Written by CorpsAfrica/Malawi Volunteer Mr. Chris Kaudzu
There is a saying that goes, “The youth are the leaders of tomorrow.” I believe this is true, and I can see this attitude among the youth of my community. I have come to value the three points below, which are tips I have found effective when trying to understand and interact with the youth in my community.
- Get to know them
Since I started my service, I have interacted with a lot of youth and they have amazing plans for their lives. My first formal interaction with them was during a career talk project that I had at a secondary close to my community. This was done to encourage and inspire the youth to work hard in their studies and become productive citizens. Ever since the project, I have had youth come to my house and we talk about different things in life. As I get to know them and interact with them, they will understand that they have the capacity to be better people in the society.
- Let them speak out
When I engaged the youth during the career talk, they had the opportunity to speak out and share their views. This was a way for my colleague, Ireen, and I to listen and understand their perspective of life in general. They expressed themselves on how they want to develop their families and communities. They also shared their general and personal challenges, and we worked through them together. As they shared their challenges, they were able to seek support from their peers as well.
- Let them lead
Just a week ago, I was talking to two young men and they came up with an idea. They had an observation of their community and realized that the youth are engaged in things that don’t benefit them. This observation led to the two young men wanting to have a youth club within the community. As we were talking, they said the youth club would have the aim of engaging youth in various activities and keeping them busy from engaging in reckless behaviors. Even though the youth club is still being developed, I see great things coming out of this club. These two men are a part of this community, and they are the ones who have discovered the challenges, and the ones leading in order to tackle them.
It’s interesting and amazing to see the youth of my community come together to transform both their lives and their community. I have seen youth attitudes change in the past few months through engagement of various projects in the community, reflecting their commitment of development. The three points above are pointers on how I am engaging with the youth in my community, and I hope to see great things come from them.