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Listen to the voice of the youth


Two young people from Danida Fellowship Centre’s learning programme Youth Involvement in Political and Economic Life, speak out. Young people must change things for themselves is their message.

By Arleen Pushparajah and Vibeke Quaade

Of the world’s 7.9 billion people, more than half are below 30 years old, yet their voices are often underrepresented in decision-making.

Irene Nsangi would like to change that. She is Child and Youth Development Coordinator, SOS Children’s Villages Uganda. Irene feels it is a big problem that young people do not play an active role in the decision-making processes when it comes to creating a sustainable society for the future.

It is not that the older generation’s experiences cannot be used, but rapid changes are taking place all over the world. What used to be is not necessarily what applies today and the development is happening so fast that it does not make sense not to include the youth when decisions are made, especially those that are about them, she says.

In Uganda, where Irene comes from, youth unemployment is a major problem. The official figures say 13 percent and thus the country has one of the highest youth unemployment rates in the world. For every 40,000 students that graduate from college, only 8,000 get a job, leaving  many young people to take odd jobs in the informal sector or to try to create their own jobs. The situation is very unstable and unsustainable.

The greatest challenge we have in our country is unemployment, so I am very excited to be in Denmark and to learn about different interventions we can put into place to make our youth economically active and empowered. I am passionate about seeing youth actively contributing to shaping our society and being self-reliant, she says.

Bocary Tioulenta from Mali also has a vision that young people should be more involved in creating their own lives. He is a filmmaker and through his videos he seeks to inspire other young people to take charge of their own lives.

Your life is in your hands. You are the only one who can change things for yourself, he says.

Bocary Tioulenta has been producing and broadcasting videos in his own studio Infinitee Studio for the last 10 years. His videos are intended to inspire the Malian youth to take leadership, engage in their societies and be part of the political process.

During the learning programme in Denmark, Bocary Tioulenta is working on an action plan to bring his vision to life.

The course is really helping me shape my thoughts and plans for emboldening the youth to act, he says.

Watch one of Bocary Tioulenta’s videos here.

Danida Fellowship Centre’s learning programme, Youth Involvement in Political and Economic Life, aims to enable participants to sustainably promote young women and men’s participation, influence and leadership in political and economic life with a focus on youth’s ability to influence policy making and organise themselves in a representative way. The learning programme is provided and facilitated by Tana.

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