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Consult Youths on Issues That Affect Them
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Consult Youths on Issues That Affect Them

Commonwealth youths say they want greater involvement in national and global decisions that affect their lives. The young people who attended the 2022 Commonwealth Youth Forum in Kigali, Rwanda last month, summarized their concerns in the Declaration by the Young People of the Commonwealth. 28-year-old Commonwealth Correspondent from Cameroon, Luchelle Feukeng caught up with Christine Odera, a Peace and Security advocate and network coordinator for The Commonwealth Youth Peace Ambassadors Network (CYPAN)  who was at the Youth Forum and discussed this and other issues with the Commonwealth youth advocate.

What are the main recommendations young people made to the heads of government at CYF 2022? 

The key recommendations were that there must be proper support – especially financial support for young people. There should also be inclusive representation of young people across the Commonwealth in decision-making processes. This includes when decision-making concerns issues that cut across different areas of development that affect youth. 

We, the Youth Forum participants compiled our recommendations to create the declaration then it was presented to the youth ministers and the Heads of Government. 

And so, taking charge of the future is quite important for us as young people because we are the ones who will be leading and implementing some of the policies that are being talked about today. We will be the individuals making sure that they are working. We will be taking charge of that process.

As the Network Coordinator of the Commonwealth Youth Peace Ambassadors Network, what has been the main contribution of your network to this 2022 Commonwealth Youth Forum? 

Peace and security are big governance issues so we are happy that this is the cause that we are championing. Many of us are familiar with situations where corruption is leading many young people to join terror groups. These are issues that we continue to face in different member countries -the push and the pull factors to violent extremism. 

We have been encouraging and facilitating conversations about these issues. Without these conversations, we won’t have peace and the lack of these said conversations will impact cohesiveness across the Commonwealth. 

 What are your messages for youths around the world? 

As young people, we should continue to take responsibility for our lives and our world. I know sometimes it’s hard. A lot of us feel like we don’t have a voice. We also shy away from advocacy because we think the world won’t receive us, the world will not accept us and that people will not listen to us but I dare every young person to speak up! 

Tell your story but also listen to the elders, listen to other people from other regions, and learn from them then let’s move collectively because this is not a personal struggle. 

We need everyone on board, we need every nation, we need every young person because this is our struggle and if we do this right the generation that is coming after us won’t have to go through the issues we are grappling with.

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Photo Credits: World Beyond War

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About the correspondent: Hi, I am Luchelle Feukeng. Journalism is my passion. My dream is to become an international journalist. I like writing on everything that is related to ICT. I want to become the queen of the web through my writings. I think a computer and little effort are enough to change the world.

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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

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