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"Team Commonwealth: resolving to stick together"
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"Team Commonwealth: resolving to stick together"

George Stanley NjorogeTeam Commonwealth is an apt theme for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, says George Stanley Njoroge, 28, a Correspondent from Nairobi in Kenya, who argues that teamwork – especially among the youth of Commonwealth countries – is the key to sustainable development and an equitable future.

This year, as the 20th edition of the Commonwealth Games continue in Glasgow Scotland, I wish to celebrate team spirit in the Commonwealth,  as captured in this year’s theme, #TeamCommonwealth

I come from Kenya, a country with rich natural and cultural heritage. One of the wonders of the modern world is the wildebeest migration, which occurs in July as herds make their passage from the Serengeti Tanzania across the River Mara into the Maasai Mara in Kenya. This river is teeming with crocodiles, but the wildebeest get through by the sheer force of numbers. They cross as one. They are a team. And that’s how they survive.

In the same country, we have lions which hunt in prides. Their synergy ensures their survival in the cycle of life. Most simbas are not as fast as their prey. As one simba chases the herd of antelopes, the other hides in the long grass, waiting to pounce, at just the right moment. They hunt as one. They are a team.

In the same country, there is a fearless community, who, like the ecosystem and animals, we share with our southern neighbor Tanzania, the Maasai. The Maasai think and move as one. Their team spirit makes even lions afraid of them. They are a people who can rescue their sheep from the mouth of a lion. They are fearless, they are team, they are one.

And therein lies the secret of how Kenya wins marathon after marathon, medal after medal from Berlin to Boston: we run as a team. This is the same understanding that Kenya brings to the Commonwealth Games. One runner sets the pace and runs at a speed that those who have not been in training with him or her cannot maintain for the long haul. Slowly but surely, his or her immediate contenders burn out. Unfortunately, most of the times, so does our pace setter. But that’s just it: he or she was taking one for the team, allowing his or her teammates to kick in on the final bend and work their magic and bag a “one two three”. We run as a team, even in individual races, even where the fame and glory may not come to one as an individual.

And that is why I celebrate this year’s theme: Team Commonwealth

This team of fifty-three is in need of more “one, two, threes”. We have spent more than enough time running our own races, races toward our own individual gain. It is time we run as a team. That’s how we can win this race to sustainable development, to a more equitable and just society, a society that all would be proud to be part of, a heritage that we can bequeath to future generations. Yes, students and youth may be the majority of the population in the Commonwealth, but due to different nations running against instead of for and with each other, as a team we have been collectively losing the future.

It is up to us to make a change. The Commonwealth is a conglomeration of peoples living in three different centuries in terms of development. This has compounded the efficacy of our collective voice in the global arena. It is up to us as students, as individuals, to make a difference, beyond the family of Commonwealth states and organizations. It is up to us to run with each other across the chilly Mara, though uncertain dangers may lie beneath the surface, to chase opportunities and pounce at the right moment and win this race. It is up to us to don our blue and gold jerseys and win this race together. It is time we changed global dialogue and action by speaking as one: in climate debates, in the post 2015 agenda, on sustainable development goals, in ensuring the future of least developing countries and small island states. It is time we deliver an international instrument enshrining student and youth rights, guaranteeing the security of our brothers and sisters across ideological divides. I laud the commendable efforts the Commonwealth Youth Sector, comprising the Commonwealth Youth Council and the various youth networks, in pushing for a stand-alone goal on youth.

It’s time we realize that our “common wealth” is not that we had a similar colonial history, but the fact that we have each other as team mates in working out a better future for all. We have much more in common than BRICS, but are we doing enough about this? Through thick and thin we must resolve to stick together and fight for each other. If I have and you don’t, we should share, and teach each other how to grow the little we have, to much. Then we will all have.

Why?

Because we are a team.

photo credit: Sum_of_Marc via photopin cc

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About me:

Keenly interested in governance, youth empowerment and leadership development, I believe I have an international and inter-generational mandate to do my part in “healing the world and making it a better place” for current and future generations.

With a degree in Communications and African Literature, I am pursuing CPA qualifications, serve as a Research Officer at the Kenya National Commission for UNESCO, and Chair the Steering Committee of the Commonwealth Students’ Association. My hobbies include reading, travelling, dancing and singing.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?

To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit:
http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/

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