If you are yet to unravel one of the challenges of inclusive youth development in Africa, permit me to ask you these questions. What was your dream profession as a child? What did you eventually study in the university? And right now, what are you practicing as a profession?
Sometimes last year, Brand Your Waithood took time to ask 232 youths from eight different countries these questions. The response we got were shocking. Guess what? only one person wanted to become a medical doctor, studied medicine and practise as a doctor. 54% of others had response to two of the questions that intersect while others had none has the same. For you, are your answers same?
In finding out the explanations for these, we realised that lack of mentorship has been the reason why many made wrong choices as a child; poor education system has led to why many youths go to tertiary institution to study what is not their choice. They will tell you if I don’t get what I like, I will like what I get. And for the third questions, several struggles to practise what they have studied as well as find it difficult to discover themselves.
This delayed period in transitioning from childhood to adulthood is known as waithood. Waithood is a stagnation period in the lives of young people as they transition from childhood to adulthood; a state of helplessness and dependency. During this stage, Chronologically, you will see youth who have marked the status of youth by their age, but they are yet to live the responsibilities of adulthood: earn living, provide for their offspring’s, establish families, pay taxes etc. this has led to youth protest, riot and aggression against their government; thinking it’s the government responsibilities to do all.
Intuitively, one among the best way to get out of waithood is by volunteering in any field of your interest. Volunteering is an act of investing your intellectual capital (skills), time and other resources to impact on individuals, your community and organisations. On the other part, you are submitting yourself to positive changes, self-development, inclusive leadership skill and sustainable growth.
It is an avenue for you to discover the secret of life hidden in a place you never look at, a place that you only come to when you have exhausted all other possibilities and hide yourself, where the secret of life is hidden – this is your heart. By extension, volunteering during waithood will help you to be active rather than passive in area of interest.
It is a means for you to break local and global barriers by connecting to diverse people; establishing trust, friendship and opening doors of unlimited opportunities in the course of-sharing what you have learnt, acquired for the benefits of maintaining and sustaining peaceful coexistence. Moreover, if you want to contribute to the strengthening of institutional capacity to gain social, political, cultural and economic inclusion and participation, volunteering is a path to advance your insight. When you engage in volunteering, you are expose to practical know-how and experiences from an employed or employers
It has severally been said that success belong to doers, not mere knowers. Africa Volunteering Week on August 12-18 every year serves you as a platform to practicalize and put to test the little you have learnt as well as have cause to improve through the real-life experiences you’ve garnered. This help you to build your resume and prepare you ahead for your professional career and future opportunities.
The greatest success man can make in history of existence is the number of person(s) he is able to impact their life positively. Whether incentive is involved or not, it is a life fulfilling activity to be part of an inclusive development of an individual, organization or your immediate community. In addition, it is an avenue to develop confidence in taking on challenges to try new things and develop community identity
According to experts, when you focus on someone other than yourself, it reduces stress and makes you healthier. This implies that your mood and tension such as optimism, joy, are controlled over your fate and invariably control your immune system.
Dear Millennial, every generation has been placed with a responsibility and task. There have been generations before yours. And there will be generations after yours. Yours is not the beginning. And will not be the end. But you can be more than a generation that just passed through. You can be the change. Every generation has had their fair share of tasks, responsibilities and opportunities. What sets them apart- or not, is what they DO with what they have not what they SAY about what they have. While you passed through waithood; while that youth in your community is still waiting; while clamoring on your government to provide you dividend of democracy, take your time to volunteer your skills and resources now. The advancement of you, your community, your country and Africa project is a personal responsibility. Trust me, if you volunteer, You and your community will be better for it.
Yours in service!
Rasak Adekoya -Co-founder, Africa Volunteering Week
Africa Volunteering Week: https://africavolunteeringweek.org/
Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/AfricaVolunteeringWeek/