MESSAGE FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR – MR MARK CHILONGU
Children and young people are faced with a number of social, economic and environmental challenges. It is this time the youth need to acquire the attitudes, competencies, values, and social skills that will carry them forward to successful adulthood. It is also this time when they need to avoid choices and behaviours that will limit their potential. Parents and families play a crucial role in helping young people traverse this phase. Lately, schools, churches and CSO’s have extended and enhanced positive development for the youth but there is a need for neighbourhoods, and communities to play a part in shaping the future we as the want. In recent decades, a number of social forces have changed both the landscape of family and community life and the expectations for young people.
In addition, to the efforts being carried out by Government and other stakeholders in uplifting the lives of children and young people, Africa Directions is also working tirelessly in supplementing the efforts of the Government and other stakeholders in shaping and building a cadre of young people who are able to contribute to National Development. Ensuring sexual reproductive health and realizing reproductive rights is an integral part of this strategic plan including gender, children’s rights, governance and entrepreneurship. As we know, there is an inextricable link between sexual reproductive health and rights, gender equality and youth empowerment.
In order to make use of young people’s full potential to economic growth, young people need to have control over their sexual and reproductive lives including decision making. That way, young people, especially girls, can invest in their education and contribute to the labour market. Because of the changing population structure and accompanying processes, such as demographic dividend and urbanization, we call for stronger integration of young people and equal opportunities so that they are empowered to improve their communities and build positive change in their society.
It is for this reason that I would like on behalf of Africa Directions to thank the Africa Directions Advisory Board, Management, Staff, Stakeholders and the Young People for being part of the organization’s strategic vision and mission as we strive to contribute and supplementing Government efforts and the African Region in shaping Africa’s future.
The strength of young people does not only lie in their numbers but more importantly, in their potential to contribute to society.