An NGO, Strategy for Mentoring Initiative and Leadership Empowerment (SMILE) on Sunday called for an enabling environment to help youths to develop themselves and contribute to national development.
Mrs Bimpe Bamgbose-Martins, President of the group, made the call in Lagos while speaking to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in commemoration of the International Youth Day (IYD).
NAN reports that the United Nations has set aside Aug. 12 to commemorate the IYD and the theme for the 2018 edition of the celebration is “Safe Spaces for Youth”.
According to Bamgbose-Martins, creating an enabling environment will include the provision of digital and civic safe spaces for youths to access information online and network with people of common interest.
“I am delighted with the urgency with which the United Nations Secretary-General, Mr António Guterres, is addressing youth matters so that young people have access to education, training and decent jobs.
“Our goal is to celebrate our youth, acknowledge their immense potential and contributions to national development and to continue to create awareness on issues relating to their well being,’’ she said.
She urged youths to challenge every excuse and not to lose hope in seeking new opportunities and embracing entrepreneurship as a viable option to address youth unemployment.
“Youths should pay special attention to their health and well-being and get actively involved in contributing, in their own little way, to enhancing society particularly in their areas of passion.’’
Bamgbose-Martins said that lack of relevant skills continues to pose a great challenge to youth development, making it difficult for them to access and optimise opportunities they desire.
“Therefore, SMILE will continue to focus on youth empowerment, promoting the acquisition of skills, encouraging innovation and the need for more young people to think outside the box,’’ she said.
The president said that the home was the starting point for training for psychologically and emotionally stable youths.
She, therefore, urged families to be more assertive in the upbringing of their children and wards.