How young people can play a role in achieving the national agenda

YAM members and young people from Lesotho

Not only are the youth the future leaders of today and tomorrow, they are also the vital spark and the most resourceful members

of the community, in recent years the youth population has sharply increased. In light of the first Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which focuses on reducing extreme poverty, youths and young people are already entering into entrepreneurship as a means to combat unemployment. The improvements that can be made is diversification of products and tailoring the supply to the demand and wants of the population.

MDG 2 seeks to achieve universal primary education, current efforts being from tutoring. Maoka CJSS recently collaborated with UB students to tutor their students.  There are programs such as Big Brother Big Sister that allow the youth maximum participation in role modelling to the younger generation. The youth can form these groups throughout Botswana and further liaise with communities that are averse to education for reasons of culture, religion or livelihood systems. Through motivational speeches they can narrate the importance of education.

MDG 3 envisions gender equality and women empowerment. Through voting women into power the youth can maximise participation and make all the difference. The ideology that beside every strong man is a strong woman needs to be assimilated to break down barriers that the man stands at the top by virtue of being man. The youth can also liaise with agencies such as Women against rape (WAR) and serve as advocates to bring about low societal tolerance for violence against women.

MDG 4 seeks to reduce child mortality. BOFWA has implemented “Abortion” into its strategic elements and it has launched a platform by which the youth can offer peer education. BOFWA further addresses MDG 5 to improve maternal health by offering services the youth can volunteer into. It is targeted at youth reproductive health in general, which is critical for maternal health because it addresses premature pregnancy. This is a serious maternal health risk.

MDG 6 aims to halt and reverse the incidence of HIV, particularly among the youth. There are already programs such as SUGA and “Ntlwa Kgolo” which seek to symbolically model behaviour to the youth as well as sensitize them through vicarious learning. Most of the actors are youth. MDG 7 seeks to ensure environmental sustainability and it starts with just being responsible enough to clean-up after oneself. The youth need re-education on basic morals and values and education on how the outlook of the environment reflects upon us as a society.

MDG 8 is targeted at developing a global partnership and almost every youth is privileged to have means that connect them to the internet. The youth could use this platform to create global partnerships that can help in developing Botswana. The Government has also started the School Connectivity Initiative to provide internet access to secondary schools; the youth can extend their volunteer services here.

In conclusion the youth’s participation in community development through the means I have expounded can help ensure Botswana meet her vision by 2016. It is upon the youth to now “do” more.