IYD: More than 160 youth and representatives from various agencies celebrated the International Youth Day at Harmony, the centenary youth village in Thimphu yesterday.

A lengthy discussion on Youth Civic Engagement ensued.

The mentality and mindset of people in the community towards volunteerism and civic engagement is the biggest challenge to youth today, the youth members said.

At a day-long workshop on August 10, 75 youth met to understand how youth involve themselves in political, social and economic life, know various forms of civic engagement and challenges faced by youth and their solutions.

The results of discussion were presented at the event. Youth civic engagement acts as a ladder towards building youths’ capacity to raise their voice and a means of achieving end goals, the participants said.

A community-based scout volunteer, Thuji Zam said that time constraint is one of the challenges faced by the youth during civic engagement, as most youth are students.

“Lack of support from parents, community and society, and lack of participants and communication barriers are some of the challenges,” she said.

“Opportunities to participate in decision-making will help in developing the skills and gaining experience that is needed to be an effective leader,” a participant said.

Empowering youth and engaging them in community activities, they said, allow them to interact with adults and have guidance as they develop the skills needed to make decisions and solve complex issues, which as a result help in growth and development of a youth as a future leader.

National Council member from Gasa, Sangay Khandu who was the chief guest said that youth and civic engagement presents a great opportunity to understand the responsibility of enjoying rights, to inculcate a way of living that is more aware of the surroundings and to live with good human values.

“Civic engagement is how we as individuals participate in public life collectively and a responsibility,” Sangay Khandu said.

Winners of essay and poetry competitions held earlier this month were awarded prizes and certificates at the event organised by education ministry’s Youth Centre Division yesterday.

Dechen Tshomo