By: Cielo Chávez Serrano, Kimberly Rosas Tejada and Yakelin Zarate Aldana
Currently, there are more than 1 800 million young people between 10 and 24 years old, representing the largest generation of young people in the history of humanity (UNESCO, 2018). This population plays an important role because they are in charge of our society’s development and they are the agents of change who will contribute to many realities happening, and this is because most of them live different realities and they need to face particular structural conflicts. However, even though young people have a positive strength capable of motivating more people to achieve activities with collective goals, sometimes a lot of them do not get involved in the look for social impact actions. This situation happens due to the lack of interest of young people to carry out activities or due to the lack of distribution of spaces where they can develop their capacities.
Youth = Strength
Regarding this topic, it is necessary to understand what youth means. According to Palazzo (2007), youth is a term that comes from the etymological root Juventus, which derives from the Latin juvenis, “belongs to Jupiter”, the Latin god in charge of providing energy and vigor to his protected people. This brief semantic review is necessary to understand the transversal element of the young concept: strength. This characteristic is even more valuable when we remember strength as a status, which means, a permanent situation. Considering these aspects renew the current perspective we have over the young people, people who besides the fact they are moving from adolescence to adult life, they do have the strength gift. Young people are the motor of the country, the first ones who spread complaints on social networks, the first ones who offer to support others, and the first ones who fight for fair causes. However, the current reality seems to contradict this affirmation by qualifying young people as disinterested and indifferent to social problems.
Celebration of the International Day of Youth
In 1999, the United Nations Organization (UNO) proposes to celebrate the International Day of Youth each August 12, to promote the participation of young people in the pursuit of solutions to social problems (UNESCO, 2018).
The objective of this celebration is to involve more young people in the work in favor of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In 2015, the United Nations Organization members, worldwide citizens, and many ONGs proposed to develop goals to reach 3 levels of sustainable development: economic, social, and environmental areas. For this, it was established 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 objectives until 2030 (ONU, 2015).
Facing this situation, various institutions from countries all around the world have established as one of their base and foundations of their formation, the achievement of one specific SDG. The most common one among the youth organizations in Peru is SDG 4: Education of quality, and the National Secretary of Youth (SENAJU) is the State’s organism in charge of elaborating and proposing policies related to youth, by promoting and supervising programs and projects that will benefit the young people (SENAJU, 2019)
UPS: Organization that works in favor of the achievement of SDG 4
In our country, there are various institutions whose purpose is to achieve SDG 4 due to the increasing need to bring education to diverse regions of Peru, because until now, there are still problems to democratize education in rural areas of our Peruvian territory.
For this, one of the youth organizations registered by SENAJU is United Peruvian Youth (UPY), an organization constituted in 2019, whose purpose is to empower Peruvian young people, for them to be capable of contributing through their active participation in activities related to the achievement of the SDGs. UPS is an organization that works with young people from different departments at the national level and is focused on social impact.
UPY contributes to the development of SDG 4: Education of Quality, by empowering the youngest to take action in favor of society. However, this is not just limited to this objective, through the conferences or workshops, UPY wants to promote young people to take initiatives that can solve social problems like the lack of education in provinces, the inefficient Peruvian Educational System, or the difficulties young people face to be agents of change in their communities due to the stigma that young people are not capable to assume leadership roles.
In this situation, UPY wants to educate Peruvian not just by spreading information, but also with courses that are needed nowadays to face globalized and technological development. Regarding this, UPY’s next event is the “UPY Conference”, a project whose purpose is to teach a new model of problem-solving through a current like Design Thinking. This will allow Peruvian young people to learn how to solve problems dynamically and that can be applied in diverse regions of the country. By doing this, UPY expands the promotion of the manager and action role of Peruvian young people.
UPY: A Youth Impact Organization
Nowadays, the young participants in the achievement of the SDGs in the country create a community of Peruvian leaders who believe in change, and a change in the education of quality to achieve sustainable development and conflict prevention. In UPY, we want to empower young people from new generations and stimulate their development through the exchange of knowledge and experiences, following a line of harmony, respect, and inclusion, believing in the productive and creative capacity of the new generations, allowing the creation of new leaders who can contribute to the achievement of the SDGs.
There are more and more young activists with new perspectives of the world, which proves the importance of youth organizations like UPY, which aims to transform the world through ideas, consolidation, and structuration of projects aligned with the SDGs, which play a role in the promotion of the agenda 2030. To achieve a less violent and equal society, we, as agents of change, have the potential to take actions that impact favor of transforming the world into a better place for all. Jose Marti (1895) was right when he said: “Youth is the age of growing and development, activity and liveliness, imagination and energy”.
Martí, J. (1895). Phrases for the International Day of Youth
United Nations Organization. (2015). What are the SDGs? – Sustainable Development Goals. https://ods.mma.gob.cl/que-son-los-ods/
Palazzo, M. (Septiembre, 2007). Naming the Youth: SPEECHES AND REPRESENTATIONS OF UN. VII Conferences of Translation and terminology. CETRATER- Faculty of Philosophy and Literature - UNT, San Miguel de Tucumán.
UNESCO. (2018). International Day of Youth.
United Peruvian Youth. (s.f.). Introduction - United Peruvian Youth. https://www.unitedperuvianyouth.com/copia-de-upy-aprende
United Peruvian Youth. (2022). Socially Responsible Young people. https://www.unitedperuvianyouth.com/post/j%C3%B3venes-socialmente-responsables
Secretaria Nacional de la Juventud. (2019). SENAJU – Who are we?. https://juventud.gob.pe/quienes-somos/