussion focused on the theme “How can Transforming Education help us to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC) for the Youth” with discussants from Friends of Inmates Zambia, University of Zambia, Copperose Zambia and Good Neighbors International Zambia.
The last presentation tackled the theme “Transforming Education in the Context of Migration” with panelists from Mansa General Hospital, Ministry of General Education, National Qualifications Authority and the Ministry of Higher Education.
at the close of the meeting Francyc K.M. Bwalya a youth representative thanked Government and its cooperating partners for recognizing the contribution by the youth make in the development of Zambia.
She also made an appeal that youth should be given an equal opportunity to help develop the country by providing quality education that is responsive to 21stcentury needs and one that will help the youth not depend on getting jobs but be able to be self employed with equal access and favorable condition in market for the to develop and move the country forward.
Read the Youth Communique here