Youth Leads #4: There’s a buzz at the Youth Leads Head Quarters

11 Jun 2015

The Youth Leads are now in the fourth week of their assignment, and the office has become a hive of activity, and it is finally my turn to blog on our busy yet insightful week!

Our week was kick-started with a discussion with a leading Telecommunications Company in Sri Lanka, which has a strong focus on carrying forward the innovations agenda through technology-based innovations. The Youth Leads, having gone in with a clear agenda to integrate innovations in solving developmental issues, found the meeting to be refreshing and immensely motivating as the agendas of both entities fit like a hand and glove.

Hopping from one exciting event to another seemed to be the theme of the week. The team got the opportunity to attend a Youth Mechanism meeting, a monthly meeting where youth focal points attached to all UN agencies gather. The guest speaker for the meeting chose an issue that was contentious and fragile in the present societal context – sexual abuse of youth in Sri Lanka. While the speaker provided much information, the discussion that ensued thereafter probably stole the limelight. Through this discussion it was evident that there is much left to do in terms of protecting youth and children, and we are definitely armed with the right knowledge and conviction to achieve that goal.

Over the past weeks, my colleagues have been writing about the upcoming conference where UNDP will partner with the Organisation of Professional Associations (OPA) for the annual conference themed Innovations for Sustainable Development. As a part of our regular planning meetings we attended a briefing at the OPA office, which was particularly insightful as we were able to pitch our creative ideas in ensuring innovations were weaved in to the two day conference. Thereby walking the talk on the importance of innovations in implementing effective solutions to address modern day challenges. Working together as a team, we have also been assigned in to our respective cluster focal points, this week manifested the first combined project amongst two clusters under the purview of the Leads. The Governance and policy cluster held preliminary discussions on the development and implementation of technological means of addressing pressing issues in good governance.   

While the Leads’ had an interesting and eventful fourth week, as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. It was with heavy hearts that we bid adieu to Thilini, our ‘innovations expert’ whose support was instrumental in recruiting, training, and most importantly, inspiring us. We all recall Thilini’s presentation on UNDP innovations during our induction, where we were all just blown away – not just by the sheer simplicity of the ideas - but the prolonged social impact that they had created.

Throughout our past four weeks we have learned that time sure does start to fly by fast, which is a good sign, because we have so much to do, so much to change and so many youth to empower that 24 hours in a day just does not suffice.  But we will keep on trying, pushing and convincing – because in the end we are here to make a change. 

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