UNITED NATIONS - The burgeoning youth population in Pakistan plays a vital role in addressing the country’s major challenges and in shaping its future, both for young people today and for generations to come.
“Meaningful youth participation means their participation in each and every stage, right from planning to execution and monitoring,” Muhammad Shahzad, executive director of the Chanan Development Association, (CDA) told IPS.
“But we can’t make things happen alone. We have to collaborate with adults, in the communities, in the government sector, civil society and also with the United Nations and other international performers,” he added.
At the age of 12, Muhammad Shahzad began a hunger strike to protest the forced marriage of his 15-year-old sister to an older landlord. The marriage was ultimately called off, but Shahzad and his family were forced to leave their village.
Shahzad eventually ended up with the foundation of CDA, a non-profit organisation aimed at empowering young people in Pakistan.
The Friends of UNFPA, an organisation that mobilises funds and action for the United Nations Population Fund, recognised Shahzad’s important contributions in promoting women’s and youth rights by honouring him with the 2012 Award for the Health and Dignity of Women and Girls in a ceremony in New York on Thursday.
Read the full story by Muhammad Shahzad from IPS