To recognise Wednesday, 12th of August 2020 as International Youth Day, YSDC held a Webinar via the Zoom App on the theme “Youth Engagement for Global Action“. The Webinar, which started by 4pm on that day, was hosted by Amarachi Ego-Osuala, one of the Co-founders of YSDC. The Webinar was a youth for youth one as two youth who have achieved a lot with respect to sustainability and the SDGs were the guest speakers.
Miss Doyinsola Ogunye and Mr. Oluwatobi Adesina were the guest speakers for that day. Miss Doyinsola Ogunye is the founder of Mental and Environmental Development Initiativefor Children (MEDIC), a non-profit organization focused on inculcating environmental and social values for the overall development of the Nigerian child. She is an advocate for sustainability as well as a fellow of the Royal African Young Leadership Forum led by the Ooni of Ife aimed at celebrating Young Africans excelling in various sectors. Oluwatobi Adesina, who was one if the speakers in YSDC 2019, is an investor, a pilot and a philanthropist. At 18 years, he started a career as a pilot and has flown a thousands of large and small aeroplanes. He is passionate about economic empowerment and improving lives. With a team of volunteers and strategic partners, he founded a non-profit organization to educate and financially empower Nigerians.
The Webinar began with Amarachi asking Miss Doyinsola and Mr. Tobi what motivates and drives them as youth to take action, and they both had similar answers. Both agreed that passion, purpose and interest make them take action as they are currently doing what they enjoy doing and what they have the passion to do. Miss Doyinsola stated that she started taking action when she was 22 years old.
In line with the increasing cases of youth committing suicide, Amarachi asked the guest speakers if they are seeing an increase with young people dealing with depression and mental health issues and how they, the guest speakers, balance their mental health with work. Mr. Tobi Adesina stated that he sees an increase with young people dealing with depression and mental health issues and it would not be easy taking action, but we should learn to pause when we feel overwhelmed. He said that youth should find things that make us happy and put us out of stress. He added that for him, eating and working out makes him happy and relaxed. In response to this question, Miss Doyinsola said that when she began to take action, she experienced phases of depression and pressure from family and her surroundings, but doing something that fulfills her kept her going. She said that the beach makes her calm, so whenever she felt stressed, the beach was her go to place. She also added that keeping friends and family to motivate you when depressed helps a lot.
In line with the theme for the IYD 2020, Amarachi asked the guest speakers to encourage an average Nigerian youth to take action seeing that Nigeria does not have a system that favours the youth. Mr. Tobi Adesina answered this question by stating that the government is actually not as bad as Nigerians paint it to be as there are a lot of opportunities for the youth in Nigeria. He also stated that if anyone is not comfortable with a particular sector in Nigeria, there are organisations in that sector that we can join to form solutions to that problem. He also said that youth can form and start up their own organisations to fight against the problems Nigeria faces. Hypothetically speaking, Mr. Tobi Adesina stated that if one is not comfortable with the police force and SARS in Nigeria, then he or she should either join the police force or form an organisation that speaks and acts on the problems of the police force; if one is not comfortable with corruption in Nigeria, then the person can join EFCC to fight against corruption or join other organizations that fight against it in Nigeria. Miss Doyinsola Ogunye answered by stating that no one is going to give anyone anything for free, and we have to fight for what we want. She said that we should always ensure to take action whenever the opportunity presents itself and we should never allow ourselves to be a victim of circumstances as we should fight against what we are not comfortable with. She concluded by stating that we should strive to rise above all things. Miss Doyinsola Ogunye and Mr. Tobi Adesina both said their organizations are open to mentor young persons to take action.
To end the Webinar, Funmi Ajala, Co-founder of YSDC, summarized by advising youth to just act and not to procrastinate. She stated that no one is too young to act or make a change. She also stated that young persons should take action by volunteering in various organizations. She concluded the Webinar by reminding the viewers that YSDC was receiving applications to become Directors of YSDC 2021 Pan African Edition.
For more webinars, Conferences and opportunities for youth, please follow our social media platforms @ysdc_official on Instagram and Twitter. We are on LinkedIn as Youth Sustainable Development Network. Also, do not forget to take action and act.