Youth’s Power to Fight Inequality
Three young people from the Mekong region were excited to attend the Global Youth Summit on Inequality as part of the 2016 World Social Forum. The Youth Summit was organized by Oxfam and youth partners and allies in Montreal city of Québec, Canada on 10th -11th August 2016.
With financial support from Oxfam, the three Mekong youth were able to connect with about 100 youths from 25 countries across the globe to create a network of young people, to propose solutions, and drive initiatives to reduce inequalities that affect them.
“Youth represents almost half of the world’s population. Even though more people recognize that they are the change agent, often they remain excluded from decision making process. Youth voices are still limited. They are not consulted and don’t have space to voice out their ideas and concerns. Youth in the Mekong region are no exception to this,” said So Thavin, Youth Officer for Oxfam Mekong Regional Water Governance Program. Thavin hoped to bring back with many good best practices and initiative ideas for improving the Mekong youth program.
Thavin added that the inequality in participation happens because of three main reasons: the lack of information reaches out to youth; the limitation of space and opportunity for youth to express their ideas and concerns; and the culture norm that people believe the decision should be made by the elderly people in which the value of youth participation are not recognized.
“I want to see youth from all over the world becomes an active citizen to engage in decision making process on issues that affect them,” said Sar Mory, Vice-president of Cambodian Youth Network, who expected to show his curiousness to learn from the summit.
“Youth have to learn from the elderly people and able to replace them for a better future,” said Chap Kanitha, a female Mekong youth representative from Cambodian Volunteers for Society who expected to learn more about the summit in Canada and to share the learnt experiences from the summit with other youths.
Mekong youth project aim to create opportunities for young people to increase their leadership skills and able to meaningfully participate in the decision making process regarding water governance and environmental protection.