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Wednesday, April 13th, 2011 - 19 comments

If you could change ONE thing, what would it be?

If you could change just ONE thing in your society, what would it be? Take an active part in the Youth Conference in Istanbul, 9-11 of May, 2011. Blog, tweet, post, or speak up like these young video bloggers. We also asked people from other generations what their advise would be to young people. Tell us how you are changing the world you live in.

Being a young person myself, I felt constant motivation that young people can improve their lives and for that we need to mobilize and use all our efforts to make our voices counted when decisions, that affect us, are made.

I often see the situations in my region in which the rights of young people are violated, young people have great ideas and initiatives but do not receive sufficient support to realize them, they happen to be in crisis situation and have no information about the support system, they may have no access to basic services, and all these leads to insecurity.

Unless we speak up, we will not focus the attention of those who have power and make decisions, to help us solve the problems.

And we have a great chance to do so during the upcoming Youth Conference for young people from Central Asia and Eastern Europe organized by the United Nations Population Fund. This conference will bring young people and decision makers.

The Conference will focus on the three main areas:

  • Ignorance – out, Sexual Health Education – in! This topic concerns the universal access of students to comprehensive, life-skills based sexual and reproductive health education, including HIV/STI prevention across all areas of the educational system.
  • Healthy youth – healthy society now and in the future. In most countries the existing structure of health systems does not accommodate provision of youth friendly services, including SRH and HIV/STIs. The situation is even worse for vulnerable youth.
  • Youth counts! This topic involves mainstreaming youth issues such as youth employment, skills development, education, youth migration, equal participation, social support and others into socio-economic and demographic policies and programs.

I encourage you to be actively involved before, during and after the conference.

You can do it online by:

  1. Blog! Create your own blog-post and answer these questions: If you could change ONE thing in your society what would it be? How are YOU changing the world you live in? Write a blog-post here.
  2. Tweet! Share your views on Twitter (make sure you add the hash-tag  #YouthChange in your tweets).
  3. Post! Share your views on Facebook
  4. Tape! Make a video (like these young people) and tell us about the issues affecting young people in your region/country. If you could change ONE thing, what would it be? And how are YOU changing the world you live in?
  5. Comment! Leave a reply under this blog-post and tell us the ONE thing you would change, and how YOU are changing the world you live in.

Remember, we can make a difference! Also, don’t miss these blog-posts from young people who have responded to my question via blog-posts:

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The views expressed in this blog-post are solely those of the author.

Comments (19)

Gayle Nelson
Wednesday 20th April, 2011, 9:33pm

It is very moving and inspiring to hear the voices of all the young people, but the young women in Macedonia were particularly thought-provoking in the way they raise human rights issues and - in that context - their inability to influence the socio-cultural-economic context. Their intuitive awareness of generational power issues, the dynamics between poverty and rights, and their overwhelming desires for education are all messages we need to unpack and address very seriously.

Leyla Sharafi
Thursday 21st April, 2011, 3:07pm

These videos were very eye-opening. It's very interesting that the common message in all of them is the plea for decision-makers and those in power to LISTEN to the voices of young people. Each of them asks for opportunities - to be able to realize their potential and human rights. This is a theme that seems to be echoed by youth across the region and around the world today.

Anna Leonti
Thursday 21st April, 2011, 6:19pm

It is so inspiring to see that, despite all the challenges and problems, young people in Macedonia have opportunity to choose freedom! They are unwilling to live the life that their parents did and now they have a possibility to make all their dreams come true, see the world and even change their country. The first and the most important step they need to make is education. Most of them realise that!

Raquel Wexler
Wednesday 27th April, 2011, 12:31pm

I found the persons in these videos so very moving. The young women interviewed in Struga in The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, noted that the most important thing that youth can do for themselves is to stay in school. So very true ! Others noted that youth should become active in youth networks and organizations. Youth are generally asking for more support – for better recreational activities (dance and sport) and are very concerned about their future job prospects. It is great to hear such diverse perspectives represented. I look forward to hearing more voices through posts and blogging during the upcoming regional youth conference “Investing in Youth-Path to Accelerated Development” taking place from 9-11 May in Istanbul. Join the Conversation !

Aleta Miller
Thursday 28th April, 2011, 8:34pm

These interviews really highlight some key issues young people are facing in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Its great to hear young people's voices, participation is so important for young people to influence their own future. The Istanbul youth conference is an important moment in this region in this International Year of Youth.

Tuesday 3rd May, 2011, 6:14pm

This is just to support Raquel said that young people in Macedonia are in need for more extracurricular activities. Also it is very important to have such activities because it is increasing the active citizen participation of the young people. It is one of the conclusions of the research that one local NGO in Macedonia (Youth Educational Forum) has conducted.

