The Commonwealth Youth Forum opened at the Intare Conference Arena in Gasabo, Kigali on Sunday, June 19, marking the beginning of week-long Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM) sessions. Over 350 young delegates from around the 54 nations comprising the Commonwealth are attending the youth forum.
The New Times’ ALICE KAGINA spoke to some of the delegates about their major takeaways from Day I of the three-day youth gathering taking place under the theme, ‘Taking Charge of our Future’.
Elif True, United Kingdom
My key takeaway revolves around the importance of including young people at every decision-making level. The level of expertise that we have heard from young people today has just proved that, without a doubt, the youth are capable of making big decisions.
Dan Shema, Rwanda
Inclusivity was my highlight of the first day of the Commonwealth Youth Forum. For instance, I learn a lot from (South African ‘ability activist’ Chaeli) Mycroft; she has a disability, but her personal experience and all that she shared on the panel, the wonderful ideas on how to get people with disabilities included in society and how to fight stigma, inspired me.
Teboho Makhalanyane, South Africa
This was a great opportunity for us young people to interact and to engage with each other. I was impressed with the level of women involvement in leadership, especially young women in Africa, and the fact that this generation of women is taking over means a lot in terms of fair representation of women across the board.
Pamela Mantey, Ghana
Besides being impressed with the hospitality we’ve experienced in Rwanda and the energy from the youths who are participating at the Commonwealth Youth Forum, I loved the way speakers went straight to the point in their different interventions. There is a sense of clarity on matters at hand and what needs to be done to tackle them. We need to do less of talking and instead concentrate on actions and it’s clear that we are getting there.
Joseph Migila, Tanzania
One of my takeaways today is that there is a need for firm mechanisms to support people with disability such as access to healthcare, including in the current context of response to and recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.