It was an awesome experience celebrating the 2018 International Youth Day at the Conference organized by Strategy for Mentoring Initiative & Leadership Empowerment partnered with United Nations Information Centre. The Conference which kicked held Saturday 11th August 2018 featured young speakers from various fields ranging from technology, health, politics, finance, etc. in attendance was motivating, inspiring and as well captivating to our youths that made it day to be at the event. Representing Bestspring Foundation were some of our amazing youths- Oluwatosin Amida and Olusola Aremu.
According to some our youths, the conference featured four sessions tackling different matters and doing well to enlighten and educate the youths about the theme Safe Spaces. Below is their summary of the event as reported by our delegates.
Safe Spaces Online
The first session tagged Safe Spaces Online boast of four panelists who enlightened the youths about opportunities in the tech world as well as the threats that young people face online.
As we all know that the world is now digitalized. Computers and technology coupled with the ever present internet are on the rise. The booming of social media and the promising global village which the internet promises cannot be overlooked. There lies various opportunities waiting to be harnessed by anyone who can see them.
The youths need to know about how they can maximize these opportunities to create a better future for themselves and the world as whole. They also need to know the threats, dangers and power the internet holds.
Tobi Ayeni, a female tech blogger narrated her story. I studied Banking & Finance because it was one of the courses ladies are expected to do, she said. I switched career after my degree because I discovered my passion for computer. There are so many opportunities we can leverage on. For me, I decided to harness one when I discovered my interest in tech. I started a tech blog and made my content youth friendly, she narrated.
Oluwamuyemi Orimolade, communication lead, Microsoft talked briefly about his organization. The truth is technology is growing fast. In few years now, it has been predicted that robots would take over some of our jobs. Jobs will be lost and some other jobs will be created. The future is here, it is technology. We have heard of chat box that interacts with customers in some companies.
We must flow with the direction of the world, else we will be stranded. We need to go into technology because it is the future which has come to stay. There are many things you can learn online on the internet. There are thousands of materials and websites that offer free online courses to people who care. The opportunities are there to harness for every youths, he said. He also talked about the threats youths faced on the internets – cyber security, fraud, scam etc.
Muyiwa Matuluko, a co-founder, techpoint also talked about his organization, techpoint. He encouraged the young people to go online and get materials and resources to help them grow. Internet is an innovation we can always leverage on he said.
Samson Olatunde, founder Samson Olatunde Foundation also gave the youth the 7 P’s of Digital Platform footprints. Some of which are –
Passion– Discover your passion
People – understudy the people you want to sell to
Problem – understudy their problem and know how to solve the problem
Product – what product can you make available to solve the problem
Promotion – Discover the platform for promotion
Partner – Partner with people who can become a contributor
Packaging – Packaging is key
The tech session was great for me and other youths present. I enjoyed it and gained a lot from the speakers’ experience.
Youth Involvement in the Civic Space
While Chude Jideonwo, CEO, Joy Inc, was asked, ‘how can young people take part in nation building? Nation building as it were is too big, maybe we need to break it down he said. There are many things that make up a nation – education, religion, health etc. For me, I believe everyone should do their own bit in their little space. I think we should be talking about community building it is the communities that makeup the nation, he said. At the local community, everyone should do his or her own bit without waiting for somebody else and we will have a better Nigeria. One of it is voting for the right person during election without being compromised. He adjured the youths to get their PVC and vote during elections.
Akintade “Cash” Esan briefly narrated his story and how he grew up in Ijesetedo in Lagos. He made the youth understand that irrespective of where they are coming from or their background, they can be successful. It takes purpose and determination, he said. Try to create the wealth and you will get money. Do something different and you will be paid for it.
Improving Youth Well-Being
Dr. Victor Ugo discussed mental health. Whenever mental health is mentioned, we often see it as mental illness or madness. He enlightened the youths and made them know the differences between mental health and mental illness.
He focused on depression because it’s on the rise among Nigerians. Lately, we have been hearing of suicide. He gave the youths some of the signs of depression and also made it clear that depression is different from being sad. Before you can be diagnosed of depression, you need to exhibits the symptoms every day for two weeks, he said. Some of signs of depression are – sadness, no energy, lack of interest in activities you find interesting before, too short or too long sleep, etc.
Elizabeth Williams, youth coordinator at UNFPA discussed Female Reproductive Health with the youths.
Samson Braimah, Executive Director, Crusader Against Campus Cultism and Violence Foundation narrated his ordeal as a cultist in the University. I joined cultism willingly; we rape girls, kill and take drugs.
He called out two guys who are member of his foundation.
The first guy said, I was a DJ in school. They approached me because I was popular and promised to give me the big girls. I decided to leave cultism because after 6 years in school, I remained a dropout. They wasted my life. I made up my mind to leave, he said.
The second guy was drug addict also narrated his ordeal. He is a young brilliant man who had won competitions as a secondary school student. He got in drugs after secondary and have many years of his life wasted. At some point, I started shrinking, I became forgetful and hardly remember things, he said. I made up my mind to leave drug and seeked help in the foundation. They helped me stay away from drugs.
Mr. Samson said it’s all about you mind.
There was also a video session by Boyup Foundation, a foundation that caters for boys.
Questions were asked at the end of each sessions and were answered by the speakers from their wealth of experience