On August 12th, youths around the globe may have not expressed themselves as in the previous editions because of the Covid-19 pandemic which has led to restrictions in gatherings.
This year’s theme is “Youth Engagement for Global Action”.
For Rwanda, there has been mild activity on social media as few youth deliberated on issues affecting their lives.
According to organisers the theme seeks to highlight ways in which the engagement of young people at local, national and global levels is enriching national and multilateral institutions and processes, as well as draw lessons on how their representation and engagement in formal institutional politics can be significantly enhanced.
Enabling the engagement of youth in formal political mechanisms does increase the fairness of political processes by reducing democratic deficits, contributes to better and more sustainable policies, and also has symbolic importance that can further contribute to restore trust in public institutions, especially among youth.
Moreover, the vast majority of challenges humanity currently faces, such as the COVID-19 outbreak and climate change require concerted global action and the meaningful engagement and participation of young people to be addressed effectively.
COVID-19 affects all segments of the population, with young people playing a key role in the management of this outbreak and the recovery following the outbreak.
Though much is still unknown on how the disease affects young people, governments are mandated in the World Programme of Action for Youth (WPAY) to ensure their services meet the needs of young people.
In these circumstances, it is important to ensure that youth are heard alongside other community and patient voices in the roll out of health and non-health interventions in response to COVID-19.
Building up the capacity of youth to be able to make their own decisions on health and to take responsibility for health is also a key element of WPAY.
In this context, health education, public health promotion, and evidence-based information are critical in combating the spread and effects of COVID-19, especially to challenge the spread of disinformation online.
The role of governments as well as youth organisations and community groups will be essential to ensure that trustworthy public health information is disseminated.
Young people themselves are also utilising online technologies to spread public health information in engaging ways such as videos to promote effective hand-washing or explain how social distancing can save lives.