Young people, the ones who can lead the change
It is said that young people are the future and we should not have any doubt about it. According to the United Nations (UN), there are 1.8 billion people between the ages of 10 and 24, being the largest generation of youth in history. With the capacity and the necessary opportunities to achieve their potential, youth can be a driving force for development and contribute to peace and security in all countries. Despite youth people have been seen as a group not very related to social change, in recent years we have had evidence that we show us the opposite.
Malala Yousafzai became a known case for achieving the youngest Nobel Peace Prize in 2014, and she was an example of survival and overcoming. When she was 15 years old, the local Taliban shot her to the head when she was going to school. Malala is known for human rights advocacy, especially for the education of women and children in her native Swat Valley in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, northwest Pakistan. Currently, at hers 21 years old, Malala is studying at Oxford University and continuing her fight for all girls’ education.
Figure 1: Malala accepting Nobel Peace Price in Olso, Norway.
Another proof of this emergence of very young activist leaders has been the Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, who in August 2018 decided to stop every Friday in protest at the lack of ambition of her country and the European Union in the face of climate change.
Figure 2: Speaking to the EU, Greta Thunberg urged European leaders to act on climate change. Retrieved from:
Young people represent 24% of the global population and if they are enough empowered, they will be able to achieve real changes. Thus, this big amount of people could not remain out of Agenda 2030. Connected to each other, young people want to and already contribute to the resilience of their communities, proposing innovative solutions, driving social progress and inspiring political change. They are also agents of change, mobilizing to advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) to improve the lives of people and the health of the planet.
In order to sum up some of the benefits between youth and SDG, the UN has established 5 aspects where youth people make the change.
- Critical thinkers: being a critical thinker involves making sense of personal experiences and asking questions about you.
- Change-makers: young people also have the power to mobilise others.
- Innovators: in addition to bringing fresh perspectives, young people often have direct knowledge of and insights into issues that are not accessible to adults.
- Communicators: young people can be partners in communicating the development agenda to their peers and communities at the local level, as well as across countries and regions.
- Leaders: when young people are empowered with the knowledge of their rights and equipped with leadership skills, they can drive change in their communities and countries.
Moreover, to promote the involvement of youth in SDG, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation created the Goalkeepers Youth Action Accelerator, a direct response to the challenges young people face in accessing sufficient and appropriate resources to meaningfully engage in development decisions and activities that affect their communities. The Accelerator will support 26 promising youth all under 35 from 22 countries, who are using data in innovative ways to address the first six SDG (poverty, hunger, health and well-being, education, gender equality, and water and sanitation).
Figure 3: Logo of Goalkeepers Youth Action Accelerator.
Moreover, Jordan is the only country in the region, which represents in this new action. Christine Goussous has been the selected person to be the voice of all young people. The project that she presented was the alternative called ‘’Dandi’’, a tool addressed to support the end of poverty and gender equality. ‘’Dandi’’ is a gamified youth-centric video app that provides youth with a platform to share their stories, ideas, initiatives, and daily routines that lead to social good through short videos to cultivate collaborative behavior change.
As the young person engages with the app, they get access to unique online and offline opportunities that they might not have access to otherwise. The goal is to build a space for such positive content to exist and reward people for the good that they do, no matter how small it is and no matter where they come from. Over time, the aim is to nurture the public confidence in community-oriented behaviors and rebuild institutions and societies trust in young people and their ability to be the change we want to see in our communities through their involvement in projects and initiative that reflect positively on their communities and cities.
Figure 4: The young activist, Christine Goussous.
So, it is a reality when we said that young people are claiming for their future. Their initiatives let them make their own space even in the higher spheres, where also, they deserve to be listened to. Hence, to defend safe spaces where youth can discuss, create and experimented their ideas is one of the actions with which can start. Supporting youth people means to bet for a better chance due to the value that they can add in development, peace, and security.
“The time is NOW. Let’s scale up action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and drive positive change for young people across the world. If we are serious about achieving our global goals, this is the generation that is going to do it!’’. (Jayathma Wickramanayake, UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth).
A, Agudo. (2019). ‘’¿Ha llegado el momento en el que los jóvenes cambian el mundo?’’. El País.
Civicus. ‘’Goalkeepers Youth Action Accelerator’’.
Lomana, G. (2018). ‘’La portentosa voz de Malala’’. El País.
Sánchez, A. (2019). ‘’ La adolescente Greta Thunberg lleva a Bruselas su rapapolvo a las élites por el clima’’. El País.
United Nations. ‘’Sustainable Development Goals’’.