World Population Day: ‘Investing in Young People’ PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 15 July 2014 15:55

By CECIL J. ABUY

 

Every 11th of July, the entire universe is observing World Population Day. This year’s theme is “Investing in Young People”. Why focused focus on Young People? Because today’s 1.8 billion young people area a powerful force, individually and collectively. They shape the social and economic realities, challenging norms and values and building the foundation of the world’s future.

Governments and the international community are increasingly conscious of the importance of providing resources and opportunities for all young people to reach their full potential as individuals and citizens.  They recognize that investing in young people and enabling them to exercise their human rights not only benefits young people themselves, but can also help their countries reap a demographic dividend. What is demographic dividend? Well, it refers to a period – usually 20 to 30 years – when fertility rates fall due to significant reductions in child and infant mortality rates.

A healthy, educated, productive and fully engaged young people can help break the cycle of intergenerational poverty and are more resilient in the face of individual and societal challenges. As skilled and informed citizens, they can contribute more fully to their communities and nations.

For millions of young people around the world, puberty — the biological onset of adolescence — brings not only changes to their bodies, but also new vulnerabilities to human rights abuses, particularly in the areas of sexuality, marriage and childbearing. Millions of girls are coerced into unwanted sex or marriage, increasing the risks of unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, as well as death or disability due to childbirth.

With the observance of World Population Day 2014, the Commission on Population Regional Office 9 has lined up several activities to commemorate the event. POPCOM 9 is spearheading the celebration in the region and has adopted “Talento del Jovenes, Requesas Requezas del Nacion” (“Galing Kabataan, Yaman ng Bayan”) as the local theme for this year’s celebration.

On the day of the celebration last July 11, a free film showing of the movie “Crossroads”  was held at Paseo del Mar in Zamboanga City starting at 6:00 o’clock in the evening. The movie depicts the perils of risky sexual and non-sexual behaviours and the struggles of today’s youth to realize their dreams.

From July 14 – 18, 2014, a Poster exhibit, output of the Poster Making Contest,  will be held at Ateneo de Zamboanga University. The exhibit is part of the “Galing Kabataan, Yaman ng Bayan” series of activities that aims to gather the gifted and talented  youth in Zamboanga City in an atmosphere of camaraderie and productive creativity. The Poster Making and Poster Exhibit is under the “Galing Likha” category and is open to students from public and private colleges and universities and out-of-school youths. It aims to provide a platform for teenagers to produce poster designs using indigenous materials focused on the theme “Investing in Young People”. The contestants are given the liberty to create poster designs that depict the aspirations and dreams of, by and for the youth of Zamboanga City for generation to come.  .

Galing Kabataan, Yaman ng Bayan  gives the youth of Zamboanga City a platform on which to establish their sense of autonomy and gain respect for the varied and unique voices they bring to their communities. It will also allow them to let their capacities and potentials blossom, their strengths and weaknesses accepted and their special skills contributing to the needs of their peers and their localities. It aims to showcase the creativity of younger population in the field of language, interpersonal, music, kinaesthetic, intrapersonal and spatial skills in observance of World Population Day’s theme.

The Galing Kabataan has three categories, the Galing Talakayan or the “Youth Speak” category where a gathering of the best and brightest teens from public and private high schools in Zamboanga City will discuss societal issues and concerns that affect them. The “Youth Speak”, aims to demonstrate youth skills in interpersonal communication thru the conduct of Young Parliamentarians Forum where it will feature topnotch high school students as they will unleash their persuasive skills in resolving societal issues that directly impact the youth sector. The “Youth Speak: Young Parliamentarian Forum will be held at the Sangguniang Panglungsod Session Hall on Wednesday, July 16, 2014 from 1:00 o’clock to 5:00 p.m.. Resource Persons from LGU-Zamboanga City, NYC, DSWD, DOH, DepEd, CHED and POPCOM will act as facilitators.

On July 16, 2014, a gathering of music, dance and drama groups from various schools and universities in an evening of performances on the theme “investing in Young People” will end the commemoration events. The activity, dubbed as “Sining Galing” hopes to gather the varied abilities of young Zamboanguenos in the field of music, dance and one-act play. This is a three-hour performance showcase that will feature traditional or modern music, dance and play that will serve as an avenue for adolescents and youth to voice out their stake on issues that directly impact their generation.

POPCOM 9 will also launch the U4U, a project under the AHYD Program of POPCOM that hopes to establish Teen Trail Hub initiatives in the different areas in the country. The launching will be held in Pagadian City Zamboanga del Sur National High School on 25th of July. POPCOM 9 will also disseminate the results of the Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality Survey (YAFSS 4) conducted last year where the media and  lifestyles, sexual and non-sexual risky behaviours of young people aged 15-24 were surveyed.