Participants of “Youth Engagement for Development” conference raised their voice on youth participation, education and health.
Pelé, one of the greatest football players of all time once said “Sport is something that is very inspirational for young people”. He was right. Sport has the power to inspire, raise and unite people in a way that no other thing does.
This year, through World Vision Cup, youths from 18 different countries are gathering in Recife, Brazil to participate in seven day event on May 10th-17th to advocate for youth rights, utilizing the global attention stirred by the FIFA World Cup. The event will feature sporting activities, cultural exchange, and discussions around the most pressing issues facing young people.
One of the 18 participant countries, Mongolia, has successfully organized the World Vision Cup football tournament across the country for youths between ages of 16-20. After 4 months of local, regional and national games, the champions were determined on the final matches that took place in Buyant Ukhaa sports complex on 16th March. Participants of the tournament World Vision Cup not only promoted youth participation through sports, but also raised their voice by taking part in youth discussion which was organized alongside the match in every province.
Young people are the driving force behind the development of nation. Youth aged between15-24 constitutes 21% of Mongolian population, yet they are often underrepresented in social, economic and political sphere in Mongolia. Few platforms exist for young people to express their voice. Their opinions are often ignored due to their lack of experience and status as young adult. In this context, main aim of the World Vision Cup is to encourage the youths who are interested in football, let the voices of youths from all around Mongolia be heard, help youths in affecting decisions and policies related to them.
Participants of the tournament, as well as youths representing 21 provinces and nine districts of Ulaanbaatar gathered for the national conference, “Youth Engagement for Development” organized by World Vision Mongolia on March 17th-19th. More than 250 delegates representing rural and urban teenagers came to exchange ideas, and find solution to challenges Mongolian youth are facing today.
“It is my first time to be participating in national conference. It is great how we can express our opinions freely here” expressed Khishigbayar, a high school student from remote Arkhangai province.
The participants were divided into three groups to discuss issues of youth participation, health and education. After three days of intense discussion, the three teams have formulated their proposals and recommendations which were then presented to government officials from Ministry of Population Development and Social Welfare and Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. The recommendations will be reflected on Mongolian youth policy.
“Youth engagement for Development” did not just end there, as at the end of the conference, 11 youths who will be representing Mongolia to the World Vision Cup was chosen based on their participation, enthusiasm and sports talent. The conference hall was filled with excitement as the presenter announced the selected youth, one by one. Five girls and six boys representing six rural provinces and five districts of Ulaanbaatar were selected to represent Mongolia in the World Vision Cup in Brazil.
“I am so excited go to Brazil, it came to me as a total surprise. I believe that this event will help me explore my weaknesses, improve my ability express my thoughts, learn about other cultures and exchange ideas” exclaimed Baasandorj.E, a champion of World Vision Cup who was chosen as one of the 11 youth representatives of Mongolia.
World Vision Cup in Mongolia did not only end with youth discussions and football tournament, but also with everlasting friendship among the participants. The youth were exchanging their numbers and emails at the end of the conference, with the hope of meeting again at next year’s event. We wish the best of luck to the 11 Mongolian youth on their incredible journey to Brazil!