In countries around the world, ONE youth volunteers are taking action to make the world a better place for everyone! Aïcha, a ONE volunteer from Canada, was recently selected to attend a Youth Forum as part of the 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London. Keep reading to learn more about how she got started as an activist and why it’s essential for youth to get involved!
1. How did you get involved with ONE?
I started volunteering for ONE in Montreal and Ottawa because their message and values deeply resonate with me. I wanted to share what they have taught me about advocacy, women’s rights, poverty and global change, and use my experience, social engagement background and general consciousness to teach others and help build more inclusive societies and a more equal world.
2. What is the role of young people in politics?
I believe that the political scene is a place for everyone — young people have a very important role to play in that area. To me, the presence of young people in decision-making positions benefits all citizens in every society because, as young people, we have the capacity to bring up issues and talk about solutions that do not only affect the ones currently in power, but also the generations to come.
I believe that the perspectives, the creativity and the sense of initiative that young people can bring in politics has a great value! As part of the youth, it is my conviction that the path towards a better future starts when you get engaged, interact with the world around you, raise your voice, and promote key values for a better world.
3. What was the best part about attending the 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM)?
The best part was meeting with inspiring youth from across the Commonwealth who had all gathered for a common goal: a better world. At CHOGM, I was able to engage in enriching discussions concerning the great challenges that we face today and help create a dialogue about poverty, inequality and women’s rights. Most importantly, we talked about our ideas and solutions for a better world. The best part was to be able to connect and engage with all those young leaders, represent Canada and increase my contribution to the world around me by expressing my ideas, concerns and solutions on issues affecting women and young girls. Through this unique experience, I felt as though politics, diplomacy and change are truly accessible to everyone.
4. What was the most important lesson you learned about at the Youth Forum that you’ll put into action in your advocacy work in Canada?
As young people, we all have the ability to use our ambition and our creativity to create change. I had the opportunity to meet inspiring youth that do incredible work in their communities and in their country. Beyond our socio-economic conditions, religious affiliations, cultural backgrounds or place of birth, we can all contribute to the world around us and to humanity by working on ensuring the world is a more inclusive and healthy place for all people and for the next generations — everyone can play an important part in the societies they live by being open-minded, critical and by sharing innovative ideas.
I plan to bring this experience back to my community by reminding young people of the importance of getting involved and engaged by educating ourselves about the world around us. My participation in the Youth Forum is an achievement I can be proud of and that I know will enable me to move forward in my community, be more aware, more enlightened and more inspired as a young change-maker of society.
Aïssatou, 18, is a Canadian student originally from West Africa. She is passionate about politics, diplomacy and human rights. She believes that it is essential to gain a better understanding of the world by engaging in those areas and by sharing her voice. She was selected to attend the Youth Forum at the 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London, UK.