The Niger We Want
They are today’s youth. They are passionate about the Niger they want to live in – and they are taking steps to shape it and make it better.
To mark the International Day of Youth, selected young change-makers from across the country came together in Niamey to deliver very captivating and powerful speeches about the Niger They Want at the African Development University - ADU and UNICEF’s 227Talks series.
“Young people need support to unleash their potential, voice their opinions and actively participate in decisions that affect their lives” said Ousseini Lamou Kadijatou, from the region of Tillabery, currently leading the Scout Guide association in the region.
“Across the country, thousands of young people lack the support they need to acquire skills for life. We need to help young women and men build confidence, engage with their communities and open doors to equal opportunities. In a country like Niger, girls need extra support” stated Saidou Hama Biba, guest speaker from the region of Agadez.
#227Talks is a Nigerien thought-leadership platform that focuses on broad-ranging discussions on youth in the country. The platform endeavors to move beyond raising awareness about the challenges that Niger is facing. In so doing, it highlights innovative thinking and promoting those who are working into leading real change in the country.
It brings together youth activists, social innovators and entrepreneurs, digital influencers, public and private partners to spark dialogue on country’s youth potential today.
“Throughout the country, young people are creating innovations with extraordinary potential to improve lives. We need new efforts to accelerate the pace of change and elevate innovations to greater scale across the country,” said Mamane Malam Boukar, speaker from the region of Zinder and leading the “Jeunes Avertis” coalition.
Along with the African Development University - ADU, UNICEF has initiated the #227Talks Series, with two intentions of bringing messages of hope to the young public as well as showcasing to decision-makers the positive actions young people are already taking on various issues.
“Transformative change for young people is only possible when we create an open platform for dialogue and partnership” said Amadou Boukar, co-founder of the African Development University - ADU.
Today, Niger has one of the fastest population growth rate in the world (3.9% p.a.), and the youngest population structure with a median population age of 15. Youth and adolescents face many challenges – such as child marriage, difficulties in accessing to quality education, many do not enter, transition to or complete secondary education and are not acquiring the skills they need to secure jobs – and thus, brighter futures for themselves and their families.
UNICEF in Niger identifies the fostering of young people’s participation as one of the key strands to accelerate progress and deliver results. UNICEF emphasizes that mechanisms need to be prioritized to include and support young people in identifying and implementing solutions, as well as platforms to support young people’s engagement.
“Young people today live in a world of unlimited potential. When they are prepared, and empowered, they can use their energy, creativity and talent to turn an uncertain landscape into a world of opportunity – for themselves and us all” stated Felicite Tchibindat, UNICEF Representative in Niger.