Minister of State for Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment Hussain Ismail,
UNFPA Country Director for the Maldives Mr Kunle Adheni, Special Advisor on Social Policy Dr. Musthafa Lutfi, Officials from the Ministry of Youth and Health Ministry,
Delegates from UNFPA, attendees and facilitators of this training program, and most importantly my dear youth;
And a very good morning to you all.
It is my pleasure to join you all today as you are about to start this ambitious and promising Peer Educators Training of Trainers program.
A significant portion of our population consists of youth, with more than forty-three percent of our total population falling between the ages of 18 and 35. This administration understands the importance of providing ample opportunities and guidance to the youth to develop themselves and prosper. The Government’s youth policy is framed towards strengthening the governance framework to respond well to youth issues, enhancing social outcomes for young people and supporting young women and men gain economic empowerment.
President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s Government believes that one of the most effective ways to increase the welfare of the youth is to provide opportunities for them to obtain a quality education. As I have said before on many platforms, education is a great enabler. It enables you to live up to your own dreams and ambitions. It also enables the youth to live up to the dreams of our nation, of building a more prosperous and happier society. That is why this administration has provided free higher education to the undergraduate level, numerous scholarships and grants for overseas studies. We are also expanding vocational training and human development opportunities for the youth. Our Administration is determined to provide even more opportunities to at least 25,000 students by the end of 2023.
Ladies and Gentlemen, my dear youth,
We are living through challenging and difficult times. The Covid-19 pandemic ravaged the world, and just as we were coming out of it, the world is faced with numerous economic challenges because of the Russian-Ukraine conflict. The consequences of these events will be felt by all of us including our youth. In order to mitigate them, it is important that we adapt our lifestyles in such a way where we are better able to absorb these shocks and come out of them unscathed. There is also a need more than any other time in the history to prepare resilience and to build a better team for tomorrow. Through all of this, our goal is to protect our economy, livelihoods and the future of our youth.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Our youth will not be able to overcome these challenges without ample guidance, love and support. Our young women and men need to be informed of the opportunities available and guided through them by people they look up to and trust from society. It is even more effective, if those people are their peers. Youth are just like them. That is why, programs like the one we are starting today are important.
The participants of today’s program have an important role to play. As you step out in to your communities after this training, utilize the skills from it to invigorate change within your communities. Tell your friends and family what you have learned. Look out for the mental and physical well-being of the youth in your communities. Inform them the various opportunities available to help them achieve their goals. Give them the gentle nudges and the tough love where appropriate to keep them on the path. Don’t be afraid to tell them of your own struggles and ambitions, and how you continue to overcome them. Be their peer. And be their mentor.
Our youth needs kindness and patience to overcome the challenges they face today. As a last piece of advice, I would like to ask you all as peer mentors, to demonstrate respect, kindness, punctuality, and most importantly independent thinking. Show our youth how to be self-reliant, and how to stand on their own feet. Support them as they say no to substance abuse and violence, and encourage better communal practices such as careful driving. If we work together as a community, our future is surely going to be prosperous.
I hope this program also leads to a lot of growth for you all personally. I encourage you to utilize the wide peer network to expand your local and global networks. I would like to thank the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment, other government agencies and the UNFPA for providing this opportunity for our young Maldivians
I wish you all well and a productive training over the next few days.
Thank you very much!