Day two of the Commonwealth Youth Forum
On How to Harness Youth’s Potential
June 20, 2022 - KIGALI - Day two of the Commonwealth Youth Forum (CYF) kicked off this morning. The forum focused on the real, tangible change that young people have made across the Commonwealth. Additionally, it addressed the power of collective commitment and its role in ensuring that youth are beyond equipped for the rapidly altering 21st century.
The forum begs the question, how can commonwealth countries adequately help rather than hinder the vast potential of the youth?
Youth Champions of Innovation for Transformation and Development“It is not easy; but if it is not us, then who will it be?” - Edward Yee
The third plenary session included keynote speakers who shared their life experiences, ambitions, and aspirations for a better world. The stage welcomed Maxwell Gomera, (UNDP Representative, Rwanda), Edward Yee (CEO, GivFunds Social Ventures, Asia-Singapore), Rianna Patterson, 2022 Caribbean finalist and Founder of the Dominica Dementia Foundation), Angelo Igitego (CEO, Karisimbi Technologies), Shomy ChowdhurygCo-Founder, Awareness 360), Josh Wale (CEO, Ampersand), Sylvia Makaria (Hepta Analytics), Sharonice Busch (Vice President, Pan African Youth Union). These entrepreneurs shared the inspiration behind their success stories and why they decided to take action and make a real impact on their communities. With innovative ideas, these change-makers used new technologies for faster, greener, and sustainable results.
Co-Creation and Partnerships“Nothing of great and lasting value is done by yourself. If you want to go far, you must always go together.” - Yawa Hansen-Quao
In this fourth plenary session, the panelists stressed that to be an actor of change, one cannot do it alone. Onto the stage, panelists Yawa Hansen-Quao, (Executive Director, Emerging Public Leaders), Jean Michel Habineza (Founder, iDebate), Salma Sagufta (Youth Award Winner), Amjad Saleem (Manager, IFRC), John May (Secretary-General, Duke of Edinburgh International Award), and Annabel Boud (Head of the Commonwealth Scholarships), shared their experiences on how they were able to make a difference in their communities through collaboration with different institutions, such as government, NGOs, and other change-makers. When having a shared vision, strategic collaborations, and partnerships can genuinely change the course of history.
Skills for the Future of Work“I really do believe that when educational systems get their minds around the power of entrepreneurship and start to teach these skills, we can really change the game for young people” - Kevin Frey
In the fifth plenary session, the panelists highlight the significance of the youth being equipped with necessary 21st-century skills – some of which include the ability to believe in themselves and their contributions to various sectors of society. The stage was graced by Professor Asha Kanwar (President of the Commonwealth of Learning), Will Straw (Prince's Trust International CEO), Oulie Keita (Executive Director, YouthConnekt Africa), Kevin Frey (CEO, Generation Unlimited), and Yussouf Ntwali (Co-founder BAG Innovation). Further, in the discussion, the panelists highlighted the need to weave entrepreneurship into educational curriculums all across the Commonwealth. They urged the government to collaborate with private sectors to create and avail opportunities for the youth to ensure that they have a space to channel their skills. Indeed, tomorrow’s future does depend on today’s youth.