“Young people in Somalia have paid the highest price of conflict and instability. I have witnessed the challenges first-hand, but I am confident that the determination of the youth and right investment in them will transform the country”– Ahmad Alhendawi, the United Nations Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth when he visited Somalia in 2014.
Youth in Somaliarepresent more than two-thirds of the country’s population. This is one of the largest demographic youth bulges in the world – at least by United Nationsstandards.
Youth activism and engagement can bring about important social changes that are sometimes left behind. Young people aren’t just the leaders of tomorrow – they’re making huge changes to the world around them, right now. Somalia’s youth can be part of this revolution.
They must rise up and demand – and take – leadership positions. They must not allow themselves to be bullied by the monied senior citizens who often exploit them for their selfish interests. But the youth must also register as voters in their numbers and use that to their advantage, including by supportingonly politicians with the right agenda. This way, they, the youth, will be at the forefront of championing their own agenda and take the destiny of their country into their own hands.
Those in the diaspora must look homewards and help uplift their counterparts on the ground. They can leverage on theirexperiences abroad to give back home by funding projects like schools or giving towards worthy causes that bring about peaceful integration.
The time for Somali youth to rise is now. They should agree to continue being spectators but active participants in the activities that affect their lives.
Will they rise to the occasion?