As a Nigerian student studying in Cardiff, learning about the Royal Commonwealth Society Wales’ values and vision for youth really resonates with me. One in particular is its keenness to support young people, through various educational and creative programmes to create a crop of innovative youths leaders across commonwealth. Back in primary school, along with other pupils in our checkered uniforms we sang loudly and proudly:
Parents listen to your children… we are the leaders of tomorrow!
Tomorrow! and give us the best education, education!
The phrase youths are the leaders of tomorrow became familiar words in my childhood; often used by older generations to encourage the younger generation. This was echoed by politicians, teachers, parents, religious leaders and even youths themselves. But soon, these motivational words began to lose the inspirational effect it was meant to have.
Lack of faith in the electoral process was evident in the low rate of youth participation and representation in politics, government and policy making. Young people were used as instruments for disrupting democracy, paid to snatch ballot box and constitute nuisance during elections. However, there has been a shift as the ‘not too young to run’ bill was passed by the National Assembly in Nigeria. The recent elections in Nigeria will go down in history as one of the few elections held in the history of the country that had credible youth participation. From insightful conversations being held on social media platforms, to the number of young registered voters/candidates, election day’s turnout and eventually the number of elected youths.
This reinstated faith in democracy and validated the potential that could be tapped and important for the Commonwealth as a positive development amongst young people in any country is a win for all.
(Image from https://www.thercs.org/youth-and-education/model-commonwealth-summits/)
Through initiatives like the Commonwealth Youth Summits, where young people from different Commonwealth countries are given the platform to discuss and share ideas, causing ripples of development that can be carried back to home nations. The Royal Commonwealth Society takes a step further from simply motivating with words, by setting objectives and thoughtfully crafted activities that not only place young people as the leaders of tomorrow, but also says tomorrow starts from now!
Keep an eye on this blog section for further details about how you can get involved.