Africa urged to invest in youth as global movement launches
A global movement that connects over a billion youths worldwide to discuss their issues and be at the centre of solutions has established its Kenyan chapter.
Billi Now Now initiative was developed against a backdrop that youths face intersectional physical, legal and economic barriers in meeting their social and reproductive health needs.
“Young people want their voices not only heard, but their contributions taken towards the realisation of issues that are pressing for them,” said Eric Gitau, the chief of development dynamics, a consulting firm supporting Billi within East Africa.
Movement aims to raise awareness of overlooked youth issues and create a sense of solidarity by helping them feel connected and empowered. It began in Burkina Faso as a project using pop culture, art and social media to reach and empower young people and has this year landed in EA, including Uganda.
It incorporates organisations that are youth-led and issue-based dealing with topics such as climate change, education, gender and technology, among others issues.
Speaking in Nairobi recently, Gitau said a prior survey where they spoke to over 800 youth across EA revealed that 78 per cent were most pressed by where they would get the next meal and quest for advancement in life. Achieng Akumu (pictured), Africa Regional Director for Planned Parenthood Global, which is providing technical assistance for Billi said: “This movement has been built to share information, empower youth to have their voice by designing particular initiatives they think are important to improve their health rights and future.”
She added: “Focus on development ought to be empowering educating and equipping young people to take control of their future otherwise the continent is setting itself up for failure.”