Graciela Puebla
Wednesday 4th May, 2011, 1:44pm

Nothing more well said that young people have to be focused in their studies and paving the way for their futures. The only thing that really should matter them is SCHOOL and nothing else. It is so sad to know that they are more concerned about leaving the country looking for a better life abroad. Decision makers should consider more policies to retain their youngsters, giving them more educational choices instead of ignoring or involving them more in their own societies.

Marija Vasileva-Blazev
Thursday 5th May, 2011, 5:25am

The voices that have gathered thus far on this blog are so inspiring. How great to hear about the situation of youth in Shuto Orizari – a Roma community in my own country – from a community leader within that very same community. I really loved the way she described the Roma temperament especially when they are young as “full of energy and we would like to use that energy.” This is very true of all youth. Collectively we must find a way to tap the potential of youth and give youth access to education , employment and recreational opportunities so that they can become full participants in the societies that they live in.

Malika Atasheva
Monday 9th May, 2011, 8:04am

One thing that I observed at the EECA Youth Conference whicg started just today is that people are really listening at this conference and they are even taking notes when young people speak and I really feel that something important will come out of this conference. Its also important that our working groups include both young people and adults because it is a partnership and we always talk about that but this is a REAL example of that - that together we develop recommendations. I am very excited.

Marta Diavolva
Monday 9th May, 2011, 8:07am

I think we are getting energised and getting into a productive mood - even arguing among economcsts and public health specialists and members of civil society. At the end it is good that we are reaching consensus because the issue of young people is a really complex issue and only working in harmony can we work for and with youth and get results.

Daniel Kalajdjieski
Monday 9th May, 2011, 8:40am

This has been a great opportnutty to be, as a young person, here and to influence the whole process. I hope that by the end of the meeting we will have useful recommendations and results that can change realities of young people at the national level and I urge on the third day when the government officials come they will take the recommendations seriously and implement them in the countries. Also I think UN agencies and other international organziations should put more pressure on governments fulfill their obligations to young people.

Paolo Emilio Adami
Monday 9th May, 2011, 8:43am

I think its a great occassion for youth organizations to meet with UNFPA and international stakeholders of EECA countries. Its great to share ideas on how to strengthen cooperation around youth issues and especially on health issues and youth. The importance of investing in youth capacities and young people is really a strong of this meeting thus far.

Monday 9th May, 2011, 9:00am

Accroding to the list of the issues which are on the agenda - the Regional Youth Conference might be very effective. The dicsussions which took place during the conference among the participants in work gruops may be very usefull for further recommendations and future developed programms. Youth - as a social group has certan problems which can be soved only by general efforts.

Malika Atasheva
Tuesday 10th May, 2011, 6:11am

The second day of the Conference...

The presentation of Tigran Yepoyan was really impressive. It gave some insight of how to persuade decision-makers that SRH Ed. is really important and not very cost-consuming.

If government will agree, that Sexual Ed is REALLY needed, then the process will continue more effectively. I think, many decision - makers are not still aware what is meant by Sexual Education and this is why some of them are not supportive.

Also, I liked how Daniel Kalajdjieski highlighted that it is very extreme to put traditions and religion against human rights.

I so agree that human rights need to come prior to traditions.

Nese Savas
Wednesday 11th May, 2011, 6:11am

I think this Youth Conference has great potential of bringing all the ideas into implementation especially by the representation of young people and high-level government officials in the same place. It is not only crucial but also effective to realize the needs of the young in a society and giving them the opportunity to share it with their peers and implementing institutions.

Mahbub Alam
Wednesday 11th May, 2011, 9:23am

The most important thing that we can do for youth is to improve their access to the right information and to create an enabling environment so that people can exercise their rights - in terms of rights to information to services etc. The government needs to help create such an enabling environment to amend policy frameworks as needed and improve the extent and quality of youth health services while creating a space for youth participation.

Kamila Abdullaeva
Wednesday 11th May, 2011, 9:30am

From a personal perspective these issues are important because I am a mother of 2 who are not yet considered "youth" but will soon be of that age. It important that we speak of the risks that young people face and the opportunities that may be available to them, as we all want the best for our children. This conference has been a great platoform for this type of dialogue

Alexander Pak
Wednesday 11th May, 2011, 9:34am

Youth needs to be part of decision making and we shouldnt talk about youth but with youth. Youth is a very diverse group and we should really know who are the most vulnerable among them, as there are better off youth as well. Youth are different in every region that is why we also need to know youth specifics of every region

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Guest Editor

Malika Atasheva


Malika, 24, has been an educator of Y-PEER network since 2003. Graduated foreign languages faculty at the International Turkish Kazakh University. Interested in development issues and is a current Y-PEER PETRI Sofia fellow.

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