Mauritius prides itself in being an emerging and thriving state economy with new and innovative sectors such as the financial services, natural resources and the ocean. These sectors are being developed to ensure a sustainable future for the coming generations. Consequently, it is only fair to ensure that youth should be involved in such matters. However, youth involvement seems to be a lost concept in Mauritian society. Why should youth be involved in policy making? Can they create any meaningful impact? These questions are generally asked to and by young professionals who want to contribute to the improvement of society. However, they are then quietly put on a back bench whilst the politicians and policy-makers keep on fighting their battles by themselves.
Youth, employed or unemployed, have a lot to say about how they believe the society should be. These unheard voices are slowly making their way up the ladder by undertaking an immense amount of voluntary work through different local and international organisations. It is widely accepted that young people undertake more voluntary work than any other category. Youth empowerment has attained an unprecedented rise in Mauritian society; we only need to look at the amount of organisations being set up – from the Global Shapers Community to Junior Chamber International- They all have the sole purpose of empowering youth, to ensure that their voices are being heard and to bring a change to society.
There needs to be a change for the Mauritian Youth – they want to bring about a change to society and they should be given a fair chance. This can be done on so many levels- from youth committees and open dialogues to including them in workshops and consultation papers. But what can youth bring one may ask? I would say we can bring a lot; we bring another vision, a better one, one with more hope. A lot of people would criticise our inexperience but we are also here to learn, to make mistakes but at least we are trying to make a change. Youth can undoubtedly bring in more transparency, dynamism, candor and faith into a system that is slowly losing its past vigour and worth. This change, of course, can only be accomplished gradually and it is not essential to phase out older people for such a purpose. What is required is a change in the attitudes and newer perspectives.
The need to change is here and the will to make this happen from the youth is here! So we just need more initiatives from the relevant authorities to be part of their national endeavours: Open your doors to us for, after all, aren’t we all fighting for the one and same goal?
* Published in print edition on 23 August 2013