Youth-led healing for Africa: Amid and post-COVID

This page in:
Kidus Fikremariam is the 2021 Blog4Dev winner from Ethiopia Kidus Fikremariam is the 2021 Blog4Dev winner from Ethiopia

This is one of 38 winning blogs from the 2021 Blog4Dev competition, the World Bank Africa annual writing contest, inviting young people to weigh in on a topic critical to their country’s economic development. Blog4Dev winners responded to the question: How can young people work with their governments and civil society organizations to respond to the impact of COVID-19 and build a stronger post-pandemic economic and social system?

With daily reports of infections and lives lost, along with schools, workplaces, and public places shut down, one has to simply look around to observe the impact of COVID-19 (coronavirus) on our world.

Compared to the rest of the world, the impact of COVID-19 in Africa has been relatively low. So far, numbers show that there are 1.7 million confirmed cases, and the death toll surpasses 50,000 [NB: The blog was submitted in November 2020]. Despite the relatively low impact, it has not failed to hinder various social, economic, and political activities on the continent. The continent is learning to adapt and move forward; and although the process might be very slow, potential solutions lie within.

Apart from its natural resources, Africa's greatest wealth is its youth. More than 60 percent of the continent's population is under the age of 25. Hence, one could easily imagine the potential that lies within these numbers. The following can be a few ways in which the youth can work with governments and civil society to respond to the impact of COVID-19.

1. Volunteerism

Volunteerism can be a reliable source of manpower and a great way to save money during these times of crisis. With the closure of schools and universities, most of Africa's youth are now at home. This means they have the time and energy to help in many different ways. The youth can volunteer in schools: for example, helping younger students catch up on their lessons and filling-in the shortage of teachers. With short-term training given by government and/or CSOs, the youth can also help in the health sector by providing care and facilitating various social support programs to patients.

Therefore, government and civil society should help in mobilizing, training, and deploying volunteer youth. 

2. Trend Creation

The youth is highly regarded for its influence in trending pop-culture. With the use of social media ever increasing, the youth can use different platforms to spread accurate and relevant information. 

Art is also one of the many things keen to the youth. Its implementation helps reframe the way of thinking in the society and could change the negative attitude of the African community towards protective measures, such as social distancing and mask wearing. By producing creative and informative content, the youth can assist government and civil society in informing the general public.

3. Innovation

Africa needs, now more than ever, a lot of talented and creative youth.  Government and civil society should create opportunities and platforms in which the youth can generate many different solutions to address the impact of the pandemic. This would create African solutions for African problems, making the solutions sustain for generations. 

In conclusion, to encourage the youth and sustain its contributions, government and civil society need to create conducive platforms, provide the necessary support, and ensure recognition. This collaboration is important not only to heal Africa but also to make it stronger.

Kidus Fikremariamis the 2021 Blog4Dev winner from Ethiopia. See the full list of 2021 Blog4Dev winners here, and read their blog posts.


Kidus Fikremariam

Winner of the 2021 Blog4Dev competition for Ethiopia.

Join the Conversation

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly
Remaining characters: 1000