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International Youth Day 2019: Role of Mentors & Enhancing Education by Volunteering

The WHO European Regional Centre for Environment and Health (ECEH) and UN Volunteers celebrated the International Youth Day on 12 August under this year’s theme “Transforming education”. It highlighted the role of young people in transforming education into a powerful tool to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

With strong role models and mentors teaching tools of the trade and inspiring life-long devotion for the chosen profession, mentorship has become an important element of contemporary education. Nursing and midwifery are no exceptions, according to the WHO.

Snezhana is a midwife at the Severstal medical infirmary in Cherepovets, Russian Federation. Her story illustrates the impact that mentors and supervisors can have in shaping the future career of a young professional. “Thanks to the senior midwives who supervised me, the beginning of my professional development was not stressful, even though the work was challenging and exhausting at times. My mentors taught me everything I know, because practical skills and experience are such an essential addition to the theoretical knowledge received during my education. I was lucky to work with different midwife teams, which meant I had to adapt to the different temperaments and work styles of my supervisors, but it also meant that I could learn from the best traits of my different role models. Midwives were not my only mentors along the way – there were also doctors, obstetrician-gynaecologists, neonatologists, nurses in intensive care and anaesthesiologists, who I learned from. Thanks to their guidance, I was not terrified when I had to deliver a baby by myself for the first time. I felt confident that I had learned from the best,” Snezhana recollects.

UN Volunteers emphasizes on this year’s International Youth day the young people who enhance education by volunteering. Investing in education and youth volunteers creates a foundation for a better future for everyone. Across the globe, young people are standing up for the right of everyone to access free, inclusive and good quality education and training. These efforts need support from governments, institutions and societies.

Currently, we have the largest generation of youth in human history. There are 1.8 billion young people worldwide, a third of them are volunteering. Youth literacy has in general increased in the last 65 years ( from 42 percent in 1960 to 86 percent in 2015). Despite this improvement, there are still substantial challenges ahead. Engaging youth

and making education relevant, equitable and inclusive is a key factor for the achievement of 2030 agenda. One example of these voices is Ichumar Sylivia Lorot. As SDG4 advocate, she promotes adolescent education and development. Through her assignment in Uganda, she conducted mentorship in schools to promote life skills.

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