Role of Youth in National Development

U.S. Embassy and Global Health Corps Celebrate the Role of Youth in National Development

Lilongwe – On January 22, 2014 United States Charge d’Affaires to Malawi Michael Gonzales hosted a reception to highlight the roles of youth leadership, volunteerism, and community service in contributing to national development.  The guest of honor was Barbara Bush, CEO of Global Health Corps (GHC). Barbara Bush, co-founder of the Global Health Corps and daughter of former U.S. president George W. Bush, was in Malawi as part of a visit to East and Southern Africa to participate in mid-year fellow retreats. During her visit to Malawi, Bush highlighted the importance of youth leadership in achieving positive change in global health.

Speaking during the reception, Mr. Gonzales that as 65% of Malawi’s population is under the age of 30, young people bring huge potential to build a prosperous future, but too often are unemployed or idle and their potential is wasted.

He said, “We encourage all young men and women to find ways that they can contribute to society through volunteering or community service.  Those who can may join the ranks of the thousands of volunteers in a structured program such as GHC, VSO, or Peace Corps.  While I salute those who dedicate a significant period of their lives to volunteerism, I also understand that not everyone can.  But everyone can contribute some of their time to support local communities by teaching at secondary schools, volunteering at clinics, playing with kids in orphanages, leading English clubs, or just reading to neighborhood children.”

Principal Secretary for the Minister of Youth Joseph Mwandidya commented that the doors of the Ministry are always open to young people and he encouraged them to contribute their ideas and efforts to the development of Malawi. He said, “It is important that young people should embrace the spirit of volunteerism because government cannot do everything on its own. The government depends on the people.”

In her remarks, Barbara Bush observed that since founding of the Global Health Corps in 2009, the organisation has placed, trained, and mentored 450 young leaders to serve within non-profit and government agencies in East and Southern Africa, and the United States.

“Seventy of these exceptional leaders have worked in Malawi to bring solutions to issues ranging from HIV/AIDS, to maternal child health, to strengthening of health systems. We’re dedicated to building this community of young leaders who work every day to reach across borders, sectors, and cultures to ensure everyone has access to the healthcare they need to live a healthy life,” Bush said.

Global Health Corps selects recent university graduates and young professionals from diverse cultural and professional backgrounds and places them in health-oriented non-governmental and government offices in the U.S., east Africa and southern Africa for a year of service. Global Health Corps is currently receiving applications for the 2015-2016 fellowship class until February 3rd.  Applications can be made through http://ghcorps.org/

Contacts:  Gabriel Hons-Olivier Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Embassy

Marcus Muhariwa – Information Specialist, U.S. Embassy