Wednesday, August 12, is International Youth Day; the date designated by the United Nations to recognize the influence young people have on society and to raise awareness of youth issues. Currently, there are over 1.8 billion young people in the world that are not only patients, clients, and beneficiaries, but providers and leaders who can contribute to a healthier future for all.
This post originally appeared on LMGforHealth.org in celebration of International Youth Day (August 12).
The current generation of 1.8 billion adolescents is the largest in history. These 1.8 billion people have a tremendous impact on all parts of the health system. Here are 10 reasons why young people can lead us to a healthier future:
Young people are best poised to advocate for their needs in creating and implementing policies and programs to ensure youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health services are free from coercion, discrimination, and violence.
Good governance is like a large elephant, Ahmed Adamu, Chairperson of the Commonwealth Youth Council, said. One person can touch the trunk, one the stomach, and one the tail, and they have had very different experiences with the elephant. Around the world, everyone has different experiences and different perceptions of good governance. With this anecdote, Adamu, a speaker at the plenary, “Achieving Good Governance and Accountability” at the 2014 World Conference on Youth, captures the challenges of defining good governance often cited in more academic terms. Though the concept of good governance is up for interpretation, there is consensus across countries, generations, and sectors that it is sorely needed. According to a consultation by Restless Development with young people in 12 countries , overall, governance is their most important issue that should be addressed in the post-2015 dialogue. And while good governance might be their most pressing concern, according to Subinay Nandy, Sri Lanka’s Resident Coordinator to the United Nations, it is young people themselves who are the most important tool international agencies can use to guarantee good governance.