Landmark poll shows Nigerian children feel under most pressure to succeed globally – Survey

The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) says despite mounting challenges and gender divides, Nigerian youths are optimistic about their future and struggle to succeed.

Nigerian children and young people feel under the most pressure to succeed globally, according to a new international survey by UNICEF and Gallup, released ahead of World Children’s Day, marked annually on 20 November.

According to a press release made available to Blueprint, Thursday, compared to their elders, Nigerian children believe they enjoy better life in terms of social facilities than their parents did. Almost 70 per cent of males and 80 per cent of females also believe they will be economically better off than their parents.

Young Nigerians also agree that the minimum age for marriage for both boys and girls should be 25, expressing a desire for more time to enjoy their independence before adulthood.

The release disclosed that Nigeria has one of the highest rates of young and older generations, therefore, they believe that it is very important for politicians to listen to children’s voices when making decisions.

“We cannot know what is on the minds of young people if we do not ask them. UNICEF’s survey reinforces the importance of hearing from the next generation and understanding their perspectives,” said Joe Daly, Senior Partner at Gallup.

“The children of today are the leaders of tomorrow; it is crucial for older generations to do their part to ensure our children inherit a better world.”

“This is a clarion call from young people in Nigeria,” said Peter Hawkins, UNICEF representative in Nigeria.

“A call to listen, to learn and to take action to lift Nigeria high.

“As we celebrate this World Children’s Day, it is critical we listen to young people directly about their well-being – both physical and mental – and their aspirations in this changing world.”

Data from the survey further reveals that young people in Nigeria are facing a mental health challenge, with 1 in 6 young Nigerians aged 15 -24 saying they often feel depressed, have little interest in doing things, or are worried, nervous or anxious.

The poll, The Changing Childhood Project, is the first of its kind to ask multiple generations for their views on what it is like to be a child today.

In the area of finances, young Nigerians again showed a high level of concern, with 74 per cent of females and 66 per cent of males worried they don’t have enough money for food.

“Children and young people in Nigeria clearly have a high level of concern about many and varied issues, compared to their peers in other countries,” said UNICEF Nigeria Representative Peter Hawkins.
“We cannot bury our heads in the sand and hope these concerns will go away – we need to take action. And the first step is to solicit their views, really listen closely and allow their concerns and ideas to influence our policy decisions.

“The future of Nigeria belongs to its children and young people – they have the right to be heard, have their needs addressed and their solutions explored. It is only through commitment to understanding and investing more in our children and young people’s presents and futures that we can maximize every child’s potential and ensure they have a full and happy life.”