12 August 2013


Today is International Youth Day recognized by the UN and even though this year's theme is focused on youth immigrants and the challenges faced, Write Paragraphs decided to go fundamental by shining the spotlight on youths from different countries, paying attention to the challenges they face and finding the possible solutions. In doing this, we decided to get youths to write in two paragraphs the challenges faced and solutions. Here are some of the entries we got;

‘To survive, a youth requires some basic necessities- food, water, clothing healthcare and shelter. To interact meaningfully with the environment, he needs education and other levels of socioeconomic inclusion such as employment. The inability of a Nigerian youth to meet his needs and achieve self-actualization has a very devastating influence; it reduces the social and psychological prestige of its victims.  The life of an average Nigerian youth has been economically castrated, socially perverted and politically frustrated. A look at the Nigerian scenario reveals that youths are faced with bad educational system, unemployment, lack of skills and experience, mismatch and numerous barriers to entrepreneurship, thereby compounding poverty.

Pragmatic approaches that can be recommended to expatiate the challenges are: Excellent leadership and good governance, controlled population that is, a social policy checking population growth, entrepreneurship, The provision of basic infrastructures to create an enabling environment, change in the dimension to policy formulation on youths empowerment and implementation, Reinvigorating the educational curriculum to include entrepreneurship education, and strengthening SMEs to catalyse job creation and expansion of the existing ones. Based on identified gaps, best practices and need for an integrated approach, the youths should be provided with: employability/entrepreneurial training, vocational training, job placement, business support and credit.’

NURUDEEN, Yusuf Temilola,


‘The urban spaces which were once the eye of civilized cultures has grown into something else over the last few centuries. My city, Nairobi, is a young city when compared to other world cities - just a hundred and a few years more in age. But the city is the playground of all the problems affecting our society today. There is a big line between where the rich live and where the poor live. Our slums are the worst in the world. It is unimaginable that the government collects taxes from these poor inhabitants but does nothing in return. There are no access roads, no piped water, no drainage system, no quality primary and secondary schools, no electricity, no quality and affordable housing, no affordable clean food. The absence of these vital public services is a gross violation of human rights. What are the purposes of human rights conventions if no attempts are being made by the government or the UN to guarantee these rights to the poor, disenfranchised, disadvantaged, majority urban dwellers?

The UN-HABITAT and the Millennium Development Goals aspires to improve the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers by the year 2020. I don’t know whether the residents our slums here in Kenya are part of the 100 million. As things stand now, I think they are not. Noting that the number of people living in the slums is going to double by 2030 in Kenya, despite UN Millennium Development Goals reports that the share of slum residents on the developing world declined from 39% in 2000 to 33% in 2012, there is need for an urgent program to light up the lives of millions living in these neglected settlements.’

Richard Oduor,

Nairobi, Kenya.

‘Every generation needs good leadership, especially our youths of today. Our youths are raising themselves. In some cases, they have little or no supervision, and are generally not guided to interpret their circumstances and opportunities in light of biblical principles, it’s no wonder that they grow up to be just as involved in gambling, adultery, divorce, cohabitation, excessive drinking, and other unbiblical behaviours.

There is so much peer pressure for our youth of today in every city in America, and they are very vulnerable to them all because of a lack of education and leadership. We all know that in this present age, our youths can be persuaded so easily to follow the wrong path, - there are so called friends who want to persuade you to do things such as skip or drop out of school, join a gang, or to try drugs and alcohol, to get involved in criminal activities or try to persuade you to become promiscuous at a very young age. This type of behaviour can also lead to rape, and bullying others, disrespecting authority figures, such as talking back to parents, teachers, and police or other authority figures. There are other pressures that plague our youth of today, such as depression, suicide, fear, judging others, and low self-esteem.

