Report on International Youth Day Celebration by the Global Xchange (GX) Volunteers in Abuja, Nigeria

International Youth Day Celebration by the Global Xchange (GX) Volunteers in Abuja.
The International Youth Day which is celebrated on the 12th of August annually was this year marked by the Global Xchange Returned Volunteers in collaboration with the Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO Nigeria), British Council and support from National Action Committee on AIDS (NACA) and Society for Family Health (SFH) organized a three day event (from 10th – 12th August, 2007) for this years’ International Youth Day Celebration in Abuja. Global Xchange three day event had on the first day (10th of August, 2007) her summit, bringing together all the Global Xchange returned volunteers and having present, the Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO Nig) Country Director, Nesta Hatendi, British Council Director, Winnie Eley, partners of Global Xchange and other invited guest. The summit was to re-unite all returned and present volunteers, share experiences as well as discussions on the way forward for the sustainability of the programme.

The day 2 was the Community in Action for Development (CAD) where the volunteers reached out to youth who for health, economic or other reasons cannot be accessed in order to actively participate in the activities of the in international youth day. To this end, visited Wuse market (to reach out to youth who are displaced for as well as sensitized them on the IYD celebration and HIV/AIDS with IEC materials, T- shirts given out), Jabi and Abuja Children’s home orphanage homes (food items and clothings were presented) and the Kuje prisons.
The interactive session after the CAD was held at the National University Commission (NUC) virtual library, where Prof. Manny Aniegbunam (CEO Afrihub) chaired the event and articulated on the need for the youth to be educated as it is a strategy to surmounting the challenges of poverty and dependency. Mr. Ibrahim of OXFAM did a presentation on ‘The role of International Organizations in Youth Development’. He said international organizations and the government need develop programs for youth inorder to involve them in achieving the MDGs. He also mentioned that building the capacity of young people will enhance their participation and involvement in reducing HIV/AIDS.
Mr. Adams of National Youth Network on HIV/AIDS (NYNETHA) also presented a paper on ‘Youth and the Strategy for Achieving the MDGs’. He said our voices can hold our leaders on all the promises made on the MDGS, he also articulated on the need for the provision of free Education and skill acquisition programmes for young people that will keep them engaged and serve as a tool to combating poverty. The identified issues deliberated on as it affects the youth were:
Governance,Employment,Education, Political/Electoral Violence, God Fatherism, Mentoring, Niger Delta Crisis, Poverty, Health and Human Development.

The final day and the International Youth Day proper was held at the International Conference Centre. It was a fundraising dinner geared towards celebrating the ordinary Nigerian Youth, the Global Xchange returned volunteers and also to raise money towards the establishment of a Global Youth Development Fund. The fund which would be administered by the British Council, VSO and Global Xchange Returned Volunteers will be made available to young people (Global xchange Volunteers and Non-volunteers) who have laudable development ideas and wish to have some support to achieve it. The evening also saw the winner of the the essay competition organised to mark the IYD 2007. The competition entitled "Let The Youth Be Heard" was won by Miss Adaora Anyichie who said that attending the three-day event was an eye-opener for her. At the end of a really long weekend, there was much dancing and toasting (with juice in paper cups) as the youths and their supporters had raised N400, 000 towards the establishment of the Global Youth Development Fund. It was a delightful weekend. The Global Xchange has again managed to create tremendous impact as well as participating in development.

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