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During the 4th 2023 Commonwealth Youth Conference on Youth Work held at the University of Readings in United Kingdom this week, Commonwealth Youth Council Chairperson Kim Allen made a call to support the work of youth by working together.

Mr Allen said 60 percent of the Commonwealth population, about 2.5 billion people is under the age of 30.

“The youth gives a huge potential and opportunity to accelerate positive change in our communities and countries across borders. The theme of this 4th Commonwealth Conference on Youth Work highlights the power of youth work, an essential driver to forge a sustainable and peaceful future for us,” Chairperson Allen said.

Every year has its own challenges with government turning to lose focus and support due to commitments, undermining the power of youth work, leading to other issues affecting the youth.

“We are in a critical junction post-COVID-19 with high rates of unemployment, young people struggling to start their lives with low salaries, high suicide rates, youth violence, and alarming health issues affecting young people.  The impacts of climate change are more evident now than decades ago.”

“Amidst all the challenges, we have hope and strength to change the lives of young people and our communities. As youth workers, we embrace the power of youth work and the youth potential that young people are resilient, creative, innovative, and have the ability to be positive change makers.” 

Chairperson said in order to empower, cultivate, support in terms of resources and finances, and channel the power of youth work towards achieving the sustainable and peaceful future, collaborative effort is needed.

“As we go through this week of engagements and share experiences, let us discuss, and craft ideas to work together to create opportunities to empower youths, build their capacity and mentor young people to drive positive change.” 

“Now is our time! We have hope and the opportunity before us to forge the sustainable and peaceful future we want. And it’s possible! The honor is on you and me as youth workers, our governments, and stakeholders to realize that goal we want,” Allen said.

In June 2022, at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Kigali, declared 2023 as the Year of Youth, hence “we need commitment toward resources, financial support, and collaboration to advance youth empowerment.”

Mr Allen urged fellow youths, stakeholders, government representatives to support youth work.

“Together we share the responsibility to address issues affecting young people. Every one of us is bound to live with the consequences of our decisions. Therefore, I call on the governments, private sector, youth stakeholders, and partners to recognize the power of youth work and support efforts in youth development in every community, institution, and sector. Youth work is everyone’s responsibility because youth is a cross-cutting agenda,” Allen said.

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