Listening to the Voices of Youth: World Youth Day 2015
ARDD-Legal Aid has recognized the importance of working and learning form youth since our organization was founded. So on this World Youth Day 2015, we are celebrating their contribution to our work and sharing the importance of civic engagement for youth in our communities in Jordan.
ARDD-Legal Aid firmly believes that by working to increase civic engagement we can help to build a community in which all members are active participants in a thriving society and to encourage this in Jordan we must start with youth.
The average age of a Jordanian is 21 years old and 22% of the population in 15-24 years old. With youth making up such a large percentage of the population it is imperative that to make sustainable change in the society it must start with youth. To do this, ARDD-Legal Aid works with youth in all of our projects. This month, our ‘Lana’ project is working with all ages with a #MarathonforChange. Our change makers are going out into their communities to implement initiatives to raise awareness on issues that they see as necessary to change in order to increasing civic engagement and participation. These projects are very involved with the youth with over 200 people who are actively involved as they work in the community to increase understanding and to raise awareness all while promoting volunteerism and civic engagement.
Also this week, ARDD-Legal Aid is honoring top Tawjihi students from across the Kingdom as a part of our Education for the Future program. This event looks to raise awareness of the importance of quality education in Jordan and to share the motivations of students who have achieved such an honor. Through education, youth are able to learn and understand the importance of being engaged in their communities thus leading to greater civic engagement in a variety of issues. By promoting the achievements of top successful students, we are able to learn about the motivations of youth and use this to encourage others to do the same.
This year, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has released a statement for the world’s youth, “ In this landmark year, as leaders prepare to adopt a bold new vision for sustainable development, the engagement of youth is more valuable than ever. At this critical moment in history I call on young people to demand and foster the dramatic progress so urgently needed in our world.”
His statement brings to light several important issues: the importance of youth in our society and the critical global moment we are at, that needs the voice of the youth. Essential to this occurring is the protection of their rights so that we can ensure that the voices of all are heard. ARDD-Legal Aid works to do this by protecting and informing the vulnerable of their rights which allows people to go out and spread this knowledge to their children, their parents and their siblings. By protecting and informing others, more youth have the opportunity to go out and demand the progress and change in the world that UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon is discussing.
This year Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah addressed the United Nations to discuss the importance of including youth in peace building. He emphasized the vulnerability of youth to terrorism and extremism and the need to combat this through recognizing the potential of youth. Additionally, in March His Excellency King Abdullah II launched an initiative to develop a “model that equips future generations with tools of knowledge and education as well as excellence and innovation. We want our youth to be qualified and capable to compete effectively at national, regional and international levels.” These commitments by the Royal Family show the importance of youth and education in Jordan and ensures that this will be a long-term and continuous effort.
ARDD-Legal Aid is committed to being a part of this process and is actively implementing projects that encourage civic participation in youth and adults. Youth have the power to promote peace and to protect human rights and dignity not only in Jordan but across the world. To help them in achieving this, it is our job as civil society to listen and to learn from what the youth have to say and we must protect those who are vulnerable to ensure that someday, their voice is heard.