Report on Global Forum on Youth and ICTs

Photo © D. Baba. The GAID Youth Forum has been the first time for Vulindlela (left) to come to Europe.
Photo © D. Baba. The GAID Youth Forum has been the first time for Vulindlela (left) to come to Europe.
Vulindlela Simelane - Manager Projects and Alumni Affairs - UNISWA Foundation, Swaziland
29 September 2007

Vulindlela Simelane hails from Swaziland, where he works for the University of Swaziland Foundation as Manager of Projects and Alumni Affairs. A development professional by training, he came to Geneva through ICVolunteers and thanks to the support of of Spider to attend the GAID Global Youth Forum. Volindlela gives us his impressions about his participation in the Geneva.

"My participation in the Global Forum on Youth and ICT has not only been an eye opener but also a remarkable learning experience. As you are aware, developing nations are handicapped from participating in international forums, conferences and symposia where topical global issues are discussed and decisions affecting their lives made. A poor economic climate in developing nations in general means limited available resources are channeled towards addressing more pressing socio-economic challenges, resulting in the youth being sidelined from active participation in the resolution of prevailing global challenges.

Nonetheless, the Forum has been a rare opportunity for me to interact with young intellectuals and international counterparts from different backgrounds and circumstances, but all sharing a common goal and objective to provide their best thinking and critical insights towards enhancing the integration of resource poor nations and communities into the information superhighway and the global economy through full exploitation of ICTs.

Participating in the Forum has also been invaluable for me as a young African committed towards making a meaningful difference to the lives of my fellow citizens. During my stay I have assumed the role of and responsibility of Ambassador for my country in an attempt to foster international collaboration and resource sharing for the development of my nation. Collective effort and working as a cohesive unit to meet shared goals and objectives is undoubtedly a key ingredient for resolving many of the challenges facing humanity today. 

During the course of the Forum, I have also been able to gain useful knowledge on international best practices which can be adapted according to their suitability with the local context of my country and organization. The endless opportunity for social networking and establishing important contacts has been another benefit. Several organizations have shown a keen interest in learning more about the University of Swaziland, and expressed a willingess to consider collaborating with us. 

Furthermore, I have been able to learn and appreciate the highly innovative amazing projects being implemented by fellow Africans which hitherto I was unaware of. Finally, my participation in the Forum has made me aware of the potential rewards that can be reaped from South-South exchanges and the infinite opportunities that can benefit my institution and country through North-South collaboration.

I would like to express my sincere gratitude and humble appreciation to ICVolunteers and the Swedish Program for ICT in Developing Regions (SPIDER) for availing such a scarce and rare opportunity, and making my trip to Geneva possible. Indeed it has been a wonderfully great experience to meet the youth of the world united as one force on my first trip to Europe and abroad."

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