Friday, 11 August 2017
INTERNATIONAL YOUTH DAY 2017 COMMEMORATIONS
“Youth Building Peace: The Role of Youth in Population, Health, Environment, Skills Development and Entrepreneurship”
The International Youth Day (IYD), celebrated on 12th August each year, was launched by the United Nations in 2000 as a means of raising awareness of issues affecting young people around the world. IYD commemorations are usually characterized by the coming together of different stakeholders including the youth, the government, youth organizations and development partners to pursue the common purpose outlined in that year’s themes. Over the years, Malawi has also taken steps to ensure the IYD is opened up as a platform for advocacy on active youth participation and on key issues affecting the youth.
This year, the International Youth Day will be commemorated under the global theme Youth Building Peace. The theme of peace is of relevance to Malawi considering the effects that internal conflicts at different levels have on society and its members. The theme also comes within the context of efforts to establish a national peace structure whose impact would permeate all society.
In addition, Malawi is a youthful nation: about 80% of its population is aged below 35 years with 75% being below 30 years old. This necessitates engagement and inclusion of youth in decision-making processes and meaningful participation in the development agenda. Malawi has recently taken steps to establish a national peace structure with youth not being left out. Participation structures have been established at national, regional and district levels, with youth integrally forming part of the same. This results from the realization that youth are usually agents of violence and their participation in the peace processes is, therefore, critical.
This year’s main IYD commemoration in Malawi will be held on 21st August, 2017 at Manika Ground in Balaka District. The Population Champion and Founder of the Beautify Malawi Trust (BEAM), Her Excellency the First Lady of Malawi, Dr. Gertrude Mutharika, will be Guest of Honour. Prior to this event, the Ministry in collaboration with the National Youth Council and other stakeholders have planned a “Youth Expo” which will take place on Saturday, 12th August, 2017 at the Kamuzu Institute for Sports starting from 08:30 am. The “Youth Expo” has been organized to provide a platform for young people to display their innovative ideas and activities. In the afternoon, young people be engaged in various sporting activities and performances. Later in mid-September, the prize presentation ceremony for the Ngwazi Zazikazi Story Competition will take place at Salima Technical College as a post-IYD event. The Ngwazi Zazikazi Story Competition is an initiative to celebrate and promote girls and women’s participation in jobs that are predominantly male dominated.
The events will be celebrated under the theme of “Youth Building Peace: The Role of Youth in Population, Health, Environment, Skills Development and Entrepreneurship”. The theme seeks to highlight the important role that young people can play in curbing rapid population growth, addressing environment issues, and efforts and challenges in the provision of skills and enterprise development among young people as catalysts for maintaining peace in Malawi.
The impact that youth can have in the pursuance of peace cannot be overemphasised. The existence of conflicts may thrive on a population that is too large for the existing resources, leading to the disruption of key processes, facilities and opportunities for health and skills development. Youth present the country with an opportunity if they choose to participate in building peaceful, progressive societies. Investing in the youth and empowering them with life skills and technical and entrepreneurial skills means that they will be able to stand assertively contend for a peaceful society that gives room for their further growth. Such youths will, resultantly, be critical for maintaining good health, population management through reduced fertility and the eco-friendly pursuit of further skills both for themselves and their communities.
The organising committee for these events invites and encourages all Malawians to participate in these commemorations. All youth and other stakeholders are also encouraged to commemorate and the International Youth Day in various forms in their respective communities.
SECRETARY FOR LABOUR, YOUTH, SPORTS AND MANPOWER DEVELOPMENT