Growing up in Karamoja-Uganda, a pastoral community with my mother as the backbone of the family, building our home and in-charge of feeding us, I had little say in all that happened at home. Decision making even in the simplest of choices was left to the grown ups. We would move from one place to another and my role was to tag along, behind the cattle of course.
Inequality seems to be a vice, born and bred even in our own homes and then to the communities. My own community and country not excluded, young people are not considered as serious or capable of representing or contributing to solutions and development.
It is high time we woke up to the realisation that we are at Peak youth, with young people making up at least a quarter of humanity and therefore excluding them from policy decisions, governance and even other avenues of change is not only cheating them but being unfair to the development of our communities.
I am playing my part as a change agent and activist by joining with other like minded people to fight inequality, as part of the Fight Inequality Alliance. Early May 2018, I joined other young activists from different countries, movements and organizations around the world in Nairobi, Kenya to learn, share and co-create a common agenda and priorities in fighting inequality.
Among the many actions for change discussed, we aim to occupy national and regional key events where budgets and constitutions are discussed, lobby parliamentarians to ensure that they engage with us, demand and challenge corporations to end inequality and address issues of job security and workers rights. In addition we want to hold governments accountable to their national plans and promises during elections, their commitments to the Sustainable Development Goals – namely Goal 10 to reduce inequality – and mostly importantly shape the narrative on inequality and expose its root causes and damages through mainstream media, alternative media and other creative tools.
We released a song on our fight against inequality, featuring a number of languages which you can listen to here:
To any young person reading this, do not wait for someone to give you the power, you already have it within you, get up and speak up. It is about the small things you can do in your capacity as a young person wherever you are and the young should know that – ‘if you are not on the table to fight it, you are on the menu. If you don’t get involved in making a decision on your living, then your rights will be stepped on.’
And to our leaders, give us a chance to prove to you that we can. Let’s build the strength of the people to advocate for change and to address the problem of the concentration of power and rebuild power from below and connect across issues, organisations and borders.
There is no need to argue or debate, there is enough evidence, It’s time to act and young people are the future leaders of NOW.
Benjamin is a Programme Coordinator at Restless Development and a young advocate. His work focuses on training young people in employment skills.