Written by James Okere


In 1998 a United Nations (UN) resolution proclaiming August 12th as International Youth Day was adopted during the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth. In 1999, UN General Assembly further endorsed the recommendation. On 12th August 2000, the first International Youth Day was celebrated. This celebration has continued every 12th August till date. The declaration of International Youth Day and subsequent celebrations were to create an avenue for World Youth mobilization and sensitization by countries and her institutions to become better persons in the society including wealth in creation. These sensitization spanning in areas including education, socio-economic, employment issues etc are supported by governments, civil society groups, organizations, individuals, communities at local level, national and at international levels.

The maxim, the youths as future leaders can only be achieved in an atmosphere where the youths have been inculcated with the right values of life; for which International Youths Day advocates for.

Each year’s International Youth Day goes with a particular theme. For this year 2016 the theme is “The Road To 2030: Eradicating Poverty and Achieving Sustainable Production and Consumption”. The theme of the year’s celebration is to recognize the importance of youths efforts in ensuring poverty eradication and achieving sustainable development ofThe 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. The Theme is practical and forward thinking geared towards sustainable human development for a better society to be realized.

However, my topic of discuss would centre on: The Road To 2030: Eradicating Poverty and Achieving Sustainable Development through Reading Amongst the Youths. The 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda has amongst others goals; the eradicating of poverty in the land. The agenda recognizes that eradicating poverty is of the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development. The 2030 Sustainable Development resolved to free the human race from the tyranny of poverty and want to heal and secure our planet including maintenance of peace in the land.

Further to the above, the goals of 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda includes; People (to end poverty and hunger in all their forms and dimension), Planet (to protect the planet from degradation), Prosperity (to enable human beings enjoy prosperous ad fulfilled lives), Peace ( in the society to achieve sustainable there must be peace) and Partnership (building global solidarity for Global Partnership in this regard).

The role reading plays amongst the youths towards ending poverty and achieving sustainable development through sustainable production and consumption is the central focus of this paper. The role of the young ones in ending poverty is very important hence the topic on reading by the young ones.

Reading will build in the youths with new knowledge, information and skills of one and another leading to resolving conflict in the society which aid sustainable development.

Reading will give the youths the motivation and skills to contribute towards transforming their societies into safe, secure and productive environments.

Reading will inspire the youths to engage each other on how to make contributions towards ending poverty in the society. Their engaging one and another would create awareness and build peace in the land to work on projects to end poverty in the land. Peace promotes democracy which works towards sustaining positive change in the society, hence achieving sustainable development agenda.

Dr. Ben Carson a world known Neurologist stated “There is just no limit to what people can accomplish when they develop their minds and use book to acquire knowledge”. Dr. Carson developed his capacity in life as a youth via reading books and other literary works.

Reading provides the youths with innovative mind set for achieving greatness in life.

The Holy Bible is the Book of Life and reading same gives one a fulfilled life of accomplishments. The Holy Bile knew the importance of reading and went to state that; my people perish for lack of knowledge.

All great achievers on this planet earth have linked their successes to reading books including the Holy Bible. Reading empowers one’s mind to gain insights and revelation knowledge which when activated energizes one to work towards discoveries, accomplishments, successes etc.

Any youth who devotes time towards reading becomes an exceptional person in the society. Any book that must develop one must first empower the mind. What we read is a replica of what we achieve in life which is a pointer for the future agenda.

Success and accomplishments of life are constructed and conceived in the heart- the mind through what we read. No wonder Napoleon Hill said “What the mind can conceive that it can achieve”. Others who have also understood the power of reading after deep reflection includes Abraham Lincoln; former President of United States of America who said “The things I want to know are in the books… thus my best friend is the man who will give me books I have not read”.

Reading supports positive civic engagement of young people. Youth civic engagement would create Youth Empowerment leading to self reliance and entrepreneurship accomplishments. Youth Civic Engagement also connotes the various activities our youths are involved in to provide developmental values at all levels including communities. These activities that transform the society positively includes in the areas of political (governance, policy mobilization etc) and non-political (like community assignments, employment creation, talent discoveries etc). Such youths civic engagement equips them with work experiences, learning of new skills and leadership skills- like responsibility and accountability challenges. In such youth civic engagement the youth become “Change Agent” in the society.

Read. Read books. That is how to get someplace in life”. (Kurt Schmoke, a lawyer and former Mayor of Baltimore, his message to young people).

The quality of the books we read also empowers our mind to start the process of thinking to live right and excel in life; through proper articulation of strong values, which would make the students/ youths do away with cultism, armed robbery, kidnapping and other social vices and engaged themselves entrepreneurship activities involving the youths in wealth creation which leads to productivity and value growth for which the youth are part and parcel of. Therefore, youth participation in entrepreneurship of any nation contributes greatly to the growth of national economy. The youths in discuss span through the secondary and tertiary schools and the unemployed and underemployed youths; be they graduates or not.

The world reckons with achievers. Failures have no role on this planet earth. Thus from creation God charged us to go into the world and take dominium. We, as we develop our minds via reading should strive to carve a niche in a particular area as to develop our personality and influence or dominate the society positively; the process of this is the process of developed mind; for which reading is highly instrumental.

Many people have attested to the fact that it was through reading that their lives changed and their contributions to societal development attested to.

Ogbo Awoke Ogbo: a Nigerian and founder of Giant thoughts International said “My father’s library stirred me up to what I am today. I wish parents can inculcate reading in their children because it can transform their destinies for the better”.

Dr. Ben Carson a world acclaimed Neurologist and an international role model for many youths admitted that his success story became possible largely because he was encouraged to read books and also visited local libraries in order to learn and develop his mind which shaped his contributions to the society.

I, James Okere is also one person who have benefited from book reading and other literary works. The first book that gave me new line of positive thought in life is Napoleon Hill’s book-“Think and Grow Rich”. That book gave me new way of seeing things including developing the passion to read similar books leading to my being in a position to discuss on issues of inspiration, mentorship, leadership and self developing values.

Reading changes lives of people positively. The more we read, the more knowledge we get, improve our lives and the society we live in. The founder of Centre for Research Information Management and Media Development (CRIMMD); Dr. Raphael James says “We encourage people to read not because they want to sit for exams or go for an interview; read because you want to gain knowledge”.

An empowered person through reading develops the society via diverse and meaningful socio-economic activities.

The ability to read wide especially quality books will go a long way to develop and fortify the mind of a person towards contributing to societal growth.

Developing Reading culture amongst the youths would lead to youth’s mentorship, inculcates leadership and management principles; which are core values of human development.

Reading gives us insights on various issues, thus helping one generate ideas on various issues as well. Most great people who have achieved great successes attested to by the people and society are men who developed time towards reading great books and other quality materials including books on successful men..

Finally, reading will lead the youths towards re-inventing their future, a better future for all. I charge you to earnestly embrace reading which promotes literacy thus develops the mind of the youths towards accomplishments. Readers are Leaders is a popular saying that should galvanize us to embrace reading books towards personal and societal development.


0 #1 Olusola Adeleke 2017-03-24 20:36
You have done a great work! Though you may not be immediately be rewarded as expected now, however your promotion among the great is certained! Kudos for the handsome work sir!!!
0 #2 Dudu 2017-04-04 08:04
Wow how inspiring, great insight. I just love this and reading too.

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