By Engr. Akpoyibo John
We face a pandemic that threatens the lives and the wellbeing of all people globally. It doesn’t stop there. The most vulnerable people in the world will be hit the hardest. Hundreds of millions could fall into poverty within months.
Against this pandemic stands the best of humanity. Nurses, doctors and community health workers risk their lives daily to protect us. Neighbours and friends rally together and care for each other. We self-isolate as individuals, but we should do it collectively as a community reaching out to help each other because we are in it together.
Since the youth makes up the majority of almost every community in the developing world, we should see ourselves as the key to turning the tide on the virus. This we can achieve via:
1. YOUTH-LED COLLECTIVE ACTION
Medical personnel and government alone cannot stop this pandemic from harming countries across Africa, Ordinary people and communities must play a leading role.
I am opinionating for the redirection of almost all of our resources, efforts & networks to this fight. We know that we can play our part as young people to help build the sustainable local movements of collective action in history.
A movement of people staying at home, caring for each other like never before, fighting fake news, fighting stigma, dispelling myths, using technology to spread key messages, helping our governments and their healthcare workers.
2. Youth should avail themselves the opportunity for volunteerism.
We encourage Young people to change their behaviour, model their behaviour to stop the spread, to care for ourselves and for others. Young people should influence their peers in mass to change behaviour that can support easy spread of the virus by ahrearing strictly to the hierarchy of controls proffered. Young people should prepare and organize their communities to stop the spread.
3. Youth should Fight Misinformation
Fake news or misinformation are the unsafest acts at this material time, it tends to be more harmful. Young people should create attractive, exciting content to spread core messages for planning, prevention and response to the pandemic via digital channels that youth use.
Young people should support policing of fake news and misinformation, myth busting online contents and provoking engagements. Young people should challenge stigma and should champion mental and physical wellbeing of fellow citizens.
4. Reclaim the Youth Power
Young people should reclaim their power in the face of this pandemic and the powerlessness it makes us all feel. Youth-led civil society and movements should act on an unprecedented scale.
Youth should support mobilization in communities to protect themselves.
Youth should support governments and health workers through individual acts and collective actions, lets reclaim power over this pandemic.
The existing problems that young leaders have been fighting -like climate change, violence against women and girls and unemployment- will not go away – many will be worsened by Coronavirus. Let us adapt proactive methods so that we can support ourselves to confront these problems in new ways and when the threat of coronavirus has subsided we will be ready.
We are all in it together, young and old, north, south, west and north. Yes we can initiate local change by helping our world to stand and to act in solidarity as never before.
Fake news should be fought and discouraged, Super spreaders should be stopped. Accurate, accessible information shoulld reach those who need it. Government efforts should be supported through behavioural adjustments.
Finally, I want to commend all those who have taken it to heart to redirect their resources towards this fight. For those that have been mute it is time to act, a plate of meal for a neighbour is affordable by many and for those
that God has blessed financially please give back to your communities, think outside the box, go the miles to make your society safe…..if you don’t, then nobody will and don’t assume anyone elsewhere will fight it for you.
Above all, sustain your faith in God the all knowing.
Engr. John P. Akpoyibo MNSE, R.COREN, MNICE, MNISafety
He is the secretary National Youth Council of Nigeria, Burutu Local Government Area Chapter.