Youth energy: Youth from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology Enactus team.
Youth are important stakeholders and given an opportunity, we influence the dissemination of information on EAC integration, sensitization and education of youth and participation in policy development in view of our creativity and energy.
Since the EAC Secretariat opened the youth platform to be included in championing the integration process by forming the East Africa Community Youth Ambassadorial program together with the Best Youth Debaters, it has juxtaposed the post-independence generation of the federation to enjoy unparalleled participation in decision making and policy formulation.
The East Africa Community Youth Platform championed by the Youth Ambassadors has indeed proven to be the epitome of youth inclusion for our common interest in exercising our talents and opening the doors of opportunity to every citizen of East Africa to become part and parcel of the development wave.
For the period of one year, we have been able to reach out a larger audience and a leading East Africa population, to sensitize on the importance and benefits of integration by conducting seminars in our major cities of the partner states including Bujumbura, Kigali, Nairobi, Kampala, Arusha and in my own city Dar es Salaam. The call for youth involvement and participation in the regional level is quite resounding and many have joined the platform including our very best selected colleagues of today to learn and disseminate the information to our peers of all races and categories within the region and those in Diaspora.
Through the youth platform, East Africa Community has indeed opened the doors to learn and embrace good governance by participating fully in any given democratization process which is among the core pillars towards attaining sustainable leadership; leadership that will lift our families, leadership that will sustain our community and indeed leadership that will transform our generation.
In echoing such responsible leadership, for the first time in the history of our Community, the Youth Ambassadors played a significant role on democracy by being among the EAC Election Mission Observers to the Kenyan General election that was conducted early this year on March 3rd 2013. As EAC Youth Ambassadors, our task and mandate was to observe and make a report on how the election in Kenya was conducted and supervised at all levels before, during and after election results.
I congratulate the Kenyan youth for being the champions for peace before, during and after the election results. I also salute them for being able to turn out in a larger number that the East Africa region has never experienced before as they made their choice by casting the ballot. This indeed has proven to the region, the continent and the world at large that young people can make a difference.
Through our tenure as the focal point on youth affairs in the region, we faced the great challenges of our time with renewed vigor, zeal and zest and of course with new speed towards adopting lasting solutions. Achieving quality education and employment has been a major cry towards achieving sustainable development in the region. Our task and mandate forward is to influence our policies and the policy makers within the region to re-structure and re-frame the current policies that will fit in with the current paradigm shift. We have challenged and influenced both the East Africa Business Council and the East Africa Inter-University Council by putting the youth ideas forward (the targeted people) on reforming and reshaping our policies that will open the doors of opportunity to every young person who belongs to the region.
Speaking from the same breath, the harmonization of the education policy within the East Africa region is underway and private sectors and industry opening opportunities for youth to exercise their talents in their organizations through internship programs speaks the same.
We have indeed spearheaded the formation of the East Africa Model Union where students and young people within the Community will simulate the EAC National Assembly, debating and coming out with concrete solutions that will help the EAC Secretariat to build a stronger and committed Community.
Through our work as EAC Youth Ambassadors, we have learned that we can empower ourselves to become the quality intelligentsia that our Community and the Continent deserves. The knowledge that we have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that we are, ever after, secure in our ability to make our East Africa Community survive and reach its ultimate goal to federation.
The way we vote, live, protest and put pressure on our governments has an impact way beyond our borders. Therefore, we are the custodians to our East Africa Community.
We look forward to inherit the future and lead the East Africa Community’s vision and mission to her fulfilment in our generation. We are never too young to lead. We should never doubt our capacity to triumph where others have not. The education that we have received and that which we continue to receive should prepare us to lead the way without fear and timidity but with courage and team work.
By Raymond C. Maro
East Africa Community (EAC) Youth Ambassador to United Republic of Tanzania.