Youth demand to be heard as government reviews National Youth Policy

A youth policy forum has been organized in the Ashanti regional capital Kumasi to gather ideas for the ongoing review of the National Youth policy.

The initiative spearheaded by the Youth Empowerment Synergy (YES) Ghana had the massive buy-in from the political science department of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and the National Youth Authority.

The dialogue which came off at the KNUST Great Hall created a platform for young Ghanaians to share opinions and suggestions about what a progressive youth policy should entail.

It was also an avenue for the youth to vent their displeasure with what they described as the seeming neglect of successive administrations for the plight of the Ghanaian youth.

Ghana is adjudged one of the first countries to develop a youth policy among commonwealth countries after the 1998 Lisbon Declaration which charged Ministers Responsible for youth to develop youth policies for their nations.

Even so, young people in the country who form the mass of the population are still faced with teething challenges of unemployment, strained access to capital, barriers to higher education and a stifling of their voices in the scheme of governance.

The first youth policy was adopted in the year 2010 however with criticism of little involvement of Ghanaian youth in its formulation.

The policy has also struggled to see the light of day due to funding challenges and delays in getting a proper legal instrument to ensure its smooth roll out.

Government is currently reviewing the 2010 youth policy through a series of dialogues to ensure that it does not suffer the same fate.

Speaking to Ultimate News on the sidelines of the event, political science lecturer with the KNUST Dr Edward Brenya indicated that the youth cannot be faulted for their cynicism because of the way politicians have run their affairs.

He explained, “We have a political system where politicians promise a lot just to win political power but sometimes without the intention to actually do what has been promised. This is where the youth feel like at the end of the day, the politicians, the leaders and the elderly do not care about us and it is better for me to focus on my bread and butter issues.”

The Ashanti Regional director of the National Youth Authority Mr. George Owels Amponsah admitted the concerns of the youth as legitimate.

He however told Ultimate News’ Ivan Heathcote – Fumador that the approach of the ongoing review process is crafted for the youth to draft and own the policy.

Executive director of the youth empowerment synergy Mr. Emmanuel Edudzie warned politicians against downplaying the voice of the youth and vulnerable groups in the country.

“Of all the dialogues that we have had so far, this was well attended and don’t take that for granted because that shows the level of interest that young people have in issues that affect them”

Mr. Edudzie disclosed that YES Ghana has received authorization to submit the views expressed by the youth for consideration at the policy level.

The policy summit was heralded by an interactive empowerment session which empanelled a Washington Mandela Leadership Initiative fellow and CEO of fabulous Woman Network Ama Duncan, lecturer with the political studies and history department of the KNUST, Dr Edward Brenya and Dr Ronald Adamtey, senior lecturer with the KNUST department of planning.

Of all the dialogues that we have had so far, this was well attended and don’t take that for granted because that shows the level of interest that young people have in issues that affect them.


By: Ghana/ Heathcote-Fumador