By Martha Nghambi
August 11, 2020, TANZANIA—Global Peace Foundation (GPF) Tanzania in collaboration with Africa-Asia Youth Foundation Tanzania Chapter, Youth of United Nations Association of Tanzania, Global Network of Religion and Children - GNRC, African Youth Transformation - AYT, International Youth Foundation - IYF, Tanzania Youth Vision Association - TYVA, Salama Foundation, Youth for Change Tanzania and Africa Youth Adolescent Network - AfriYAN, jointly commemorated International Youth Day 2020 by convening a virtual conference and public youth dialogue with the theme “Youth Engagements in achieving global goals.” The session was attended by 87 youths from different backgrounds living in Tanzania, Kenya, and India and focused on Youth civic participation, economic empowerment, health, education, and peacebuilding.
"International Youth Day is an important day to reflect on youth achievements, spotlight challenges and amplify youth voices which will help address challenges and create a favorable environment for youths,” said Ms. Petrider Paul, a Member of Advisory Council in the African Union Youth Envoy Office. “I commend you all to use this platform effectively so that together we come up with tangible resolutions as way forward if our efforts on changes we want to see.”
The United Nations General Assembly endorsed the recommendation made by The World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youths in 1999 to make August 12 International Youth Day. Every year, this holiday is an opportunity to celebrate and feature young peoples’ voices, actions, and initiatives, as well as their meaningful, universal, and equitable engagement. The commemoration takes the form of a podcast-style discussion that is hosted by Youth for Youth, together with independently organized commemorations around the world that recognize the importance of youth participation in political, economic, and social life and processes.
The theme of International Youth Day 2020, “Youth Engagement for Global Action” seeks to highlight the ways in which the engagement of young people at the local, national and global levels is enriching national and multilateral institutions and processes, as well as draw lessons on how their representation and engagement in formal institutional politics can be significantly enhanced.
The forum strived to stimulate the positivity of youth to gain more courage and rethink new strategies to move forward after the pandemic. This opportunity for youth to share experiences and ideas that are transformative and address social challenges amid the COVID-19 pandemic is a reflection of the important role youth play in sustainable development around the world.
Mr. Acho Gerald Anji, Director of Arigato International, joined the discussion and shared his experience working on empowering youth to become peace ambassadors through intensive training in Nairobi saying, “We cannot be given opportunities because we are young people. We need to be competitive, have the determination to bring change, and have a passion to make a transformation in our communities. Let’s build our capacities and go for opportunities.”
With many countries going through election season, leaders encouraged the active participation of youth and citizens to advocate for peaceful activism. “We young people have the power to decide whether we want peace or violence. In most circumstances, general elections trigger political instabilities and threaten peace in some countries,” said Mr. Kala Jeremiah, a youth activist, and music artist. “Let's champion peace during this period of the general election. As an artist, I will use my influence to promote peace so that we pass through this process peacefully.”