As part of activities to commemorate International Youth Day 2016, Rivers State Ministry of Youth Development in collaboration with the Rivers State Sustainable Development Goals Office organized a one-day workshop on “Youth Leading Sustainability” at the Public Hearing Hall, Rivers State House of Assembly Complex on Wednesday, 10th August 2016.

The workshop started at about 11:15 a.m. with the National Anthem and a welcome address by Honourable Mrs. Toru Ofili, the Special Adviser to the Rivers State Governor on Sustainable Development Goals. Honourable Mrs. Toru Ofili in her address stated that the youth are not just our future but the future, stressing that she is already “walking-her-talk” by setting up a technical team comprised of young people. She asked that today, youth in Rivers State should take up the responsibility to lead the implementation of the SDGs. She concluded by asking young people to proactively engage with the Rivers State Sustainable Development Goals Office to make the SDGs work.

Afterwards, the keynote address was delivered by the Honorable Commissioner of Youth; Honourable Kingsley Ogbobula. In the address, the honourable commissioner thanked the Governor whom he called “Youth-friendly” for supporting and making available funds for the youth week activities including the workshop. He stated that youth have an important role to play in making things happen and that though he is an advocate for youth agitation, it had to be within the confines of the law. He concluded by encouraging the youth present at the workshop to forget their inefficiencies and interact freely with other participants and the speakers.

The facilitation session started with Mr. Sam Adejoh Okedi, a Social Entrepreneur, speaking on the SDGs and the role of Youth in Implementation. The facilitation session was very interactive as Mr. Sam Okedi asked the participants why they thought the SDGs failed and what the major differences between the MDGs and the SDGs were.

Speakers of a Panel Session held after our presentations and members of the Rivers State SDGs Technical Committee
Speakers of a Panel Session held after our presentations and members of the Rivers State SDGs Technical Committee

The invited speakers included Miss. Jennifer Uchendu, Founder of Susty Vibes, who spoke on ‘Youth Leading Sustainability through Community Engagement’.  She elaborated on the informal and practical methods she employs to take the SDGs to the grassroots and how she is bringing youth together to learn how they can start something about the SDGs and their future; Mr. Aquila Kalagbor, CEO of Silicon South Tech, spoke on ‘Youth leading Sustainability through Technology’. He also develops software solutions to strengthen best practices in the Agricultural sector and encouraged the attendees to solve the problems around them leveraging on ; Mr. Ebenezar Wikina, Digital Journalist & Curator of the Port Harcourt Global Shapers Hub, spoke on ‘Youth Leading Sustainability through New Media’ stressing on ways young people can become active advocates of the SDGs and demand accountability from government ministries and agencies directly concerned with the one or more of the 17 SDGs.

Other speakers included the team from the United Nations Institute of Training and Research (UNITAR). The Workshop on Youth Leading Sustainability also had a panel discussion with specially invited guests as panelists. These guests included; Mr. Tunji Joseph, the Lead Consultant of Lyseis Forte; Miss. Onimim Karibo, the CEO of Fifi’s Food House, Miss Jennifer Uchendu, Founder Susty Vibes, Mr Temple Onwukanjo, Founder of Temple Hills Consulting, Mr Aquila Kalagbor, CEO of Silicon South Technologies, Mr Ebenezar Wikina, Digital Journalist & Curator of Port Harcourt Global Shapers, and Representative from the United Nations Institute of Training and Research. The conversation was moderated by Mrs Bitebo Gogo, Founder and Executive Director or Keeping It Real Foundation.

‘The Role of the Rivers Youth in Eradicating Poverty and Achieving Sustainable Development through Sustainable Consumption and Production’ was the topic for the panel discussion. Highlights of the Panelists Discussion include;

  1. Rivers State youth do not need to be in farms to be farmers. The Agricultural value chain needs to be explored by youth.
  2. Social media and technology have to be employed to ensure visibility for youth as the world is now a global village.

After the panel discussion, the workshop rounded off with the presentation of certificates to attendees, photography sessions with guests and speakers, and refreshment.

Source:  Rivers State Sustainable Development Goals Office