Do Young People really have “Power” to Effect a Change?

Panel Discussion at the main conference. Photo by: WHS

Panel Discussion at the main conference. Photo by: WHS

I am currently in Doha, Qatar attending the Global Youth Consultation to draft an actionable position paper on what young people think and can do to help with humanitarian issues. Doha is a beautiful city, I think they are living the future waiting for. Well… if you do not agree, you can travel here and see for yourself. I will will be writing my first travel blog post soon.

Let me get straight to the point of this blog post, I have joined several breakout sessions at this event and young people have been very positive and suggestive to what needs to be done and how they can make things work better. Lots of drafting is ongoing and when done will be presented to the right agencies and stakeholders to read and decide to either implement or not (because the power to implement is not with us young people). Do young people really have the power to implement what they suggest or can young people “force” the appropriate implementing bodies to put their words into action?

Some participants at the Global Youth Consultation. Photo by: WHS

Some participants at the Global Youth Consultation. Photo by: WHS

I asked the questions above during one of the breakout sessions (How can Young People Ensure that International Humanitarian response is Tailored to local context at the consultation) here in Doha and I got eye browsed raised at me as young people in the room felt they had power to effect change and that world leaders listen to the them when they talk. I will like to state that, young people have limited power to effect change especially how funds are spent and what it should be spent on with regards to humanitarian issues.

Until young people own resources, we can only suggest to donors the effective ways of spending their funds, but we can’t “force” donors to agree to our suggestion (this is the power we need to have as young people). We have power to create effective awareness through offline and online channels. Donors decide on what to use their money for and world leaders decide what issues to focus their attention on.

We need to figure out how to fix the reality, that is, how do we influence actions to be implemented beyond social media, offline advocacy and presenting of position papers? What can me do beyond participating in international meetings? We have power, but it is limited!

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