Asante Africa Youth: A Beacon of Hope in the Wake of a Global Pandemic
May 11, 2020
Life as we all knew it has been disrupted in the wake of the global pandemic. Now more than ever, the young generation are at a crossroads on what the future holds for them. Despite the challenges witnessed in the world today, there continues to be opportunities for young people to become change agents. The question then is, how can we channel the great impact of young people to mitigate risks and conduct community outreach during global pandemic?
With social support systems we can guide and harness their potential. A new normal is slowly settling in. It couldn’t be a better time for youth as a force for good to hone in the skills that they have acquired from Asante Africa Foundation. Our youth are finding purpose in this moment of crisis with a goal to inspire others to not only hope but also to act.
Here are three ways Asante Africa youth are rising to meet the challenges of this pandemic.
Among the key issues vulnerable communities are facing is food security. Most families rely on casual jobs to sustain a living and are unable to stock up on food and supplies all at once. Their only option is to make daily trips to shops and markets, which increases their risk of exposure. Governments across East Africa have also issued directives to minimize movements, curtailing any income for the already despaired families.
Our youth are undertaking various initiatives to help cushion their families during such hard times and are encouraging others to follow suit. They are applying skills towards sustainable subsistence farming and offering the surplus at low prices to their communities. With the small returns made, our youth have been able to channel it towards procurement of more seedlings and other basic necessities.
Granted, in such a crisis the closure of formal and non-formal and non-formal education opportunities can exacerbate anxieties and emotional unrest among young people. As young leaders, it is important to exercise calm and reason in the face of adversity for the sake of those around you. In spite of the digital inequalities, technology and internet has enabled interconnectedness among this generation of young people. Since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the novel coronavirus as a pandemic, there has been an influx of information and misinformation both online and offline. To mitigate the multiple stages of panic, paranoia, uncertainty and fear this has caused, the youth have taken the initiative to share credible information regarding the illness.
As a young generation who are at ease with technology, they have taken upon themselves to maintain open communication to support each other within their communities. They continue to play a vital role in disseminating accurate information on COVID-19 and supporting formal communication on risk reduction, national preparedness, and response efforts. This has not only served to manage the panic among their peers and communities but also to adequately inform the community.
Young people are using the opportunity to demystify the new words that have since been incorporated in daily life in their communities which include but are not limited to social distancing, lockdowns, self-isolation, symptomatic and asymptomatic. Across communities we are able to witness them verifying news and information before sharing in an effort to help avoid the various misconceptions and rumors around COVID-19. For instance, they are sensitizing their communities in their local languages on why soap and water is a great way of fighting the virus. By tackling misinformation, the communities are becoming better informed and empowered in the fight against the coronavirus.
Youth are taking the lead in helping vulnerable groups such as the elderly and those who are immunocompromised. They are encouraging each other to volunteer and come up with initiatives such as making make-shift hand washing stations or cloth masks to distribute in their communities. Across various platforms we are witnessing our youth being on the frontline helping out the older generation and those living with disabilities.
As an organization we are keen to provide clear guidance for youth to volunteer that is safe for both themselves and those they are seeking to support.
Even as the young people rise to the challenge to help overcome the crisis and rebuild the society in the wake of a pandemic, they require your support in their initiatives. In this regard, we are asking you to join us in supporting these efforts by providing a “Family Essentials Package” for one or more families impacted.
Your “Pay It Forward” gift will go a long way in helping these families through this difficult and unprecedented time. Together we can successfully survive this pandemic.
Written By: Winnie Njeri
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