HARGEISA, 20 February 2010 (Somalilandpress) – “Youth are like young plants, they need to be cared for, if you take a good care of your plants, you will have strong plants and a good harvest. It is the same with youth, if you invest them”.
We are born in Somaliland; we will live in Somaliland and we will die in Somaliland. On 20 February 1982, young courageous students determined to stand for justice with throwing stones one of the most powerful military force in Africa. Most of them were in upper primary school grade eighth and first year in a high school. It was a day to remember for those students who lost their lives in that day. It was a day to remember for those who prove their commitment by tossing stones to prepare a better Somaliland for the coming generation.
Many of us who are lucky enough to go schools today and have environment that support us morally wouldn’t understand what it feels like to fling stones at that day. Imagine what goes through your mind if you were there. We, as youth today reaped the fruits of our older generations and heroic students.
Remember UFFO a group of young educators who paid themselves to work hard for their communities and build a better Somaliland for all as we are young people of today. They noshed us volunteer ideas and what freedom is and how to achieve it. They started sanitation programmes in Hargeisa hospital as a means of helping their populations. Members of UFFO were arrested for their serving to the people while others sentenced to death.
We Somaliland generation of today are commemorating this day under theme of this year which is the importance of youth participation in decision – making process. Different occasions is hold to mark this day by the Ministry of Youth and Sports, youth umbrella organizations and other youth based community organizations in Somaliland. Speeches presented in these occasions are aspiring at supporting young people’s participation in the social, economical development and policy making of the country. Young people have the latent and aptitude to play a part in society and symbolize a voice that calls for the development of life in that society.
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Youth participation in society has most often been considered in terms of civic engagement. Being a teenager is a wonderful period. When you are teenager you are violent as a wolf, just because you have seen yourself as a grown up and powerful. We imagine that we are the best thing that exists in the world.
Young people will not be enthusiastic, creative and innovative unless their societies understand they have the potential to improve their country socially, economically and politically. Thus, it depends on how their societies treat them We can say if we train our youth the leaders of the future, our society will prosper, but if they miss a direction the society will fail and live poverty. . Hence, it is essential that youth to obtain the guidance and support they need in this challenging stage of life. If supported and encouraged, youth can make a sizeable input to their country.
The young people of today are really tough and talented people. Every young men and women has a dream to carry his/her country into a higher position in the world. Involvement of society’s decision making at a young age enhances the wellbeing of every nation. We have to express our views and opinions so as to be taken seriously that we are agent of change. Inspiring the young people to speak out by articulating their views and ideas feels he or she has something to offer in his society and also a sense of belongs. A major benefit of young people’s input in decision making process makes better the confidence, knowledge and motivates others to be a part of them. It is therefore important for every nation to ensure the wellbeing of its youth and Somaliland is not exceptional.
The message is clear; Today’s young Somali Landers need participating decision-making process to obtain a sort of life skills to actively participate of an increasingly knowledge-intensive society and become today’s young citizens and tomorrow as the country’s future leaders. Unfortunately Somaliland government is not putting higher youth concerns at the heart of their development agenda, and still more remains to be done.
In spite of these, young people still face many challenges and problems which prevent them from showing their filled potential. Somaliland lack sound national youth policies that guides to the next generations for participating the decision making process in the country. It is, therefore crucial that youth receive the leadership and support they need in their government and sustaining them successful transition from youth to adult hood.
Farhan Abdi Suleiman (Oday)
Farhan is a social worker, youth activist and graduate of Hargeisa University. He is a regular contributor to Somalilandpress.