“Youth is happy because it has the ability to see beauty.
Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old”
– Franz Kafka
The International Youth Day (IYD) is a day celebrated every year on August 12 to commemorate the strength, determination, tenacity and fervourless of youths in making a positive change in their community and society all around the globe and to draw attention and awareness to the issues surrounding the youths such as being alienated, marginalised and being excluded by some part of society. This year’s event will be celebrated 10 August 2018 at the UN Gigiri Complex in Nairobi.
Background of INTERNATIONAL YOUTH DAY
The day was declared in 1999, in it’s adoption to resolution 54/120, when the United Nations General Assembly endorsed the recommendation made by the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth in Lisbon,1998 to make 12th August as the date to celebrate IYD.
The day is also used to promote awareness for the World Programme of Action for Youth.
IYD 2018: #SAFESPACES4YOUTH
Every year, IYD has a different theme that sets the direction, objective and message for the youths to capture and act out in the world.
Some previous themes for IYD celebrations are IYD 2017-Youth Building Peace, IYD 2016-Youth Leading Sustainability and IYD 2015-Youth Civic Engagement.
The theme for this years IYD is “Safe Spaces For Youth”.
I’m sure you are wondering, what do safe spaces mean? According to the Oxford English Dictionary, safe space is defined as “a place or environment in which a person or category of people can feel confident that they will not be exposed to discrimination, criticism, harassment, or any other emotional or physical harm.”
Why do youths need to be provided with safe spaces?
It is because youths are often marginalized, oppressed and discriminated by a society which causes them to feel powerless, unimportant and insignificant.
Therefore there is a need for space for youths to accommodate their sense of dignity, safety, and importance to be preserved. Youths are also in need of an environment where the can comfortably and freely express themselves without the fear of being violence, discrimination, or exclusion. Be it a digital space or a physical space, a safe space enables them to do all these things.
Safe spaces also promote values such as Diversity, Inclusivity, and Equality. which allows youths of different sex, race, and gender to feel respected, dignified and empowered instead of feeling unwelcomed, prejudiced or discriminated against. This allows youths to be a great contributor to the development of our community and World.
As youth are getting more technologically immersed in their lives, the inevitable exposure to politics, social and civic matter would cause safe spaces availability and accessibility of safe spaces becomes even more crucial.
WHAT CAN WE DO DURING WORLD YOUTH DAY?
According to the IYD 2018 Toolkit, there are 4 ways to celebrate IYD 2018. <https://www.un.org/development/desa/youth/wp-content/uploads/sites/21/2018/06/IYD_Toolkit_2018.pdf>
1. SPREAD THE WORD!
Engage in discussions about the importance of why youth need safe spaces, taking the opportunity to educate friends or family members on the various forms of safe spaces. You can highlight the importance of the accessibility and availability of safe spaces for youth.
Share your knowledge and information on safe spaces (you can give examples of civic, public, digital and public spaces, and use our resource package on our website). Provide an explanation of how safe spaces can contribute to the cognitive, social and emotional development of youth.
Encourage participants to explore existing and non-existent spaces in their respective communities. You can discover where safe spaces exist and identify where they are lacking in your local community. Explore different ways to make spaces safe for all youth including those from diverse backgrounds such as youth with disabilities, diverse gender identities, young women and girls, migrants and refugees etc. Youth from different backgrounds may prefer one form of space over the other; this will be an opportunity to hear their views and suggestions.
Create a ‘take-away package’ from the discussions held, and identify specific and actionable items that include the kinds of spaces that could benefit youth in your community.
2. ORGANISE AN EVENT
Small seminars, lectures or peer-to-peer debates- take the initiative to organize a roundtable discussion or organize a Focus-Group Discussion (FGD) and invite both young and old older people to stimulate inter-generational discussions. Ensure a wider geographic and gender-balance to help capture everyone’s ideas and suggestions.
Community cleanups-when youth have space for leisure they can feel happy and relaxed, but sometimes those spaces need to be created in the first place. Rather than waiting for a new space to come along, you can ask for permission to create a leisure spot for social meet-ups, sports and entertainment activities. For instance, you can mobilize a cleanup session amongst youth and turn an unused patch of land into a small football field. You can encourage youth to use recycled materials to build simple furniture like benches or mats for relaxation in the field. Be creative and have fun with the process!
Concerts, festivals and art exhibitions, or similar social activities are great ways to engage talented local people who can perform dance, music, art or poetry to promote the theme for International Youth Day 2018. You can seize the opportunity and invite a politician and respected community member to do the official opening of the event, this is one way to attract wider interest and participation.
3. ENGAGE & ADVOCATE!
Organize a speaking role for a senior politician to share their insights on the importance of safe spaces, and invite youth participants from different backgrounds – to exchange information with political representatives.
Use the platform to empower, encourage participation and engagement of various actors from the community. You can highlight the importance of availability, accessibility, and affordability of safe spaces for youth.
Reach out to the media or organize a small radio session to speak on the topic of safe spaces for youth, and how this is important to youth development.
Sharing information about the positive role of safe spaces in contributing to youth livelihoods can raise awareness and help campaign for the creation of safe spaces in the community. Highlight stories through social media such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using the hashtags: #YouthDay, #SafeSpaces4Youth
The development of any society starts from how well young men and women are raised up since they are the next generation to take over the previous generations role in leading the country and the World. On IYD and beyond, let it be a call to action for all walks of life to unite, political leader, presidents, teachers and many others to come together to bring awareness, empower and equip the future generation to bring a better world for the generation to come.
In commemoration of this celebration, as our way sharing a good cause, we are offering a 33% OFF ALL STARTER PACK in the Flexiroam Online Store with the Promo Code STAYOUNG.
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