Myriad challenges facing youth in the contemporary world are not restricted to any one ethnic or religious group. They affect youth across the cosmos and Africa is badly affected. Today’s youth both in developed and developing world are afflicted by new challenges that require a comprehensive approach of mitigation. Let me thematically discussed them below.
Challenge #1: Identity Crisis.
The question: “Who am I?”
Many youth have no idea of who they are and why they exist. Most of them exist just because they are able to breathe. As a result, most youth have no idea of their responsibility in society; So much so that they have nothing to offer to this society.
They are not sure if that they are decision-makers and contributors to the growth and advancement of their society. Despite their high academic credentials, they are yet to comprehend their position in the society. The society needs them, it’s indeed ready for them, but the youth aren’t ready to engage it because they are unsure about whether they have this capacity or not.
Challenge #2: Confusion and ambiguity concerning moral issues.
What is wrong and right?
These youth have freedom of choice that deviates from truth. As a result they have failed to make correct choices due to lack of wisdom and knowledge about ultimate truths. Freedom implies making decisions that are ultimately right meaning nothing short of truth.
Media and globalisation has contributed much to this ambiguity since they propagrate many confusing ideas and approaches that deviate from truth. This challenges the capacity of young people to sieve these ideas and separate truth from false with regard to moral choices. How well a young person can do this depends on how firmly their foundations were built on truth –– built by and impressed upon them by their family. The family indeed is a foundation of the society. It provides a platform for young people to grow and adopt good virtues and morals that can be used as a benchmark for making right choices. It of course nurtures them to grow and be effective contributors to the society. For the family to achieve this there is need for a political community to protect and nurture the family.
Challenge #3: Sense of hopelessness.
Where am I going? What next?
Most youth have no idea of what the future holds for them. They are well educated, with good academic credentials but they lack creativity. The fact that jobs are scarce does not mean give them license to engage in criminal activities and drug abuse as a means to “survive”. People have varied talents which can, with some creativity, be utilized to earn a living and change the world.
There is need to engage them so that they can discover their inborn talents which can be made viable. Each person has a talent. Discovering the talent is one thing and utilising the talent is another. All they need is to change their perception and approach to life. They should examine their potential and make a living out of it. It’s important to engage them and inform them that education or training will help them perfect their innate talents.
Based on the gravity of these concerns, the following detailed solutions can address these challenges; These solutions are basically about, empowering the youths with practical education and information so that they can be aggressive and objective in their approach to life and general issues facing them more so those mention above.
Solution #1: Educating the Youth.
There is need to reconstruct the education system so as to minimize competition. We must reform the curriculum so as to include universally desirable values that are necessary for producing well-rounded, balanced and useful youths.
Our present educational system has trivialized religious devotion and relativized moral commitment. Therefore, the youth of today do not have the moral guidance to be able to pursue the right course when faced with a moral dilemma. The WYA Track A manual is a good source of knowledge that has immeasurable positive impact on young people. It has been tested and proven beyond doubt. Embedded with topics that enhance our understanding of human dignity, the manual reshapes the perception of young people towards life and orders their morals, reenergizes their self esteem and unlocks their minds to take up strategic positions in the family, society and subsequently change the world nationally, regionally and internationally.
Solution #2: Emphasis on the role of the family.
The role of the family should be revisited and emphasized by the state parents have to take an active role in the moral development of their children. They need to become fully involved at every stage in the child’s mental growth until he/she attains maturity. This involvement includes learning to communicate with the younger generation through their books and reading materials. A single training by WYA can work magic.
Also, there is need for constructive entertainment and personal involvement in the selection of the types of entertainment and cultural issues that conform to respect of human dignity (whether at home or outside). This is very critical and almost inevitable since there is enormous pressure on the children from outside their home to participate in undesirable activities. Through this they are able to develop an informed mind of who they are and also rediscover their talent and roles in the society.
Solution #3: Embracing the roles of organisations that promote dignity and the understanding of human person.
One such organization is the World Youth Alliance. Through their training, youth are able to develop genuine freedom, values and morals. They can also develop informed mind in challenging issues in the society. Above all, the World Youth Alliance will empower them and mentor them to have a positive attitude towards life and challenges that come with it. Slowly, they will develop the slogan: “I can change the world no matter the circumstances”.
The writer is Benjamin Masika- IRD scholar & former Intern WYA Africa.