Social Inclusion and Empowering Youth are Utterly Important for our Economic Welfare.

By Apioth Mayom Apioth

Opinion:

Youth-Flickr-UNPhoto-TOB

Social inclusion and youth empowerment (Photo Credit: UN Photo/Isaac Billy)

January 12, 2015(Nyamilepedia) — Africa’s population is projected to increase twofold by 2050. There is nowhere else where that revelation rings true other than South Sudan. South Sudan is not only the world’s youngest nation; it also has one of the world’s youngest population in its youth; 72% of the population is under the age of 30. For South Sudan to reap the rewards of demographic upheaval, much heed, hawkish eye must be paid to two areas of particular importance, namely: (a) Creation of systematic mechanisms to control pandemic, endemic and all kinds of infectious diseases that might arise in the possible future; in our times, HIV/AIDS has caused us a great deal (b) Social Inclusion.

Every single day, we lose about 4213 individuals to AIDS in Africa. That number equates to loss of 1.5 million individual lives every year. The savage disease continues to waste the precious lives of our people. South Sudan rising from the ashes of a fifty-plus protracted war against the ruling elites in the former Sudan has a high illiterate rate problem. The literacy rate of males is 40%; whereas for females, it is a disappointing 16%. It is highly touted that those in the loop of know-how, or who have a good possession of information are the ones who will stay ahead of everyone else in this fast-paced, data-obsessed age of globalization. The closer accessibility you are to the information, the well-off you are. Unfortunately, in South Sudan, the part of the world, we hail from, closer proximity to the information is not prioritize to be the motor engine to drive us forward. It would have been all well and good had our population had a high literacy rate; had that been the actual scenario, a pathetic pestering varmint such as the AIDs which doggedly, stubbornly refuses to go away could have been dealt a major blow. However, that is not always the case with our poverty-stricken population who always works their hands to the bone from dawn to dust. South Sudan as an emerging nation, is starting to come to its own, and thus for that sole reason, the health infrastructure is non-existent. The small pockets of literate communities have to come to the fore to help the mass of our people from the AIDS Pandemic. We need a community to community coordination efforts to drum the ideas of HIV/AIDS prevention into every social aspect of our nation. For those who have no accessibility of information to how HIV is transmitted: We could bring to their attention that people get infected through coming in contact with the body fluids of those carrying the disease; it can also be transmitted through sharing of infected needles; and last but not the least, healthy individuals do get infected through sexual intercourse. Now, some of us may be wondering how we are going to accomplish this behemoth task of creating a systemic awareness of the HIV prevention in the nation of diverse cultures, where some are extremely conservative to shy away from a mere mention of issues pertaining private romantic intimacies.

Besides poverty, AIDS is another great tragic war we ought not to sleep over with. It has great wretched potential to continue playing with our dear lives. For South Sudanese youth to catch up with the rest of sub-Saharan Africa, and therefore, in due time, join their colleagues in sub-Saharan Africa to make Africa a global force to be reckoned with 35 years from now when the working age population is forecasted to double; we have to start positioning our youth in activities that will create a competitive edge some decades to come. We don’t really have to mind the rigidness of our cultures since we have already witnessed first-hand the devastating casualties of AIDS; we are silently waging a war against a virulent menace that if it is left unabated, it has tragic enormous reach to steal our very own one individual at a time. AIDS awareness doesn’t have to be confined to the classrooms of learning; from the centers of prayers, ceremonial festivities, football fields, and any possible place where people gather from two individuals to crowd of many; volunteers could take the lead to inform our communities about the immediate dangers of acquiring AIDS. Artists from the grassroots to the national level could employ their artistic talents to showcase graffiti on walls and create signboards across towns and cities in the country. An ailing sickened population which is bogged down by all kinds of diseases won’t be able to cope with a much healthier, vigorous rivals from different parts of the world. I know this may be too much a task to bring to the attention of our policymakers, but the case of the AIDS epidemic might be just the right call needed to start the actual establishment of a vibrant health infrastructure which could act as a protective shield to shelter us from all kinds of diseases that might arise later on down the road in the possible future/

