By Farah Adan
a Commonwealth Youth Worker Award for his outstanding service in Youth Work in the Africa Region.
Mr. Abdikadir Aden Hassan from Garissa County has made Kenya proud as he has contributed to the development of youth work in the region and this was recognized at the First Africa Region Commonwealth Ministers Meeting in Yaounde, Cameroon.
The award was presented to him by H.E Philemon Yang, The Prime Minister of the Republic of Cameroon and Commonwealth Deputy Secretary General H.E Deodat Maharaj.
Present were Dr. Bidoung Mkpatt, Minister of Youth Affairs and Civic Education, Republic of Cameroon and Kiziah Philbert, Africa Representative, Commonwealth Youth Council.
The Commonwealth Director, Youth Affairs Division Ms Katherine Ellis, has made commitment to support youth workers in the region such as Abdikadir since they contribute a lot to the development of young people in the society.
The high end event was attended by special dignitaries from different countries. Kenya was represented by Mr. Muchiri from the Ministry of Devolution and Planning, Stephen Jalenga, Director of Youth Affairs, Fatuma Abubakar, Vice Chair, National Youth Council, NYC and Janet, Youth Development Officer.
“The future belongs to Africa but I say that the future of Africa is in the hands of it’s young people”, said Abdikadir in his acceptance speech.
He was amongst the key panelist at the meeting in which he made contributions on challenges affecting youth and opportunities in Africa as well as deliberations on the involvement of young people in post 2015 sustainable development goals.
Abdikadir is also among the winners of the Queen’s Young Leaders Award by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth. The Office of the Queen has recognized his efforts for young leadership and inspiration especially to the young people and will be presented to him by the Queen this June.
He comes from an arid and semi-arid region that has been adversely affected by change in climate meaning that he has real life experiences of its major effects and realized that as a young person, he had a big role to play in sustainably managing our environment.
With the fast growing population of Garissa County and Kenya in general, natural resources such as forests and wildlife are under threat. This is as a result of communities aching livelihoods from natural resources.
To ensure balance of nature and combating global warming, Abdikadir has come up with a different approach of engaging young people to safeguard it and utilize their capacities for community development. This has been a long journey.
Coming from an area that has fallen victim of youth unemployment and radicalization, He has engaged young people positively in shaping their future and thus becoming agents of change by engaging them in environmental protection, conservation, restoration and rehabilitation.
He also engages them in green initiatives that have created green jobs to the young people making them self-employed and self-reliant. Being a youth worker, he has made sure that youth issues are always the first priority.
Through his wide networks, Abdikadir has created opportunities for youths from linking them to other opportunities. This includes youth leadership, ICT and sports which has contributed to the development and upgrading of their skills.
Abdikadir has ensured that young people contribute to the development of their communities through building their skills to meet market demands.
He has achieved this through establishment of youth owned and managed agro-forestry tree nurseries that has become a source of economic livelihood for them. They are proud to be self-employed.
All these have been possible through a Youth Organization that is his brain child – Youth for Environmental Sustainability Network (YESNETK). The organization which is comprised of 35 volunteers and 5 officials has made it possible for Mr. Abdikadir to initiate and expand youth work in the entire region.
Under this organization, Abdikadir has been able to increase more participation of women, the disabled youth and special groups in registering community self- help groups that make them benefit from existing financial opportunities and grants, women’s access to micro-finances and enhance more social awareness in the community e.g. peace, HIV/AIDS, Ebola, Malaria, Crime, Food security, Drugs and substance abuse amongst the youth and role of gender in leadership and decision making.
Abdikadir has also urged Ministers from Youth Ministries in the Commonwealth to give the young people all the support they required since they are key stakeholders in the development and stability of the region.
On the same note, early last week, Mr. Abdikadir made a courtesy call on Mr. Stephen Jalenga, Director for Youth Affairs in Uchumi House office in Nairobi where they had great discussions.
Mr. Jalenga has pledged support to young people like Abdikadir who are taking Kenya places and have been in the frontline in moving youth agenda forward for this country.
He has appreciated his effort and has given him full confidence in being part of his ministry.