The contribution of youth to their communities and nations is not being entirely understood or recognized.

Young people are making a difference nowadays more than we know; as activists, as leaders in community development organisations, and by their record levels of volunteerism in many parts of the world.

Although experience has shown that it’s a good case practice to rely on youth participation for the fact that it provides choices, it’s enjoyable, challenging and relates more to issues perceived as relevant by young people, young leaders nowadays find it difficult to take part in their communities’ development. This is due to the fact that their isolated actions do not reach their full potential, often due to a lack of resources, access to knowledge and information, guidance, understanding, support, and recognition of government leaders, and other decision-makers.

However, young people continue to be engaged, using their student-based organisations and striving to increase collaboration with like minded organisations to promote sustainable development proving the importance of youth-led efforts to tackle today’s problems.

Despite all, a few of today’s decision makers are investing in youth because they are convinced that it will provide the longest and most effective dividend towards meeting the goals set to reach by 2030. Most importantly, they are convinced that it will ensure that young people are given ongoing support in their role, providing them with a sense of belonging and ownership in relation to decision-making and making them feel that their participation is valued.

If we want our nations and communities to grow and prosper, then we all will have to bet on youth and their contribution.

Because they are in a position to be among the stable and long-term contributors that help guide growth for their communities. Youth represent a vast and often untapped resource for immediate and long-term community development efforts.

So if ever, now is the time to engage youth actively.

6