November 14, 2015 was an eventful day as the annual Teenage Festival of Life (TFL) was held at the University of Lagos Main Auditorium. The event had over 1500 students in attendance, including the Finland Ambassador to Nigeria Suomela-Chowdhury, Representative of the Deputy Governor, Director and officers from the Ministry of Women Affairs And Poverty Alleviation, Representatives from the State Ministry of Education, Non-Governmental Organisations, Community Development Associations (CDA), and the Media.
With the theme: Securing Our Future: Youth and the Post 2015 Sustainable Development Agenda, the 22nd edition showcased various talents and passed across messages in line with the theme of the year. It was an avenue to create awareness and enlighten young people and the society on the new Sustainable Development Goals and how these goals can become reality with young people spearheading these goals.
On the 25 September 2015, more than 150 world leaders adopted the new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit in New York. The 17 new Sustainable Development Goals, also known as the Global Goals, aim to end poverty, hunger and inequality, take action on climate change and the environment, improve access to health and education, build strong institutions and partnerships, and more. The SDGs build on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
In her keynote address, the Finland Ambassador to Nigeria, Pirjo Suomela-Chowdhury, commended AHI for bringing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to the limelight through artistic display via Song, Poetry, Drama and Essay presentations so that the young people can understand their rights and know the ways by which their future can be secured. According to Suomela-Chowdhury, in achieving these goals, there must be combined efforts from all relevant stakeholders and will involve dynamic strategies and innovations. She also highlighted that education is at the core of sustainable development and is the most effective way to eradicate poverty. Education is a tool that opens the world to everyone, including health and employment. Therefore, there is a need to shift focus from the mere access to education to quality education, including adequate facilities, qualified teachers, good home-conditions, promotion of innovations as well as measurable learning outcomes. There is the need for free and equal access to education for all, including people with disabilities, children living in remote rural areas, and marginalized groups.
In addition, the Executive Director of AHI, Mrs. Adenike Esiet said that the year’s theme was to create a platform to get young people to know what the SDGs are, understand salient issues concerning them and to get them to be equal actors in the process.
Highlights of the event include performances from students in drama, song, poetry and essay, Guest Artiste appearance by Skales, Comedy performance by Saco and musical appearances from other upcoming artists. It was further heightened as trophies and plaques were presented to winners in the various categories of the TFL competition. This year was quite remarkable as the TFL artistic consultant were also awarded Certificates to appreciate their contributions and efforts to the success of TFL over the years.