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African youth in the face of HIV and AIDS: Youth involvement matters Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by fatoki taiye timmy, Nigeria Feb 15, 2007
Health , HIV/AIDS   Opinions
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“If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make a change”-Micheal Jackson
The views that youth form the cornerstone of a nation and are particularly sensitive, energetic, active and potentially productive has been generally accepted all over the world. The prosperity and continued existence of a Nation depends on her youth, because youth in any society provides a bridge between the present and the future. Many countries that have made it today consciously invested in and mobilised their youth in cultivating the virtues of hard work, patriotism, honesty, discipline and respect for human dignity. The 1979 Nigerian constitution defines youths as people between the ages of 18 and 35 years. Even at International level it has also been difficult to agree on specific definition, but the United Nations settled down to persons of 14-25 years, while the Commonwealth of Nations youth ministers’ forum settled for 12-30 years. As for me, I will define youth as post adolescent people. Though most of us at this gathering are Nigerians, but I’ll speak in continental context, and probably global context. reason; we are all citizens of the world. Globally, the situation of young people today is characterised by extreme disparities in terms of economic, health, socio-cultural and developmental resources, which across regions, countries and localities varied enormously as far as the sun is from the earth. With more than a quarter of the world population being young people between the ages of 18-24 years Yet More than 150 million are illiterate, more than sixty six million unemployed making up nearly 40% of global unemployment. And more than 30 million dying from preventable diseases.

Overall, current opportunities for political participation are insufficient and consequently youth in many places are perceived as apathetic or disengaged. Both locally and on the Internet to make a difference in the world. It is against this background that we shall examine how far we and the society at large has prepared the youth as a social force for change, our roles, and the many challenges we are facing as young people. In the African culture (due to some reasons) for example, youth are expected to become increasingly knowledgeable about our proper sex roles and adjust to those roles in socially approved ways. We are expected to become increasingly independent of parents and other adults, culminating in economic independence, marriage and other responsibilities.. We are expected to become familiar with culturally approved ways of getting along with other people in cooperation or competition as the need arises but maintaining a certain harmony. We are expected to develop stable personal values, which are hopefully congruent with the collective values of the society as a whole.
But today, the African Youth are at a crossroad of history. We have found ourselves between hope and despair, progress and reaction, danger and opportunity, destruction and regeneration. And it seems a scenario of doom appears to outweigh that of hope. For instance in the past one decade or so, sign that are bound to deepen our fears about the future have appeared with a high level of resilience, social problems such as drug abuse, unemployment, HIV/AIDS scourge and violent crime within the civil society and its campus manifestation in form of cultism have risen to unprecedented levels. A youth sub-culture promoted by the west appears to have changed time-honoured values and cultural practices that used to provide the basis of stability and harmony. Youths have been mobilized for causes that threaten our immediate survival, not to talk of the future.

Similarly, youth have been mobilized to champion the cause of religious fundamentalism, political thuggery and ethnic chauvinism, which not only affect interpersonal relationship but also tend to call to question the very fabric of the African society. It is no doubt a threat to our survival as future leaders. Ours is a world where there’s fundamental disjuncture between the values we share and celebrate, and those of the older generations such that there is a profound fear about what the future portends. Take for example the views of youth about sexuality. The African notion of sexuality has been altered. Discourse on sexual matters is highly restrictive and consigned to the private domain. The young ones are generally shielded from open discussions of sexual matters. In most African societies, there was a high premium on virginity and chastity, which was enforced through a network of social control and myths. Parents whose daughters are known to have lost their virginity before marriage often have a sense of shame. Thus we are having a Western culture, which makes sexuality a part of celebration of freedom and liberty (Hollywood pictures). However, arising from a combination of factors such as the deepening economic crises, hardships, and exposure to Western cultural influence through the media and the dissemination of literature as well as peer groups influence, the traditional view of sexuality is undergoing rapid change. Thus we are increasingly confronted with problems of teenage pregnancy with all the social and medical problems including HIV/AIDS and other STIs associated with it.

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fatoki taiye timmy

Fatoki Taiye Timmy is a graduate of the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University Zaria. Where He was a Student union leader, advocating for a better welfare for the Nigerian students, and seeking a brighter future for the nation’s young people, especially with regards to information on how students welfare are carried out. Fatoki Taiye Timmy is a follower of young people, he has led them in various capacities including being the chairman of the Best supporters Club [De-whoops] in any Nigerian University. Since leaving the university, and serving the nation through the one year compulsory youth service scheme [NYSC], he has been involved in outreaches, trainings and program implementation in adolescent reproductive and sexual health, STIs/HIV and AIDS and integrated youth development, including entrepreneurial /skills development for youth. These have earned him skills and experiences in health and youth development project design, implementation and design.
He has been working with youth-led and youth focused organizations focusing on sexuality health, child rights [especially the girl and the differently able child] and youth development in Nigeria, using rights based approaches through advocacy, sensitization, training and policy participation and related integrated approaches. As a result of his campaign at the national level for a better deal for the Nigerian youth/child-focusing on health, youth in community development [through participation and involvement], leadership development, volunteering, civic education and the rights of the Nigerian child, he was selected to take part in capacity building for youths involved in human/child rights issues in Nigeria [2003] representing the interest of the Nigerian child, reviewing the human rights of the Nigerian child for the better , sponsored by OSIWA west Africa.
Fatoki Taiye Timmy is a two times national Essay and Arts awards winner. He was also part of the final drafting of the Nigerian Youth Policy agenda in 2004, which is a document policy that takes full responsibility for the development of the Nigerian youth. In the same year Fatoki Taiye Timmy was chosen as a supervisor of the Nigerian National Youth Exchange between the southwest and north central states of Nigeria.An experienced child/youth Rights Advocate; a former senator of the National Association of Nigerian students –NANS [Africa’s largest association], and a two time national Essay and Art Award winner, Fatoki Taiye Timmy is a member of various youth coalitions and network at the national, regional and global level. Based on his experience and good knowledge of the issues affecting the African child, He has presented papers on the challenges face by children in the third world countries and the influence of global politics at both national [at various youth fora and higher institutions of learning] and international scene, most notably at the Voices of Africa-Voices of Resistance international conference at the University of Glasgow, Scotland, and the G8 ALTERNATIVES summit held at the University of Aberdeen, also in the United Kingdom in the year 2005.He has also worked with some state’s children’s parliament to provide a better avenue for their advocacy on improving the child’s rights through better state legislation and adherence to policy formulated. With memorandum presented in two states house of assembly [Osun and Nasarawa state, Nigeria] in protection of the Nigerian child with references to various international treaties signed by the country that guarantees such rights, one state [Nasarawa state] has since signed it into a bill, while it’s in progress in Osun state.
Fatoki Taiye Timmy was a Project Supervisor for an International Youth exchange between Nigeria and the United Kingdom [Global Xchange], supported by the British Council, Voluntary Service Overseas and Life Vanguards.
Fatoki Taiye Timmy is a Program officer [Integrated youth development] Life Vanguards and the Editor Youth Alive magazine respectively. A foundation member of the of the Nigerian youth Social forum, of which one of our aims is to make sure that all Nigerian youths/child have the basic leadership training needed to become an effective leader through total youth development and participation. He is an Alumnus of the Africa Leadership forum Otta.FAtoki taiye Timmy is also Development analyst for the African Regional Initiative.

Easy Home Concepts | Sep 11th, 2014
Good post though...

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