Nkem Uwaje who recently returned from her trip to Austria and the USA to be part of the Winners Events of the World Summit Youth Award (WSYA), a programme supported by the UN GAID (UN General Alliance for Information Technology and Development), which took part during the UN MDG Review Summit.
World Leaders from all over the glove convened in New York City to discuss the MDGs, which according to the MDG Summit in the year 2000, should be implemented by 2015.
Living in a developing country like Nigeria we all know that we are very far away from the implementation of the MDGs, thus policy makers, UN officials and the youth came together to discuss in New York.
The WSYA, an online contest for the world’s best interactive content focused on the MDGs, is the clearest way youths can take a stand and show world leaders how to take action and how best to implement the MDGs using ICT.
The WSYA events in New York consisted of visits to demonstrations like Stand Up New York, panel discussions with UN GAID officials, the Minister for ICT of Macedonia, Executives from the Internet Society, Intel, Bloomberg and Wunderman, as well as presentations of all winning projects.
Nkem who spoke passionately recently at the Nigeria Internet Group e-business roundtable, says:” I am truly inspired by the young leaders of tomorrow who have decided to take action today by developing high quality and interactive e-content focused on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
The World Leaders met in New York last week to talk about the MDGs and whether they can realistically be implemented by 2015. In the mean time the 2010 WSYA Winners plotted new ways of implement the MDGs using their skills in social media, digital media, animations, blogging etc.
Taking action and standing up for the implementations of the MDGs – this is what Leung Chun San from China did with his project ANTI HIVIRUS (www.vir.us) in the WSYA Category “Fight Hunger Poverty and Disease”. This is my all time favourite project and even though I have looked at it a million times I still get excited about the quality and the innovation behind this amazing project. What is sad is that the project is from China and not from Africa or more specifically Nigeria. I wish the Nigerian and African youth would take more action, stand up for their rights and show the world what they are capable of, that they too have skills and access to the tools needed to create fabulous local content.
In a further chat with her, she says” As an ambassador of the WSYA I have made it my quest to do more than my usual call for submissions and awareness campaign when the 2011 WSYA approach us. I will try my best to share my knowledge and experience with Nigerian youth and equip them with the knowledge, skills and most of all tools (which are mainly open source and freely available). I hope to see more Winners from Nigeria in 2011 (this year there were 2 Winners from Nigeria – Mr. Nnaemeka Ikegwuonu and Mr. Dotun Adewunmi). Let us take the MDGs into our own hands today!”
Nkem also attended the UN Digital Media lounge where all journalists and members of the press, bloggers from all over the world convene to report on the UN MDG Review Summit. “It was an amazing experience”, she says! There were talks from representatives of the World Bank, NGOs, ICT Experts and many more. She sat amidst journalists reporting real time using their laptops and the free wireless connections. Nigeria at 50 has a long way to go, but if policy makers, NGOs, the UN and the youth work hand in hand we will be able to achieve the MDGs.
The engagement of the youth is key. Capacity building and skill development, as well as education and awareness about the MDGs and how every youth can contribute to their implementation is what Nigeria should be discussing on her 50 year jubilee.
We need to move the country forward and leverage on technology to do so. Let’s not get left behind, let’s cultivate and invest in our youth to ensure that we will all be proud when Nigeria turns 100.