By Victor Gotevbe
Being young is considered by some people as being problematic. However, Unyime thinks differently even as a youth development advocate that being young is a gift and it should be put into appropriate use in making the society a better place. No wonder he believes that societal ills are only a reminder to young people to take action. This week will bring to you the story of Unyime from the Niger Delta Region on efforts and initiative in bringing about a better world.
Life was just good as a child. Of course, there is nothing to worry about than wake up, eat, dress to school, join friends and keep the fun rolling. My birth certificate shows that 27 years ago, in a sub-urban hospital in Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria, UnyimeAbasi was born. My Primary and Secondary education offered an opportunity to make more friends mainly due to the fact that my family had to change locations often.
My last alma mater was Uyo High School, Uyo. At that early stage, I had begun to think about what and who I would love to be in the future. If for nothing else, such was my inspiration.
The foundational years were accompanied with challenges. One just had to make every effort ahead no matter what. I recalled when we took the last paper during WAEC. That evening, we played football till dusk; because everyone knew that after that moment, we’re parting ways. But inside me, I was seriously in deep thought… “what’s gonna be the best next step?” Thankfully, I have a Diploma in Information Technology and I am currently taking undergraduate studies in Sociology. For me, these are tools for effective change strategies.
Unyime’s work with young people
I think the backbone of all is what each individual is passionate about, that is, when it comes to making something spectacular. But most
importantly, my life is built about the socialization at childhood.
Severally, as a teenager, I had the privilege to have become a rugged boy and hoodlum but I really believe the socialization in my formative years played key role in the case of trying harder to avoid some “stuffs”. Thinking the other way, like trying to be a leader with exemplary life led me to join a social youth club “Leo Club”, Youth Activity of the Lions International Club when I was far below 20. LEO stands for Leadership, Experience, Opportunity.
This launched me into the sphere of “thinking about how to always develop or create change”; kudos to Leo(now Lion) Jude Nkanta. The breaking point was in about 2007/08. When one day, while being online (on internet), while chatting via the yahoo instant messenger which was in vogue then, I still recall how I started my research on “youth development”.
One of the main sites that still remain in memory was Takingitglobal. Works of young people there especially young Nigerians propelled the urged I’ve always got. That was where I first contacted Aniekan Ekah. Eventually when we had one-on-one meeting, I related my proposition which led to the establishment of Young Activists Initiative Nigeria. From indoor seminars and workshops to campaigns, the flag of youth development is flying.
His passion for Sustainable development
Sustainable development, being a sub of youth development/development still has a broad perspective. My focus is on encouraging youths to take bold steps and act towards achieving sustainable development, with specific areas of interest including environmental sustainability, climate change and good governance.
I have undertaken several youth-led projects for instance organizing Enough-is-Enough (EiE) RSVP Campaign, Global Youth Service Day in
Nigeria, Seminar of Youth and Cybercrime, to name but a few.
Challenges as a youth advocate
On one occasion in 2009, I had planned for a workshop and set strategieswith the team but it was difficult that we had to be changing venues. I was scared and this question bothered my mind: “will participants show up?” Eventually, (he laughs) they did. It got to a point that the guest speaker had to stay in my apartment. It is worthy of note that the fatal accident I had in January 2009, which almost cost me breathe was on returning from a youth project that fateful Saturday evening. I am indeed grateful to God for sparing my life.
International project Any international project you have worked on or are working on?
There have been opportunities for a few of International projects carried out in-country. The recent was coordinating as Country Outreach Coordinator, Major Group on Children and Youth (MGCY) for the Rio+20 UN Sustainable Development Conference in June 2012.
Advice for young people
Everyone is born a change maker. Our immediate community and the world at large need our contributions. The enormous challenges and societal ills are a reminder that we –young people and adults, must accept to take responsibility and stand in the gap to create a better world.
Current change project
My focus at the moment is ensuring effective mechanisms toward mainstreaming the concept of Millennium Development Goals and Good
Governance in youth perspective.
That brought about the idea of ongoing Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Campaign Project (www.mdgscampaign.blogspot.com). On Good Governance, it has been an endeared engagement in the process of Electoral Reform since 2008 with Youth Action Initiative Africa (YAIA), National Youth Network on Nigeria Elections (NYNNE) and Youth Alliance on Constitution Review (YACOR) in the current Constitution Review process.
YOUNG NIGERIANS MAKING THE DIFFERENCE
AJEDE RASHEEDAT OLATUNDUN OGUN STATE
Rasheed at was born on 15th February, 1990 in Lagos state. She is very passionate, focused and committed to peak performance that bears undeniable results. She is always willing to go the extra mile in her quest for knowledge. Her activities are positively affecting many students and young people as she helps them to realize their passion.
All thanks to her organization, AIESEC, a platform which has helped her to explore and discover her potentials. She is presently working as the organizing committee President for West African Connecting Seminar as Nigeria plays host to the rest of the committees. The Seminar will take place in Ilorin, Kwara State.