by May Aung Su, Myanmar
On November, 7, 2012, there were nearly ninety of youths in a dark meeting hall under the little hot weather and time was 5:00pm in the evening. Nevertheless, we still listened keenly the presentation of friends about the issues explored and discussed the whole day, even though the electricity was lost for a while when the time is getting dark. You might ask what the discussion was and what for. All youths would say “Yes, we do have strong reasons for being here on that day”. That day was Yangon Youth Workshop organized by the Networking and Communication Committee which is emerged from the strategic workshop for becoming Myanmar Youth Forum on 2012 under the lead and organized by youths who attended Asian Youth Forum, youths from My Forum, youths from NGOs and other interesting individual youths for the purpose of emerging youth network over the whole country, policies for youths ‘opportunity, responsibility and rights and raising youths’ voices which is reflected youths’ current situation, difficulties and challenge.
Before the Myanmar Youth Forum (12 December 2012), there would be the youth forums of seven states and seven divisions over the whole country. Yangon Youth Workshop was the first workshop among those forums and from the workshop, we would have the Yangon Youth Statements which is represented the issues, ideas, suggestions and voices of youths within Yangon Division. In the workshop, there were sixty seven of youths as participants from NGOs, individuals, universities, and youths from politics sector and even from associations for disability and total is nearly ninety by adding organizers, reporters and observers under the facilitation of organizers from Networking and Communication Committee (MYF). After the MYF presentation of committee and introduction each other, organizers/facilitators collected every issues from each of youths. By discussion for the main issues, advising on the issues and getting agreements, we were being able to finalize the main eleven issues from all of participants. The following are “The Main Eleven Yangon Youths’ Issues”:
(1) Youth and Education (2) Youth and Job opportunity (3) Youth and Environment (4) Youth and Information Technology (including media) (5) Youth and Health (6) Youth and Leadership/Empowerment (7) Youth and Politics (8) Youth and Human Rights (9) Youth and Peace (10) Youth and Culture and Art (11) Youth and Narcotic/ Drugs
In advance discussion section on each issue, everyone in the workshop set the criteria of being a representative on behalf of all youths in Yangon Division. Twenty of youths among youths who participated in the workshop would be selected as the representatives for Myanmar Youth Forum by voting of every participant. Then everyone chose freely to discuss and focus on one issue by exploring background history, finding root causes and stakeholders, policy recommendations and youth commitment. Therefore as we have eleven issues, eleven group discussions were organized and there were representatives who nominated and selected from the each group for being voted to become representatives of Yangon Division for MYF. During the nominated representatives’ presentation, the rest of youths voted at the same time.
Personally, I do believe that everything is not enough by only asking to the superior for fulfillment of everyone, but everyone has to start doing things as much as we can from where we are. Therefore I think as personally, youth commitment is a vital role of the day of workshop. Finally even though, we have a few things not smooth in the workshop, nevertheless we, as youths did have great discussion on important issues and twenty valuable Yangon youth representatives for MYF successfully. Now under the guiding, organizing of the committees of Myanmar Youth Forum and active participation of youths, we strongly believe we are on the right track to the way of brighter future by making, collecting and raising our voices.
Our Voices! Our Rights! Our Society!