International Youth Day is an annual celebration on August 12, aimed at bringing issues concerning youth to the attention of the international community, as well as celebrating their Potentials as active partners in the global society.
The 2021 theme “Transforming Food Systems, Youth innovation for Human and planetary Health,” highlights the need for meaningful youth participation in socio-economy/political affairs of a country, to achieve human capital development for global successes.
International Youth Day also draws attention to cultural and legal issues surrounding the youth, in a bid to promote ways of engaging the youth in becoming actively involved in positive contributions to the development of their various societies and the World at large.
This propelled the resolution of the United Nations proclaiming August 12, as International Youth Day among its member states, hence the first observance of International Youth Day on August 12, 2000.
Although International Youth Day is celebrated on different dates by countries across the globe with different activities to create awareness on youth empowerment, the aim is universal; with emphasis on potentials of youth as partners in global growth.
In Nigeria, it is known as National Youth Day (NYD), declared by President Muhammadu Buhari in September 2000, to be celebrated annually on 1st November, with a holiday dedicated to celebrate the Nigerian youth. Hence, a National Youth Forum (NYF) is usually organised to provide a platform for youth interactions and exchange of social and cultural uniqueness.
The day is also used to celebrate the contributions of Nigerian youth to societal development, as well as highlighting issues affecting youth advancement in Nigeria, with the purpose of tackling those issues.
As part of National Youth Day, the Nigeria Youth Investment Fund (NYIF) was set up to function “as a sort of Youth Bank that will fund and support the innovative ideas, skills, talents and enterprise of the Nigerian youth.” Experts and leaders from a range of fields help to manage these funds.
There is also a Nigeria Youth Parliament, which aims at providing a platform for young people to discuss important matters related to their development, raise questions related to youth issues and provide formal youth representation.
In Bayelsa State, the prosperity administration of Senator Douye Diri has initiated several Youth development programmes; the Diri Boost, targeted at empowering Young Bayelsans to be financially independent in their businesses, Chess competition for Youth, in order to discover their talents, the quarterly On-line essay competition for undergraduates, skill acquisition programmes, sporting activities, scholarship awards amongst others, to enhance youth development, make them self reliant and to curb youth related social vices and insecurity.
The onus lies on youth to take advantage of these programmes to purposefully improve their wellbeing for positive impact on society. Government at all levels should continually enact policies and programmes to enhance the development of youth across the state and the nation at large, for the growth and prosperity of all.
Timinepere Jombo Idoko
Bayelsa State Min. of Information, Orientation and Strategy.