International Youth Day is celebrated annually on 12 August to bring youth issues to the attention of the international community and to celebrate the potential of youth as active partners in the global society. The 2021 theme for the day was about transforming food systems.
The theme,“Transforming Food Systems: Youth Innovation for Human and Planetary Health”, aimed to highlight that the success of such a global effort will not be achieved without the meaningful participation of young people.
NEN celebrated International Youth Day at Thürütsüswümi village in collaboration with Thürütsüswümi Youth Collective. The program was attended by 31 community members consisting of the Village Council, Village Development Board, Church Leaders, Women Society, Students Union representatives and other community elders.
The Youth collective was formed in 2019 by a group of like-minded youths from the community with the objective of promoting sustainable livelihood and environmental conservation initiatives.
In the past two years despite the pandemic, the youth collective had continued its activities within the community by conducting biodiversity walks – documenting its biodiversity which materialised into a booklet titled “Thürütsüswümi Biodiversity – A Documentation Initiative for Conservation”. The collective initiated creative ways to engage with its community youths by organising bamboo craft demonstration and competition, disseminating the skills learned from the training organised by NEN.
The event celebrated the achievements of the Youth collective, recognising youths role in contributing towards the community’s development through innovative and creative means of engagements. It served as a platform for the youths to not only receive visible acknowledgement from village institutions but also to enlighten community members on the importance of youth inclusion for holistic growth.
The occasion presented an opportunity for the Youth Collective to further amplify their voices and raise awareness on collaborative work and support systems within the community to take up more youth-led initiatives and realize the potential of youth resources.
The booklet was formally launched by Yosanyi, Ex VDB Secretary. It received immense appreciation from the community members and motivated the youth collective to take up a second edition. Representatives from different community institutions expressed their enthusiasm to support the collective in such undertakings to add value to their work and emphasised on the importance of documentation for indigenous knowledge preservation and dissemination for younger generations.
The Youth Collective shared the desire to continue such initiative with the support of NEN and other community stakeholders and further initiate such discourses between youth, community elders and knowledge holders.
“It is a very important initiative that the Youth Collectives have taken up for the welfare of the community, something we did not envision, however, we are very glad the Youth Collectives have started and we wish and hope they will continue the initiative and request the community institutions to support the upcoming initiatives which will benefit the larger community in preserving our knowledge and rich biodiversity,” shared Rudangoyi, Village Council Chairman in the vote of thanks concluding the program.
Quote from the booklet, “Thürütsüswümi Biodiversity – A Documentation Initiative for Conservation”.
Thupukhoyi Ringa – Secretary, shares, “I’ve learned the diverse kinds of bamboo varieties and the usages of bamboo after joining the youth collective. By attending various training sessions, I’ve developed skills in making bamboo craft products which I couldn’t make earlier. Though it is a humble start, it is gratifying when my friends purchase the pen and mobile stands, it is a great motivation.”