20 years of Youth Month: volunteerism and initiative drive youth development

April 05, 2024 - 06:26
Nguyễn Minh Triết, Secretary of the Central Committee of the Hồ Chí Minh Communist Youth Union and Chairman of the Central Committee of the Việt Nam Students' Association, talks with Việt Nam News reporter Minh Hằng about the 20-year journey since March was designated as Youth Month annually.
Nguyễn Minh Triết, Secretary of the Central Committee of the Hồ Chí Minh Communist Youth Union. — VNS/VNA Photo

Nguyễn Minh Triết, Secretary of the Central Committee of the Hồ Chí Minh Communist Youth Union and Chairman of the Central Committee of the Việt Nam Students' Association, talks with Việt Nam News reporter Minh Hằng about the 20-year journey since March was designated as Youth Month annually.

In 2024, we commemorate the 20th anniversary of the annual designation of March as Youth Month. Could you please tell us about the most significant activities and achievements that the Central Committee of the Hồ Chí Minh Communist Youth Union (HCM CYU) has accomplished?

The year 2000 marked the beginning of a new millennium. The Government and the Politburo decided to name it as the Year of the Youth.

This pivotal moment saw the emergence of the "Youth Volunteer Movement", garnering enthusiastic participation from Youth Union members at all levels. This newfound dynamism cast Vietnamese youth in a positive light in the new era.

Across the nation, youth unions took the initiative to propose and execute myriad socio-economic initiatives and projects, from the ambitious monkey bridge elimination project and the construction of new bridges in the Mekong Delta to the establishment of youth islands and the development of youth start-up villages.

The fervour for learning and innovative labour to master cutting-edge knowledge and technology, coupled with political activities, captured the imaginations of millions of young individuals, leading to the emergence of exemplary collectives and individuals across diverse fields.

In 2003, the HCM CYU Central Committee launched the inaugural Youth Month with the theme "Youth take action for the community, nurture and care for youth." This pioneering initiative drew significant participation from young people and garnered widespread societal resonance. Its remarkable success led the HCM CYU Central Committee to seek approval from the Central Party Committee and the Government to officially designate March as Youth Month annually, starting in 2004.

Since then, Youth Month has become a deeply ingrained tradition intertwined with youth work at all levels of the Youth Union. Young members have made lasting contributions through numerous practical projects aimed at supporting community welfare. These efforts have fostered social stability and provided invaluable experiential learning opportunities, creating enduring memories of youthful altruism and activism.

Furthermore, Youth Month marks the arrival of a new spring, prompting youth nationwide to cherish and honour their formative years. It advocates for values ​​of love, solidarity, community responsibility, and a steadfast commitment to self-improvement.

Over the course of the 20-year journey of Youth Month, more than 100 million youth union members have actively participated in activities, collectively spearheading nearly 700,000 projects and practical initiatives across the country. With an estimated total value surpassing VNĐ4.5 trillion, these efforts have touched the lives of millions, symbolising the spirit of volunteerism and collective action ingrained within Vietnamese youth.

The HCM CYU Central Committee chooses the theme "Year of Youth Volunteers" for this year and the theme "Youth Volunteers for Community Life” for the Youth Month. What is the specific significance of this theme and the activities initiated by the Youth Union?

Youth groups nationwide have stepped up efforts to ignite proactive and voluntary spirit among young people, aiming to enhance the effectiveness, efficiency, and sustainability of youth volunteer efforts. Projects range from rural development and environmental conservation to climate resilience, blood donation drives, and social welfare initiatives.

During Youth Month 2024, there's a strong emphasis on directing volunteer activities both domestically and internationally. Additionally, there's a push for guiding and implementing online volunteering initiatives, alongside the establishment and management of the National Volunteer Information Portal to streamline coordination.

As we commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Central Party Committee's designation of 2014 as the Year of Youth Volunteering, this year's Youth Month host a nationwide volunteer campaign to celebrate 10 years of youth volunteering and 25 years of the summer youth volunteer campaign. The HCM CYU Central Committee also launches a widespread online volunteer movement and showcase national youth projects.

March also earmarks peak periods for nationwide activities, with flagship events like "Green Sunday" and "Community-Building Volunteering in New Rural Areas" happening nationwide.

What moves did the HCM CYU Central Committee make during Youth Month 2024 to draw a large of young enthusiasts and empower them to play an active part in nation-building and development, particularly reaching out to overseas youth?

Over the past two decades, the HCM CYU Central Committee and its affiliates have consistently organised a wide range of impactful activities, attracting millions of young participants. This year's Youth Month emphasises volunteerism, with a focus on specific regions and groups, directing to remote and disadvantaged areas, including youth start-up villages, youth islands and ethnic minority communities.

In addition to volunteer efforts, Youth Month prioritises supporting vulnerable youth, elderly individuals and providing assistance in education and healthcare. The HCM CYU Central Committee collaborates with ministries to advise on youth dialogues and policy development, while also fostering connections with overseas youth associations to encourage participation and exchange ideas.

Furthermore, efforts extend to supporting Vietnamese young people abroad through exchange programmes, investment initiatives, and networking opportunities. Continuously coming up with new ideas and planning activities has created opportunities for young Vietnamese people abroad to express their proactive attitude and contribute to the country's growth and development.

What activities and projects will the HCM CYU Central Committee engage in to support young people, especially in entrepreneurship in the Industry 4.0 era?

During the Fourth Industrial Revolution, digital transformation is inevitable. Acknowledging this, the HCM CYU Central Committee prioritises programmes to enhance digital skills among youth, crucial for Việt Nam's competitiveness. These include start-up support, skills training and streamlining business procedures.

Additionally, the Committee promotes community networks, support funds and business training to facilitate knowledge exchange among young people.

Youth are increasingly driving digital entrepreneurship, with burgeoning tech start-ups showcasing their creativity.

In recent years, some youth members have creatively applied digital transformation in economic development, yielding more effective results than traditional methods. To support youth union members in economic development during Industry 4.0, youth organisations implement training to enhance skills in selling OCOP products through digital platforms for rural youth.

Through tailored training, youth gain e-commerce skills, fostering effective online sales and economic development.

What strategies does the HCM CYU Central Committee have in place to ensure that future Youth Months hold increasing significance for young people, while also bolstering the involvement of youth members both at home and abroad in the nation's developmental efforts?

It's evident that in recent years, volunteer activities have evolved into a genuine need and aspiration for numerous youth union members. These initiatives provide an avenue for young people to experience, develop and mature.

In today's landscape of economic, cultural and social progress, there's a pressing demand for volunteer activities to evolve, innovate and elevate their quality to meet the evolving needs and desires of youth union members.

Youth unions at every level must cultivate an environment to encouraging youth participation in organising and executing volunteer activities, focusing on unleashing the creativity and potential of each member.

This entails actively seeking, supporting and promoting innovative and effective models and practices from youth union members and grassroots youth organisations, with the aim of replicating successful models to generate widespread impact within the community. — VNS