International Youth Day is an opportunity to celebrate the determination, creativity and innovation of young people. For the second year in a row, the COVID-19 pandemic is shaping the conversation, but it is certainly not the only thing on the minds of today’s youth. This year’s theme is “Transforming Food Systems: Youth Innovation for Human and Planetary Health”. The theme recognizes that for many youths food insecurity and climate change are just as pressing as the novel coronavirus. The theme also recognizes that today’s youth are finding new ways to deal with the trials and tribulations of adolescence while helping their communities.
The United Nations General Assembly declared August 12 to be International Youth Day in 1999. The United Nations wanted to “celebrate young peoples’ views and initiatives on a global scale.” And for the last 22 years, International Youth Day has amplified young voices and nourished dialogue. It bolsters interest and engagement in social development and provides visibility to the young people who are delivering change.
Celebrating the creativity and vision of our young people is just as important today as it was in 1999. Today’s young innovators are coming up with measures to alleviate the impact of COVID-19. And alongside the pandemic, many young people recognize the need to plan for the expectation that the world’s population will increase by two billion years in the coming decades. They know that their work can and ensure that future generations aren’t unduly burdened by today’s decisions. Some of the solutions that young people are focusing on are the need for healthier food options, sustainable farming, adequate healthcare, and climate change mitigation strategies.
FINCA’s BrightLife program partners with schools in Uganda allowing students to “check-out” solar lanterns and use them at home. Just one way that FINCA is helping promote the ideals of International Youth Day.
In 2019, the theme for International Youth Day was “Transforming Education”. The UN’s conference that year aimed at “mak[ing] education more relevant, equitable and inclusive for all youth”. In 2019 and still today, FINCA partners with companies like Eneza Education to deliver on that promise. Eneza offers education services to impoverished youth in Africa through an fully online platform. Students can complete all tasks in the Eneza curriculum on a cell phone or other mobile device. Many students report that Eneza’s curriculum helped them improve their skills and earn higher grades.
FINCA understands the importance behind empowering our youth and aiding them in this journey.
Happy International Youth Day!