As I started my fellowship last year in May 2015 as the Policy and Advocacy Fellow, I was told that I have come at a very exciting time. The MDG’s were phasing out and a whole new set of Sustainable Development Goals were being drafted in Addis Ababa to be finalized and adopted by more than 190 nations in September 2015 United Nations General Assembly. These new set of 17 goals will drive the policy, funding and political commitments of the global community over the coming decade. The new goals are not only for the developing countries. They are universal and need young people to catalyze this in order to positively shift the global consciousness. Its time that young leaders come out in open and seek the question ‘what is in for us’ rather than ‘what is in for me’.

Today the world hosts 1.8 Billion young people and these young people will determine how we will achieve the SDGs.  The young need to realize the power of human connection and work towards overcoming the challenges faced by the planet. Its time to play smart economics. Just imagine the positive impact when 1.8 billion young people work towards development.

How will this happen?

The young need a platform to perform. It’s important to work together and facilitate the entry of young people into productive employment and effective citizenship. They should be given a chance to enter the policy making. There is a thin line between influencing and participating. Young people are participating but the big question still remains – Are they influencing?

The development community also need to respond adequately and give the young enough training to perform better and take advantage of their unbound creativity, passion, and dedicated efforts.

It’s also important to invest in the ideas and innovations of young people and integrate them to accelerate progress towards identifying and implementing effective scalable solutions.

To achieve these goals we need to advocate for more evidence based policies and actions as well as for greater role for young people in development. When young people will come together they will leverage the power of technology to connect and share successful and unsuccessful policy models, what worked and what did not  thus providing extreme validity and broader relevance.

Something better awaits if we have the courage to reach for it, work for it.