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Youth Volunteerism to Achieve Sustainable Development Goals

By: Felice Valeria, Content Writer Intern Project Child Indonesia

We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.

– Franklin D. Roosevelt

According to the United Nations, there are 1.8 billion people aged between 10-24 in the world, which could be said as the largest generation of youth in history. Hence, the role of youth in advocating for and executing changes seems to be really crucial, especially by taking into account their role as agents of change for the future. In responding to this particular phenomenon, the United Nations has highly distressed and encouraged the active participation of young people to contribute in advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In many countries, particularly the developing and underdeveloped ones, most of the youths are facing several major challenges in terms of SDGs, such as but not limited to the lack of access to education, healthcare, and employment, which eventually would create more structural socio-economic problems in the future. Of course, one of the relatively best and easiest ways to foster their involvement in solving those problems is undoubtedly through volunteering activities.

Volunteerism, which is mostly executed through non-profit organizations, has significantly impacted the stakeholders involved, which include the non-profit themselves, as well as the communities and the youths. Nonprofits could be benefited through the expansion of missions, innovative ideas, enhanced public support, and the cultivation of new supporters and volunteers. Meanwhile, the young people could take advantage in terms of their increase of self-development, which include but not limited to responsibility, empathy, self-esteem, new social skills, improved physical and mental health, interest in learning, and other psychological and intellectual developments. The United Nations itself has recognized volunteer groups as one of the stakeholders to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, that might also considerably foster its national planning and implementation.

It could be seen that volunteerism is a prominent fuel for sustainable development, and it is highly recommended for all communities to get involved. Nonetheless, despite the aforementioned benefits of youth volunteerism, a considerable amount of young people may unfortunately still be discouraged from conducting volunteering activities, which might be caused by the lack of information, lack of time, lack of interest, and so forth. As these problems should be taken into account, volunteerism would definitely provide abundant benefits for the youths and the grass-root communities, especially in the efforts of achieving SDGs. As volunteerism was not featured in the agenda of the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs), despite its significance to be implemented. Further significance and effectiveness of volunteerism could be proven by the fact that countries which have high amount of volunteers are more vibrant in terms of economic and social conditions, according to the statistics by the International Forum for Volunteering in Development. Many aspects that drive poverty could also be gradually resolved from the act of volunteering, such as education, health, employment, and livelihoods, which are the key objectives of the SDGs.

Wait no more, let’s be a volunteer to achieve SDGs hand in hand, young people!