A group of soon 8 Seychellois delegates attended the UN Youth Assembly this summer in New York. They all applied and managed to raise the funds which was a mixture of grants from different organisations, while some were self-funded. The delegates took part in a programme that focuses on training on sustainable development and ways of achieving the SDGs. The delegates also had brilliant opportunities such as attending seminars at Fairleign Dickinson University, Sustainable DC, IMF, visit the World Bank, as well as have the project pitching opportunities.
The first part of the package, SVSD, was held in Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey which taught the delegates vital skills in building and developing a social venture. During the orientation, they understood the difference between corporate social responsibility and social entrepreneurship, merits of conducting a profit or non-profit organisation in addition to looking at various case studies such as Grameen Bank. Prior to the program, groups of delegates identified a social venture project which would tackle a pressing social need. Upon meeting their peer mentors on the first day of the four-day program, we started compiling our group presentation which was to be delivered on the final day. Over the course of pitching their presentation to their peers and judges, they navigated the strengths of constructing a viable social venture from identifying the social need, proposing a unique and creative solution, identifying resources, developing a project plan and measuring the impact of the venture. Given the various social needs plaguing our society, these newly augmented skills will be instrumental for our youth delegates to implement social ventures locally.
"The Youth Assembly at the United Nations (UN) headquarters in New York was the penultimate section of the package. Delegates were briefed on the pillars of the UN namely peace & security, human rights and development & humanitarian aid. In conjunction, a tour of the Trusteeship Council Chamber and Economic and Social Council allowed the delegates to understand the formalities of decision-making. We also had the opportunity to visit the Permanent Mission of Canada to the UN where we were privy to their responsibilities and duties. The opening ceremony of the Youth Assembly was kicked off in the grandiose General Assembly hall which was graced by the President of the 71st General Assembly, permanent representatives of Kenya, Portugal and Sri Lanka. The next two days included various workshops and panels where social, economic and environmental aspects were deliberated by experts and youth delegates. Overall, we were exposed to issues that are often not witnessed in our societies and observed innovative solutions to counteract the multitude of social ills. As delegates, we understood the power of networking and the importance of constantly evolving our strategies to tackle issues in a viable and effective manner." a participant said.
The final leg of the package in Washington D.C. entailed visits to international organisations dedicated towards the cross-sectoral implementation of SDGs. Delegates had the opportunity to visit United Nations Association of the United States of America (UNA-USA), Sustainable D.C., World Bank and International Monetary Fund. At each venue, delegates were offered an insight into the functions of the institution. Thus, this experience enabled delegates to gather experience from local and global institutions by communicating with experts from different sectors. Furthermore, it was an informative avenue to learn about the local and global implementation of SDGs which could provide inspiration for future projects.
Considering Seychelles has been represented only twice out of the 20 sessions of the Youth Assembly, this experience placed our nation on the global map for our interpersonal skills, innovative ideas and our participation towards accomplishing SDGs. Continued representation in the Assembly will showcase our progress as a nation and highlight our contributions as global youth. For our delegates, this event proved to be a stimulus towards becoming more socially-conscious individuals where we hope to inspire the youth of Seychelles to do the same. Ultimately, each of the eight delegates are now equipped with social and entrepreneurial skills while the exemplary networking opportunities will greatly benefit Seychelles through dialogue, mentorship and greater capacity to enact SDGs.