They many not possess the ‘experience’ adults have, but the youth are still capable of contributing to their communities in many ways
International Youth Day is recognised by the United Nations (UN) and is celebrated on 12th August every year.
According to Huijsmans (2016) youth is often seen as a key period in determining a generation’s life.
International Youth Day is declared to highlight the youth’s huge contribution in society, especially towards the economy, employment, innovation, and mental health support.
The COVID-19 pandemic, in particular, has seen more young people raising problems brought about by the global health crisis, more so as they struggle to survive and make ends meet.
It is at this trying time where there is a need to empower the youth with vital knowledge, skills and support through necessary training, applications, resources and other opportunities to develop their skills, nurture their interest, and incorporate their voices and ideas.
In fact, the youth should be appreciated for their contribution as during the pandemic, they are more likely to be present on the ground and become part of the front-line in helping people.
International Youth Day has become an important day to shine the spotlight on youth-related issues among the international community and to celebrate their potentials in global society (United Nations).
Commonly, it features useful programmes that aim to expose the youth to the real world situations, from workshops, seminars and conferences to concerts and cultural events.
How is the Food System Related to the Youth?
This year’s theme for International Youth Day is “Transforming Food Systems: Youth Innovation for Human and Planetary Health”, focusing on how the participation of young people have contributed to global efforts towards more valuable food systems.
In general, a food system is complex and has a wide scope to measure, however when it comes to the youth and the ongoing pandemic, they concern the process of food distribution, food pack and food supplies to the needy.
During the pandemic, the capability and enthusiasm of the youth is needed to transform the food system as food supplies and distribution is a main priority to ensure high quality food in improving a community’s immune system.
Young people who strive to help their community allow themselves to be part of the solution to problems affecting those of their age, including education, housing, jobs and health.
Most importantly, their participation can ensure the sustainability and livelihood of citizens who are constrained in terms of economic, social and emotional well-being.
When looking through different contexts pertaining to the food system, most young people emphasise on nutritious food intake while considering the best food distribution for those in need.
In addition, agencies involved that are led by the youth possess a higher level of awareness, empathy and enthusiasm needed to be able to fulfil their commitment.
Their creativity and innovation can also play a crucial role in making some works easier and beneficial for all generations.
For instance, Kita Jaga Malaysia (available via website kitajaga.co and the App Store at the time of writing) is developed by a team of young people at Terato Tech, a mobile application and website development company based in Bangi, Selangor.
Launched in July 2021, the digital solution aims to provide greater access to information of those in need of help and those who can provide aid during the Movement Control Order (MCO).
Here, the developers has created a platform that allows users to track and trace the whereabouts of people who need food in order facilitate distribution, while ensuring the database is organised properly.
Sarawak’s Contribution Towards the Youth
In Sarawak, the youth’s contribution and efforts have been documented on local media platform TVS to promote and highlight their intention, thus inspiring the future generations in pursuing their endeavours.
Moreover, Sarawak provides a space to help the youth in honing their skills through career and training events such as ScaTFair, which provides an avenue for school leavers and local youths to seek career and educational opportunities in technical and vocational training and education (TVET) as well as science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).