There has been increasing global attention on the issues of young people and their development. The period of their development has now been widely recognized as one of both opportunities and risk and characterized by physical, mental, and social changes
In Nigeria, young people between the ages 10-30 years comprise about a third of the total population, and the need to address the developmental challenges confronting young people has never been greater. These many young people face numerous challenges that can negatively affect their reproductive health and development, such as early pregnancy and childbirth; abortion, sexually transmitted Infections, high rates of HIV infection—especially among young women; high unemployment rates; and high levels of crime. Many young people are also victims of various discriminatory gender practices and reproductive rights violation.
There have been an increased focus and high concentration on meeting some of these needs. We must:
•provide young people with Family Health Centers and services to manage early pregnancy, clandestine abortion, STI’s;
•provide anti-retrovirals for people living with HIV/AIDs
But one of the most important but insipid segment or concentration of services has been the legal assistance and support services, which is the core of advocacy over decades.
Young people have constantly been underserved with legal services while there continue to be increases in rape cases, sexual assault and harassment, female genital mutilation (FGM), discriminatory gender practices, reproductive rights violations, sexual rights and identity violations and discrimination.
With a $1000 Young Visionaries grant assistance, I will have the opportunity to help young people who are indigent of legal assistance by:
• Training, creating awareness, and mobilizing a critical mass of young lawyers for their support and volunteering to provide indigent young people with pro-bono legal assistance.
• And also help us in creating a website that will inform and respond to the legal assistance needs of indigent young people based on the fact that the internet has become a growing supply of information and response especially among urban young people.
This would strengthen advocacies of the past and also help us in pouncing on the gaps and grey areas in our justice system, especially as it affects young people.