Tuesday, June 21, officially marked the end of the Commonwealth Youth Forum, a platform that highlighted the need for youth empowerment and creating connections for them, among other things. Young people received guidelines and messages that qualify them to take stock of the progress made so far, and looking forward on how to spearhead youth-led action addressing development challenges.
As the forum ended, delegates shared their key takeaways from all the sessions they attended and lessons to take back home.
Rosemary Mbabazi, Minister of Youth and Culture
We need to grow an ecosystem that builds and supports young people in entrepreneurship and job creation. The other thing is partnerships; we could not have managed all this without partners on board- we are so grateful that we have seen everyone contributing in one way or another to achieve much more.
Lucia ene lesikar, Tanzania, Director of Elevate Young Minds in The United Kingdom
There is a huge network of young people ready to change the world, and work together to find solutions to deal with complex global problems. I am super excited to work on the solutions that we have been talking about.
Jeetun Putraveer, Mauritius, Student
This forum has been a really great exposure for me in terms of activities and development that we can do for our youth to take charge of the future. During breakout sessions, we were able to discuss and implement ideas with our fellow members of the Commonwealth. We came across issues that are common, that we can work on together in the future to reduce issues facing the world.
Donat Nishyirimbere, Rwanda, National Manager at Gold Youth Development Agency
My takeaways are to act and not just talk. To change the mind-set, to empower young people, work together and build an enabling ecosystem that empowers young people, promotes inclusion and addresses all pressing issues affecting young people.
Ruth Okafor, Nigeria, Gender activist-Connected Development (CODE)
What I have been able to take out from the forum is not just accountability. We had business sustainability mentoring sections, which made me see why there is a necessity for every business, every non-government organisation to incorporate communities into making impactful solutions.
Prudence Dela Dube, Zambia, Creative expressionist and performing artist
One of my key takeaways includes the importance of diversity and inclusivity in business practice. Someone like me should be able to walk into a boardroom and share my contribution without being judged. And I think spaces like these are now being encouraged, I’m grateful to be a part of that move to find more creative people taking space in business and incorporating diversity and inclusivity in what we do.
Jordan Julius, Tanzania, Entrepreneur based in Rwanda
My key takeaway action from the forum is about leadership. With leadership and public speaking, you can tell your own story and impact young people.
Khulekani Mondo Skosana, South Africa, National Youth Development Agency
Young people are geniuses, and I have seen it with my own eyes. I think that the more we unite them, the more we have conversations, we will take this continent somewhere very far. We will take our countries far, we are fighting poverty, despondency, ignorance, and we are for a vision of Africa where a young person has been moved from apathy to economic and political power.
Trinah Nina Muhiza, Rwanda, Riviera High School
We are the future; we are leaders of today, and not leaders of tomorrow. I also learned that the solutions of the past can’t be used to solve the problems of today, we have to be part of the solution, we deserve a seat at the table and we thank the government and the Commonwealth for blessing us with the chance and opportunity for our voice to be heard.
This article originally appeared on the New Times Co and is published here for educational purpose