Creating Safe Spaces through Sport
For young people to thrive in an environment where they are underrepresented, and their perspectives often unrecognized, they need safe spaces! August 12th marks the International Youth Day. To mark the occasion this year, Education as a Vaccine (EVA) joined other youth-led and youth-focused organizations to commemorate the day with a novelty match and mock election on 11th August.
Youth need safe spaces where they can come together, fully take part in activities like sports related to their varied needs and interests, participate in decision-making processes and express themselves on issues of governance, civic engagement, education, as well as health. The football competition was a 5-aside march where a winner finally emerged.
Amidst fun and excitement, young people from different organisations and individuals from Abuja municipality gathered to cheer up their counterparts involved in the match- YouthHub Africa (YHA), Education as a Vaccine (EVA), Ace Charity and Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth and Advancement (YIAGA).
On the mock election, all participating organisations understood that achieving the agenda 2030 is a collective effort, and no goal should be left behind. To galvanise support for goals each organization represented, there was a pitch for
each goal, with its relevance to actualizing the 2030 agenda. In her pitch on behalf of EVA, Eno-Obong Ekwere spoke on goal 3- good health and well-being. “Health is wealth, because, good health means education, good governance, and without it, no other SDG will be achieved”, Eno-obong stated as she called on all to vote for goal 3.
Recognising the role and importance of young people during the event, the Executive Director of Education as a Vaccine, Olabukunola Williams gave her support to young people. She shared her interest in the commemoration because of a large number of youths in Nigeria. According to her, “they have the energy and ideas and we need to provide platforms and create the enabling environment for them to channel them into something productive.”
She further called for good and quality education for the 60 per cent Nigeria population- youth, so they can reach their highest potentials. “This competition is very good so that we can come together, not just to create awareness, but to take action and show the world that we are capable of”, Williams said.
In the same vein, the Executive Director, of YouthHub Africa, Rotimi Olawale described football as a sport that brings the world, especially, young people together. He implored all youth to come together with a focus on building a better Nigerian, with a call on government to invest in young people. “My advice to the youth is that they should all come together, work together to build the Nigeria of our dreams”, he explained.
Education as a Vaccine and partners remain committed to providing young people, through innovative ways, with safe spaces that will create an enabling environment, and make them reach their full potentials.