Malinzanga Village’s primary school educates the countries future leaders. How do we know this? Within minutes of asking 14-year-old children what their priorities of their families and communities were, they had named many key elements of new development goals. The key elements described by these children of Generation Z were things like access to more food, more community support to end poverty and better healthcare. All these issues are current topics that many representatives of every nation in the world are discussing right now.

With the help of Happy, a local youth activist from Restless Development, ONE co-founder Jamie Drummond spoke to 15 teenagers about what they would like to see happen for their country. Restless Development started in 1985 and its main mission is to help the younger generation take a leadership role in speaking up about important issues that face their countries and the world. Happy’s background with Restless Development proved to be helpful in motivating these kids to act on their ideas. Not only did these children give great suggestions on improving certain issues but they also have inspired Malala, Desmond Tutu to take these suggestions and put them in their open letter to world leaders.

With the recent Ebola outbreak, it has only reminded Generation Z that the impoverished health systems of Africa are fragile and often are the site where most of the tropical pandemics take place.  The Ebola epidemic has led to a great deal of anxiety, but this crisis fuels the flames of desire to address the issues that are needing attention and these teenagers see the future optimistically.

As the year 2014 comes to an end, the coming new year holds a lot of promise for ending poverty entirely or at least getting close. With the letter sent out to the world leaders warning them about making the right decisions for 2015, ONE and the kids from Malinzanga Village primary school gave their suggestions and hopefully, these get taken into account and change can finally take place.

Brooke Smith

Sources: ONE, Restless Development