A New Mindset Arising
Young Africans don't want to be seen as charity receivers any longer. They want to act themselves.
When asked, young people are generally happy to share their opinions. The real problem is that we often don't ask at all. Young people struggle to overcome the preconception that they are not mature enough, that they do not have enough experience to join in the conversation.
"We adults often come to a standstill in our minds," counters Eva Padberg. She is a UNICEF ambassador and will be talking to young people from all over Germany at our event in Berlin on May 14.
"We don't always feel that we are being heard." (Sophie-Charlotte, 18)
The young people were selected from among the 520 participants in the "World We Want" youth conversation to present the results in Berlin. The consultation process was organized by the BMZ and UNICEF in March 2013. It addressed young people from ages 12 to 21, giving them an opportunity to fill out a questionnaire about their expectations of the future, submit their own ideas, explore them in discussion forums, and vote on contributions. Those with the most well-founded, enthusiastic and creative contributions were invited to come to Berlin and present the results. The conversation was and is part of a worldwide process aimed at bringing the voice of youth into the post-MDG debate. Which is why the results were entrusted to former Federal President Horst Köhler, a member of the UN's High-level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
"Mr Niebel, take us seriously!" (Christella, 18)
The 15 young people met on Sunday and Monday in Berlin to work through the many opinions and contributions from WorldWeWant.de and prepare their presentation. They also voted for two representatives who will travel to the UN General Assembly in New York in September 2013 as part of the German delegation.
The group elected Kira Lena (18) and Christoph (21) who will present the report to the ministers together with UNICEF Ambassador and model Eva Padberg. Sophie (14) and Üwen (17) had already recapped the conversation results for the general public: participants reported that education, the environment and fairness – both economic and social – were the most important topics to them.
The BMZ and UNICEF gratefully received the results and promised to integrate them in the continuing process. Other ideas (such as young ambassadors in ministries) were at least taken on board, according to Niebel.
By the end of the event, the young people involved were satisfied, though they are looking forward to hearing how Kira Lena and Christoph's trip to New York in autumn goes. We will, of course, keep you informed.
As soon as the report has been translated into English, it will be available here.
(All Photos © GIZ / Thomas Ecke)