WANGO Africa joins Worldwide IDAY Celebration


June 16 is a date set aside to remember the brutal murder of two South African youths during the apartheid regime, and the lessons learned from the two Guinean teenage stowaways, who froze to death on a Sabena flight from Conakry to Brussels, leaving a moving letter saying "we want to study.”

Under the theme “A complete basic education for all by 2015,” Nigerians joined other civil society activists from Europe and various African nations to celebrate this year's International Day of the African Youth, otherwise known as IDAY.

This event recognizing the African child, organized for the first time worldwide, helps to heighten awareness and attention regarding the lack of access to basic education for African young people. IDAY focuses on the role that African diasporas can play in education in their home countries, gathers civil society organizations and CSOs active in education in African, and raises awareness of the need to guarantee basic education to all African young people by the year 2015, as part of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

In Nigeria, over 75 civil society leaders, government officials and various stakeholders in education gathered at the World Bank Country office in Abuja to celebrate the first IDAY. Organized under the auspices of IDAY International in Belgium and the African Regional Secretariat of the World Association of Non-Governmental Organizations (WANGO), it was designed in response to the above-stated theme and to complement the Zero Illiteracy  Project (ZIP) for Africa, launched recently on April 26, 2008 at Accra, Ghana.

This year's celebration in Nigeria featured the Civil Society Senior Specialist at the World Bank, Dr. Chudi Oakfor who chaired the event; Chief Casmiar Obialom of the International Peace Foundation as the Guest Speaker; representatives of key civil society networks, such as Wale Samuel of the Civil Society Action Coalition on Education for All (CSACEFA) and Raphael Oko of Teachers Without Borders (TWB); and various Nigeria youth organizations and other NGOs. Following the June 16th event, Mr. Mohammed Bougei Attah, the WANGO Regional Coordinator for Africa and Director of ZIP, was on a special nationwide television program titled “Kakaaki the African Voice” of the Africa Independent Television (AIT) to discuss issues around the theme of the celebration.

Earlier in the week, many activities were conducted throughout Europe and various African nations . IDAY International began the event with a series of activities from June 12 to June 16. In Belgium, a conference was hosted by European Parliament President, Hans–Gert Pottering, and the objective of the event was explained by the President of IDAY, Jean-Jacques Schul. Mr. Ousmane Sy (Mali), recipient of the King Bundouin International Development Prize 2004–2005, Ms. Hauwa Ibrahim (Nigeria), the 2005 Sakharov Prize winner, and Baaba Maal, UNDP Ambassador in Senegal, were guests that addressed the conference.

Similar IDAY activities were held in France, Luxembourg, and the United Kingdom around Europe, while Benin Republic, Burkina Faso, Uganda and Central Africa Republic as well as Democratic Republic of Congo, Togo and Nigeria represented Africa .

Report by:

Mohammed Bougei Attah.

African Regional Coordinator, WANGO

IDAY Nigeria Representative