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Having a voice means that young people are able to speak up and contribute to conversations about decisions that may affect them. It means that they can express their views without fear and share their experiences to enlighten the way a service should be planned or delivered. Involving young people in decision making does not only help them to create a sense of belonging and possession, but also support services to become more effective. How is it achievable to really know the impact of a service without talking to the people it seeks to serve? After all, young people are the experts in understanding young people.
After all, young people are the experts in understanding young people.
The idea behind it all is to give young people a voice they deserve around key issues. It also supports personal and community development and social change through facilitating young people to increase their confidence, self-esteem, aspirations, employability and personal skills.
The power of youth to create social change has long been neglected at every level of governance. Young people are dismissed as lacking in knowledge and short on skills although often praised as ‘enthusiastic’ or ‘passionate’ to soften the blow. This combination of assumed lack of ability and inadvertent condescension serves to invalidate the contribution young people can make to any form of serious discussion or decision making. It is, ultimately, a fatal underestimation.
The power of youth to create social change has long been neglected at every level of governance.
Yes, young people feel a huge eagerness for what matters to them and they can be immensely passionate. The determination to live life in a way that contributes something meaningful, the desire to see real changes in our world, the commitment to learning and questioning and investigating are the qualities to which we add our enthusiasm and passion. These are the virtues which make us both valuable and essential to the development agenda moving forward.
Lack of specific, technical knowledge is not an error; it gives rise to much onward manners including the openness to information, willingness to analyse free from partiality and the ability to question the status, which will create new prospect to grow. Limited experience, in whatever context, is not a setback; it is an opportunistic inadequacy, which will encourage endless learning process if it is stirred with positive curiosity. With right attitude and progressive viewpoint, young people will be guided to think and speak with fresh perspective and to be driven by the heart.
The World Assembly of Youth encourages everyone to work together, to be able to make effective changes to help improve the wellbeing of our young people. As an international-scaled organization whose aims are not only at its contribution of actively resolving youth-related matters but also its coordination of national youth councils, WAY has been known for its concern towards welfare of youth, worldwide.
In line with that, the selection of twenty-one youth-related topics has been, until now, decided. The filtration and selection of those twenty-one topics were based on the observation towards any youth-related issues, problems or other relevant matters and those that mostly affect the development, quality of life and welfare of, today, young people were then chosen.
As modes of giving young people a pertinent voice, WAY holds variety of activities and programmes whose aims of raising awareness, providing platforms for them to speak up and training them to be able to reason and express their thoughts, ideas and opinion responsibly and nattily. Serving youth since 1949, WAY never stops in making this world and today society to be more youth-friendly by ensuring their inclusion in decision making and active participation in political, social, economic, cultural and environmental matters at all levels of society.
It is time to actively work to ensure the voice of the child and young person is heard in the decisions, policies and services that affect them. Therefore, let us work together as YouthForChange; to bring young people to the forefront of the decisions, policies and strategies which will determine the future of all.
It is time to actively work to ensure the voice of the child and young person is heard in the decisions, policies and services that affect them.
[Cover photo © World Assembly of Youth]
Ediola Pashollari holds a Master Degree in Business Administration (UK), a Master Degree of Arts in Political Science (UK) and a Master Degree in Entreprenology (USA), as well as a Degree in LLB (UK). Presently, she is the Secretary General of the World Assembly of Youth (WAY) which is headquartered in Melaka, Malaysia. She is of Albanian nationality, and has resided in Malaysia for the past 17 years. Through her capacity as the Secretary General of WAY and the Director of the World Youth Institute (WYI), she has been instrumental in assisting and supporting various youth initiatives and strategies locally, regionally and internationally. Ediola also has delivered a variety of key note addresses, papers, presentations and speeches in different parts of the world on different youth related issues. Ediola was awarded twice from the Loyola College, India; on 2008 she received the ‘Life Time Achievement Legendary Award’ and on 2012 she received the “Life Time Achievement Award” for her contribution in the field of Youth Development. For her work in African world, she was given “International Ambassador of Youth on Good Practice” from the Youth Parliament in Nigeria in 2010. On May 2012, she was awarded the “Youth Merit Medal Award” from the Melaka State Youth Council in Malaysia. On December 2012, she received the “Devotional Service Medal (PJK)” from the Melaka State Government. On April 2013, she was awarded with nine (9) Medals on International Youth Development from the Mongolian Youth federation. On May 2015, she was awarded with the Golden Star of Justice from the Mongolian Youth Federation. Recently, on September 2015, she was awarded with the Global Youth ICON Award “An Exemplary and Visionary Youth Leader” by Yuvsatta at the 10th Global Youth Peace Fest — 2015 (GYPF), Chandigarh, India.