IRAD canvasses support for youth to maximise potential

By Chimezie Godfrey

The Initiative for Research, Innovation and Advocacy in Development (IRIAD) has called on stakeholders to allow young people maximize their potential through technical and financial support.

Princess Hamman-Obels Founder and Director, IRIAD, Princess Hamman-Obels, made the call in commemoration of the International Youth Day 2021.

She disclosed that IRAD is a youth-focused organisation, celebrated the day by engaging secondary school students on #OpenNASS and how to engage their legislators.

According to her, their other efforts to advance the rights of youth include conducting research and advocacy to promote youth political participation and representation across all elective offices.

Others are irganising free trainings for over 300 young people to promote civic awareness and political participation among youth, Educating young people on the #OpenNASS campaign in Nigeria and sensitising them on how to get involved in the legislative process, and ensuring that youth voices are represented in the constitutional review process by collating their opinions and presenting it as a memorandum to the National Assembly.

Hamman-Obels recalled that the International Youth Day was established by the UN General Assembly on 17 December 1999, following the recommendation of the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth.

She explained that the day is celebrated on 12 August every year “to bring youth issues to the attention of the international community and celebrate the potential of youth as partners in today’s global society”.

According to her, the theme of International Youth Day 2021 is “Transforming Food Systems: Youth Innovation for Human and Planetary Health”, is in recognition of the fact that without the meaningful participation of youth, societies cannot make significant gains in poverty reduction, health care, biodiversity, and sustainability, among others.

She said, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, youth innovation for human and planetary health is more important now than ever.In the Nigerian context, the issues are even more pressing.

“According to the Nigerian National Bureau of Statistics in 2020, 83 million Nigerians (40%) lived in poverty, and it is estimated that this number will increase to 90 million (45%) by 2022.

“The United Nations has also reported that Nigeria has the second highest burden of stunted children in the world, with an estimated 2 million children in Nigeria suffering from severe acute malnutrition (SAM).

“The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly exacerbated these figures, which makes it imperative to conduct urgent interventions.

“In a country where about 70% of the population are youth, it is clear that we cannot achieve the results we seek without youth participation.

“We therefore urge stakeholders across the globe to allow young people to maximise their potential by providing an enabling legal framework, building their capacity, educating and sensitising them, providing them with technical and financial support, and otherwise removing barriers to their participation.

“As we celebarate youth across the world on International Youth Day, we are hopeful that young people will be given the enabling platform they need to innovate for improved human and planetary health in Nigeria and beyond.”