International Youth Day is commemorated every year on 12 August. The international commemorative day seeks to draw attention to the state of youth development and it encourages young people around the world to organise activities to raise awareness about the situation of youth in their country.
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.
Enabling the engagement of youth in formal political mechanisms does increase the fairness of political processes by reducing democratic deficits, contributes to better and more sustainable policies, and also has symbolic importance that can further contribute to restore trust in public institutions, especially among youth. Moreover, the vast majority of challenges humanity currently faces, such as the COVID-19 outbreak and climate change require concerted global action and the meaningful engagement and participation of young people to be addressed effectively.
But in many parts of the world, particularly in Africa, the majority of young people feel there is a lack of meaningful engagement with the youth to address the world’s challenges.
This is the view that is shared by young people under the MenEngage Africa youth programme. But far from being apathetic and hopeless, they believe the youth have an opportunity to take action themselves and play a meaningful role to ensure that they add their voices towards making sustainable change and development take place. They share their thoughts in the multi-media products we share below.