Category: Reflections and Ideas
By charles esibikhwa edward, 2017-07-12
Conversations with young people have really got me think of the impact of mentorship to young people. It has been quite an experience for me to meet quite a number of young people in forums, association and institutions I have had a chance to visit through the championing of our mentorship program at ngao society.
The untold stories of success in a number of youth I hear in this forums everyday give me hope that our society can change to the better if only we focus on the strength, capacities and assets our young people carry with them. From the talk I hear every now and then it becomes quite clear that we are not a failed society as young people but all we need is someone to show us the right direction. The previous generation defined our youth with deficiency stories and especially in Africa e.g. poverty, corruption, tribe, social injustices, lack of education etc. Yet there are still positives that can be achieved.
Now as we look deeper we realize that yes, events have happened and this has left our young people hopeless but does it mean this is the trend to set for the future generations or should we immerse ourselves in this situation and come up with a generational course to this challenge? How can we help ourselves see things differently and be all we were meant to be in this world?
Young people occupy a very unique place in the life of every society. They are the major “social capital” of every society concerned with positive changes for a better today and for the future. This explains the attention, resources and investments directed towards their education and socialization. The result, however, is that the society has ignored mentorship that youth require to compete in our present world because their educational processes barely goes beyond preparing them to acquire certificates.
Many youth especially in Africa where poverty is still at large scale, are left to deal with unimaginable situations and extremely difficult daily lives which affect their dreams and aspirations for their future. Some of them experience trauma, discrimination, suffering, atrocities and abuse and others have to take on responsibilities well beyond their capacities.
The contemporary reality of the huge population of unemployed youth draws attention to how they can be best harnessed. Besides coming up with ways to reach the youth, mentorships are critical in providing escape routes from their reality and giving them windows to dream about a future. Particularly, young people needs a model of mentorship that inspires them to learn from problem-solving, exploration and imagination where they repeatedly see and hear that they are valued and important and provide a foundation for critical thinking and a lifetime love for mentorship where their needs and opinions of are included.
The world is poised to grow through technology developed by young entrepreneurs but to effectively spur innovation and economic growth, we must look at how we support our entrepreneurs. Great ideas and hard work are vital to entrepreneurial success, but young leaders also know that improving access to incubators and mentors will help them become thriving business owners.
Very few of these young people are involved in shaping the conversation on the future of their lives. It is essential that all leaders embrace and enable young people to succeed and show them how they can impact the future. Just as entrepreneurs need mentors to help them develop an idea into a business, our leaders must engage with young people like myself on issues if we want an engaged, active generation of leaders. Young people also are obligated to seek those opportunities for engagement.
Today, the common consensus is that there is a need to develop creative ways to help youth explore, discover, harness their potentials and leverage available resources in their environment to their advantage. Understanding how young people process information, how they perceive, learn from, conceptualize and act upon what they see and hear will go a long way in ensuring that what they learn is effective and empowering. The principles of mentorship must be exciting, participatory and based on needs i.e. a two-way process of sharing knowledge and experiences, systematically planned to achieve positive, result oriented and measurable objectives.Much contribution to this article is from international policy digest by AmanamHillary Umo-Udofia.
Written by Charles Edward.