Besides investing substantially in creating a systematic mechanisms of diseases-control and overall health infrastructure, another area we could help our youths is by involving them in activities that make them believe they are the custodians of our part of the world. By pouring the appropriate amount of investments into educational and infrastructural sectors, we are not only creating paths for them to take part in endeavors that might make a huge difference in their lives, we are also being indicative that they are full members of our societies. Social inclusivity doesn’t only involve providing full access to males only; it requires full participatory rights to everyone including women who have been historically and traditionally excluded from exercising their civil liberties. What does gender equality accentuate? Gender equality entails equal access to opportunities. When a girl-child is educated, she later on, as a grown up, helps in reducing both infantile and maternal mortalities, and providing nutritious, well-balanced meals to children to avoid stunted growth; while at the same time, when circumstances dictate, and she does end up as a single mother, she can bring in the much-needed income to her family. Women represent over half of the agricultural farming community in sub-Saharan Africa, and if they are given means to farm, they can improve agricultural yields by 20% – 30%. Similarly, once women are given accessibility means to work in careers that were traditionally held by men, they can improve workforce productivity by 25%; an area of performance which is direly needed to cater to the needs of the fast-expanding sub-Saharan Africa’s middle class. Studies have also shown that women participation in the political affairs of their respective constituents tend to ameliorate governance. Furthermore, women ought to be obligated gender and propagative rights; by which they can choose their life partners whenever they want instead of traditional forced marriages.

Men can only keep the women down for a short while. Why does men have to dictate what and why women can’t do certain things? Men had no say in the creation of women. We weren’t their makers. Both men and women live freely under the heavens. Last year, a population survey was conducted in one of South African’s provinces: men were found to have numbered about five million; women came first taking a whopping seven million. In almost every generation, there seems to be more women than men; I don’t know why that is so; perhaps it has something to do with the fact that we are all made in a woman’s womb, or perhaps the male’s fertilizing cells, sperm, is smaller in size to the female’s egg, when the two come together to form the whole being; and that way, the bigger propagating cells, the egg, take the big belly’s share of the pie. Women have the numbers to make a mark in our world. At the elementary level, there aren’t a lot of differences between a human brain and other animals of the wild. What distinguishes humans from other organisms in the Animalia Kingdom is the sheer size of our intelligence; our intelligence is superior to all the other creatures on planet earth. What distinguishes our intelligence from the other creatures is how superbly the neurons in the brain connect with each other to behave ambitiously, and thus enabling the human brain to become exploratory objects of wonder. When we talk about equality between men and women; it is not the physical strength that the men possess that make them superior to women, rather what makes us all equal is the capacity of our brains; our brains have the ingenuity to produce spectacular creations, only imagined in dreams. We are slowly moving away from the old era where we had to constantly use our strength to do things for us to our modern times where we are preoccupied with using our minds to make things a little easier for us; nowadays, the majority of us uses forklifts to lift materials from the floors to the trucks instead of the old time manual lifting with our shoulders.

In closing, our working age population can only fare sickeningly when they go head to head with their rivals unless a vibrant health infrastructure and social inclusive environments are created. Another major concern in the scientific community is antibiotic resistance. A whole lot of bacteria are becoming resistance to medically subscribed drugs. Not only that, recent economic crisis around the world have pushed the funding sources to the brink of precipice. Research institutions are clutching at the straw to find sources of funding so they could continue on their journeys of finding drugs to combat one of humankind’s everlasting foes: diseases. Overuse of drugs is the chief suspect proven to have brought many cases of bacterial resistance to drugs. There are lots of drugs on the streets, and most of it ends up going down our drainage systems where majority of bacteria lives. When the bacteria finds an abundance of the very adversaries that were designed to eliminate them in the first place, they always find it easy to mutate, and when the same drugs get to be subscribe to different patients; the bacteria happily say “We’ve got you” these drugs won’t work on us because we have already come in contact with them in the drainage systems. The scientist community is madly raving about a possible post-antibiotic era where easily treatable illnesses won’t drugs in the market due to the high resistance developed by bacteria. Having a lively health infrastructure is majestically important to keep our populations on living full, meaning lives. On the flip side of the coin, we won’t further our exploratory objectives unless the other half of our population is given full throttle ownership of their rights. Women have their own minds, and we can use their talents to propel ourselves forward. Men aren’t the only people endowed with the full share of intelligence; women have their own share of intelligence. We will be missing out tremendously if we fail undervalue the sheer brilliance of women. May be the reason behind some scientists take 15 to 30 years to make important discoveries is because the women have been underrepresented in that arena. In the end, gender equality entails healthier communities, and shared prosperity to all the stakeholders.