The program to commemorate the International day of the youth (12/08) on the 15th of August was due to start by 10:30am but by 9:30am a few of the participants had arrived and helped to set up the venue. Resources persons from Women’s Board arrived shortly and by 10.30am we were ready to start. The opening remark was by Mrs. Edna Dafe, director of women’s board read the UN secretary General’s message. In it, Mr Ban ki Moon had implored on the youths to speak out and partner with their leaders to advance meaningful solutions. She also welcomed the guest some of who were Afara Leadership Development Programme alumnae. It is good to see them after all these years.
This was the platform to usher in the guest speaker of the day, Mrs Ayinka. She was to give a presentation on Youth as agents of social change. It was not a lengthy one but she spoke from her heart and went straight to the point. In a nutshell, it all boils down to sustainable development. Whatever decisions we are spurred on to take has to be something positive and that is tenable in our times.
By the time she was done, everyone was bristling with questions and comments. We spent the next 30 minutes asking and answering questions. The participants answered their own questions. One question, “How do we become this positive change?” led to a steamy discussion. The conclusion; we have to set good example, and make ‘the good’ attractive. We should also make a lot of positive noise in the social media to counteract all that negative noise out there. But most importantly, we need to reflect and understand why we have to act this way. It is only when we are convinced that we can transmit it to others.
Then members of Doctors Health Initiative (DHI) gave a brief presentation on the work they were doing in the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp in Yola. Services they rendered includes comprehensive medical care, distribution of relief materials and counseling. They also asked for financial aids and volunteers and got positive response. DHI is one of the NGO’s under Foundation for African Cultural Heritage (FACH). They also mentioned their plan to set up Rape Crises Centre which was met with a loud applause.
By this time, we were all geared up to take on the world so we took some time to analyze these ideas, concretize them and put them on paper. We all agreed to push our agenda under the platform of Nigerian Youth Voices. The LDP Alumni were recognized and encouraged to keep up with the ideals they have pick up in the leadership development program.
The event ended with refreshment and people took time to catch up with old friends and make new ones. There were 30 participants made up of young professionals and undergraduates from University of Lagos. It was time well spent.