Every year on 12 august, International Youth Day (IYD) is celebrated with different programs & slogans. A grand celebration is organized in Unite Nations headquarters in New York as well as in other member countries.
I have been participating in IYD rally since 2005 when I learnt about IYD first time. Just as in past, I am going to participate in rally whose slogan this year is "Be seen, Be heard: Youth participation for Development". The question, however, how fruitful it is to show placards with slogans while doing nothing on issues connected with it.
As youth are icon of change, every one wants to be seen, as well as to be heard. Youth participation for development therefore is a very important point and no one can deny the fact that development without participation of youth can not be sustained.
The ultimate aim of development is to help people to be more productive which help countries to trade with other & more trade means more wealth that improve living condition of large population. Development will ensure that there is an end to poverty. Truly speaking, this development may not last long without youths' participation as this age is very productive with much more enthusiasm.
Development is a very complex and involving process. It requires balance social, economic, political policies of countries. If we project a situation of youth participation then of course we must have strong youth policies that define all relevant aspects clearly.
The situation in Nepal is quite different. In the history of the country, we have youth ministry and at present we have youth section in Education Ministry. Our national planner in the past did not recognize youths as stakeholders. Youths were only defined fond of sport among other events. The situation has immensely changed whereby the Government at least allocates 0.01% budget for 30% population. It is a great step in comparison to the past. Besides, National Planning Commission also identified youth as development stakeholder and consults with them during preparations of interim strategies. It is not known how much effective this has been but at least they identified youth as their chief concern.
There are many examples of young people who were motivated to take action and make a difference in their societies and we have to cultivate the same all over if we envision youth participation in development. We are on the way to form Constituent Assembly election, if situation favors. The major problem is that the youth between 16 and 18 of age have no voting rights. They are only considered as citizen of the country and have no role in any type of decision making. If we really want that youth voices are heard and that we get to participate in development and policy making processes, then voting rights should be given to those young people of 16 to 18 years too.
One of the easiest and most powerful ways for young population to participate in important decisions and issues is only by exercising their voting rights. Yet as things stands, we have excluded huge population who are eligible to decide important matter. If we are only seeking youth mobilization in developmental works or just interested in youth force to construct roads, and building then it is ok, but if we envision youths' participation for development then without participating and counting their voice in policy making we not going anywhere.
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Ajay Kumar Uprety
I am from Nepal. I am involved with monthly youth magazine called Y!. I loved to write on youth issues. I am also involved with youth organization YUWA(www.yuwa.org.np).
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