International Youth Day
International Youth Day is celebrated worldwide on 12 August to bring youth issues to the forefront. The 2021 theme for International Youth Day is about “Transforming food systems- Youth Innovation for Human and Planetary Health” and it calls for active youth participation. A major area of concern is the impact of COVID-19 on human health, the environment and food systems, with a severe need to achieve fairer and non-discriminatory food systems. International health summits often emphasize the need for youth to make informed decisions on the healthiest and most sustainable options for food choices. Sheer production of healthier food in huge volumes would not suffice. There are other challenges which need redressal like poverty reduction; social inclusion and health care. Despite a consistent target of zero hunger, the number of people affected by hunger and malnutrition is increasing.
As the world population is expected to have a surge of 2 billion in the next 30 years, our youth is a magnificent powerhouse in today’s global society. Consumption patterns related to personal health are infused early in life. With global agriculture facing major challenges, it’s all the more essential to address rural poverty and the management of ecosystem goods and services. Population health is also of prime concern, especially as nutrition-related chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some forms of cancer are on the rise. Not to forget, we are the third largest HIV population globally. In India, people in the age group of 15-29 years comprise almost 25 percent of the country’s population who account for 31 percent of HIV cases. Young people are at high risk of contracting HIV infection. Our campaign End AIDS India is working with a vision of HIV free India by 2030. There’s enormous support needed from the government as well as the citizens to alleviate social menaces like drug abuse & HIV.
As per The Ministry of Statistics & Programme Implementation, the Indian population’s median age is around 28 in 2021. It’s time that our youth is not just rated as a potential vote bank and recipients of policies. Rather, they should contribute towards new and innovative solutions. The Indian youth is intending more liberty, such that burning social issues like poverty, malnutrition, unemployment, illiteracy, corruption, caste/religion-gender bias are addressed and eliminated for good, giving way to a reformist society.
Education programs, in particular, should be strategized to teach and reach young minds right from the school levels so that they carve out their own identity and move the nation ahead. We need a robust youth representation in the country’s political administration too.
Our memories are still vibrant with the recent magic of youth power. The way a mass protest by Delhi’s youth for justice in the Nirbhaya case or the mass protest at Marina Beach for Jallikattu further corroborate the immense vigour of our youth.
~Written by Mou Mukherjee, Consultant – Fundraising
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