“Investing in young people’s development and empowerment is essential in the post Covid era”, says Layne Robinson, Head of Social Policy Development at the Commonwealth Secretariat headquartered in London,United Kingdom. “Our young people have been through so much during Covid, we are still to fully realise the impact of the last three years on their education, employment and on their mental health and well-being”.
2023 was declared the Year of Youth at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Kigali, Rwanda in June last year as a way to acknowledge the challenges faced by young people and provide an opportunity to support them post Covid-19. The elder at the Brixton SDA church leads the Commonwealth’s work on youth development working with member states, young people, youth workers and stakeholders in Africa, Asia, Europe, Pacific, Caribbean and the Americas. He has a particular interest in promoting and supporting youth work and non- formal education and believes with the right support our young people are best placed to solve some of the challenges in the world and church.
During the heads of government meeting on Rwanda, he also coordinated and launched a global alliance to focus on youth leadership and training brining together the largest youth serving organisations in the world including the Duke of Edinburgh, Scouts, Girl Guides, YMCA, YWCA and the Red Cross among others.
Layne is no stranger to tackling global issues, as his responsibilities do not end with promoting youth development. He also leads the Commonwealth’s work on health, education and sport for development and peace.
“During Covid, it was particularly challenging as we had to bring health, sports and education ministers and senior government officials together frequently to discuss their response to the pandemic, their progress with national interventions and explore innovative ways to support governments through the most difficult periods of the pandemic’.
The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 56 independent and equal countries in Africa, Asia, the Americas, Europe and the Pacific and is home to one-third of the world's population and includes both advanced economies and developing countries working for development, democracy and peace.
At Brixton SDA, the largest church in the TED, Layne serves as the head elder and has been bringing his international experience and technical expertise to implementing the mission and purpose of the church in the local community. In the past he has served his local congregation as youth leader, family life ministries leader and sabbath school teacher. He enjoys teaching, preaching and sharing the gospel in unconventional ways particularly to children and young people. Growing up in Claremont St. Ann, Jamaica, Layne has been a seventh day Adventist for over 35 years.
Layne believes there is a lot the church can do to alleviate human suffering while, bringing hope and a message of peace to a world that needs it now more than ever. He fully supports the I Will Go strategic plan and has been promoting Total Member Involvement at his local church, challenging every member, irrespective of age, to see him or herself as a minister. “The church can do a lot this year to support and encourage our young people, not only through it’s fantastic youth and children’s programmes but also by integrating them into the wider church operations and church life, the growth and expansion of the church will not happen without the contribution and inclusion of children and young people”.
For more information on the year of youth visit: https://thecommonwealth.org/news/commonwealth-heads-declare-2023-year-youth