Our youths must stop looking up to worldly figures such as pro ballers, rock artists, rap artist, and movie stars; they will never be there to help you. These stars are projecting bad behaviours on our young people, only for their monetary gain, and they don't care that our youth look up to them as role models. We need positive role models and leaders, and we as adults, need to show our youth that there are better ways to live their lives, productively.’

Sandra K. Evans,

Mobile, Al. USA.

‘A major problem in our societies facing youths today is strained family relationships due to a generation gap. The generation gap is whereby parents and teens have different thinking about issues/priorities – from clothes/music preference/values and career choices. Parent’s influence wane when youths value peer opinion above their parents’ opinions. This leads many in my home country to leave the house for months and return when they are spent.

Parents should be supportive of their children; their major assignment is while their children are still very much young. Once they impart the reasonable understanding in them….what ever they do as adults should not be a problem. That is my submission.’

Kevin Zhang Wei,


‘T.IA…This Is Africa. The international dream is as luring as it was when I knew planes existed, and better-could be flown by men. Growing up we see the `fortunate` finish high school, and pack their bags to colleges overseas have been made to believe, as most of my peers, that they are the best in the world. This obviously translates to, what we have here is below best. Public universities release thousands of cowardly intellects each year. Massive multitudes are poured into an already stagnant employment field. Organisations are too careful to let go of their trusted few, to let in an unseasoned majority the results being, graduates settling for less than they are qualified for. However, anyone brandishing an overseas certificate is more than welcomed to the tiled offices. We seem to be ok with the idea of graduating as half-baked. We pay hefty fees to these schools, and are cheated out of it.

Being part of this, I can only imagine one way out. The curriculum should be moulded from top to bottom. The employers and entrepreneurs ought to be integrated in curriculum planning. International bodies should be key participators too. This way, the graduates are released into an eager market, lots of them with confidence!’

Linah Nduta Macharia,


‘Our starting point is that youth have difficulty in the labour market because of identifiable – deficits as potential valuable talent for employers: lack of work-relevant skills, lack of information and connections for acquiring appropriate skills, lack of experience and credentials that could get them started on an upward path, and limited opportunities for entry-level work that is career oriented. A talent-focused perspective also offers a framework and a rationale for business investment and action, to help create innovative, effective, and sustainable solutions to the challenge of youth un- and under-employment

Each generation has a responsibility to take steps to prepare the next generation for successful economic participation. Employers’ response to the youth employment challenge should be shaped by their own responsible self-interest in ensuring their firms’ long-term growth and innovation, and in securing their access to talent for emerging and future economic needs. Businesses and economic entities looking toward long-term success must give appropriate attention to creating and securing future talent resources, and they have their own responsibilities in this area alongside and in partnership with government, educators, civil society, and young people themselves.’

 Emily Moto,


‘The problem of the 21st century youth is diverse ; from internet misuse to poorly or curiously developed pattern of communication(the ‘lol’ generation) with the emergence of internet chat-groups, messenger, we chat, Facebook, ICQ, etc. Beyond this, youths are also exposed to several traps, pitfalls and negative influences in the cyber world, including sex and pornography, e-occultism, online gambling, internet addiction. This makes many youths lack focus and get too lazy to face the ‘unwebbed world’ or reality.

More restrictions should be encouraged by schools and parents. Monitoring youth activity can help us decipher their next probable line of action.’

Izzati Abdulrahman,


Sarawak, Malaysia

It's not what they call it, it's what you decide to do about it. Forget the terminologies and the seemingly blocked routes. Some people have taken steps today by speaking up about the challenges they face, they have done something. It may not be the challenges you face as a youth or an adult that you'd like to shed light on, it may be the state of things in your country whether political, economic, social or health wise. The idea is not to sit in silence and watch things go rotten. Write if you can, speak if you can, as a matter of fact, writing is a form of speaking...just get your voice out! If you'd like to shine light on anything in your country, you can send in your entry to wp.chatversation@yahoo.com

COMPILED BY: Mary Ajayi (@Megadoxa)
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