So many youths now doing one thing or the other; from having NGOs and Initiatives to organizing seminars, conferences, and meetings to address some issues such as leadership, environment, social responsibility, and to top the list – entrepreneurship.
I recently had the chance to walk up to some youths and talk to them. The typical conversation went thus:
Me: What do you do?
You: I have an NGO/Initiative /Organization/Forum
Me: That’s good. What do you do?
You: I am into youth empowerment.
Me: Hmmm, What is your approach?
You: I teach them to become leaders
Me: How do you do that exactly?
You: I organize conferences and teach them.
Now, for me this is upsetting, as it seems the Change here is more of words and not actions. Of course there is a need to teach people about these things, but then Change Agent goes past that.
As my Cultural Anthropology teacher would say: “There is need for field-work!” We need to ACT-PLAN-CHECK-DO! You would need to ACT due to your reaction to things in your surroundings. Then PLAN on your approach – be specific in the problem you are addressing. Youth Empowerment is just too ambiguous to be what you are actually doing. Yes! You are empowering youth, but to what end? It could be youth empowerment so as to have a cleaner environment. So you should know: What are you going to do? What approach are you going to take? Why are you empowering ourselves? Why do you invent leaders?
There is also a need for evaluation. CHECK if what you doing falls in line with your goals. Use evaluation procedures and systems, advisers, to see if you are still on track and then DO all you can to really effect the change.
They say teach a man to fish, instead of giving him fish. This can be likened to the empowering one to be a change agent. However, if the man you teach to fish does not go out to the pool to catch the fish, and instead goes to teach another man to fish; causing a chain of trained fishermen who do not go to the waters to practice, you would still have yourself a hungry flock. In fact, the quality of the empowering (teachings) diminishes as it goes along, because of the lack of the impact phase – where the knowledge gained and skill acquired is put into use.
In AIESEC Nigeria, our approach to raising change agents is hands-on. Our members not only learn about the need to positively have an effect on the society, they get to engage in activities that achieve this aim. They get to live through real life leadership experience, they don’t just read about leadership in textbooks. They get to experience cultural exchange by taking part in AIESEC’s internships; they don’t just read about the need for tolerance and cultural sensitivity.
I salute all Change Agents out there, and do encourage you to continue with your motivation in doing what you want to do, but always come back to the drawing board; else more harm would be done than good.
About Nubi Kayode
NUBI, Kayode is member of AIESEC in Turkey, and currently on the National Support Team of AIESEC in Nigeria, as the Creative Director. He’s currently in his final year (400L) Electrical Electronics Engineering (Computers) at the Eastern Mediterranean University, Northern Cyprus, and looks forward to having a Ph.D. in Management of Information Science. Having gained experience in various organizations – AIESEC, IEEE, EESTEC, Challenge Future, to mention a few, he is always looking forward to avenues, opportunities and platforms to effect change – locally and globally