Most policy documents on this planet, have a component on “youth”, including youth engagement, youth unemployment. We have heard multiple times that “young people are the generation that can save the world/ are the generation of activists changing the political, economic and social context”. However, continuously young people are not taken seriously.
This is such a personal issue for me. I have time and time again been ignored in meetings where i don’t have any knowledge or experience about the work being discussed. I have had people give me their backs, showing clear disrespect. Although, i have attended meetings praising “young people for their activism”, yet I have been ignored as the “only young person” in the room. In addition, we are often shut down when discussing suggestions/ recommendations on certain issues.
I have seen a continuous system of hierarchy and experience triumph young individuals “lack of experience and knowledge”. Neither have we been involved in the participatory process of decision-making. It is unfortunate that young people have become part of data & statistics. I have seen young people who are talented and knowledgeable become entrepreneurs, innovators and drivers of development. How are we as young individuals supposed to engage in “inter-generational co-leadership” when individuals are indirectly (most times directly) not giving young people the platform to do so.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.