The Voices of Youth Coalition, a youth-led platform for advocacy and action for youth participation in shaping the development agenda in Ghana is making a strong case for young people to be placed at the centre for the national development agenda by political parties.
The coalition said as Ghana prepares to hold the 2020 general elections, contesting political parties should come out with measurable policies that are targeted at young people and designed in a way that will make them active citizens who can drive socio-economic development in the country.
In a statement to make the 2020 International Youth Day which is globally celebrated on August 12, the Coalition warned that poverty could continue to be entrenched in the Ghanaian society if the health and economic needs of its youth who make up about 35 percent of the population, are not addressed.
“Young people aged 15 to 35 years account for about 35 percent of Ghana’s population and failure to respond to the education, health, employment and other needs of this large share of our nation’s population continues to entrench poverty for current and future generations.”
The Coalition further indicated that as Ghana prepares to hold the 2020 general elections, it expects the political party leaders to engage the youth at all levels and also come up with a development agenda that reflects the dreams and aspirations of the youth.
“We no longer want our elections to be about which party can mobilise the most numbers of youth with a few Ghana Cedis here and there. We want to see concrete policies and programmes. We want assurances of space on the decision-making table, and we want a comprehensive national youth policy that shapes youth development in Ghana. After all, making youth the pivot of our national development agenda will have direct dividends for current and future generations,” the Convenor of the Voices of Youth Coalition, Emmanuel Edudzie said.
The Coalition is thus making four proposals it wants to be considered by political leaders going into the December polls.
- Ghana needs a youth law that encompasses the National Youth Authority and sets the legislative framework for youth development in the country, including the institutional and technical frameworks for the promotion of youth rights, responsibilities, and structures.
- It is time for Ghana to consider creating a dedicated Ministry of Youth Affairs and sufficiently resource it to oversee the many components of the national youth development agenda, including arrangements for effective consultations with young people.
- As a matter of urgency, Ghana needs a new National Youth Policy that is properly researched and evidence-based, democratic and participatory, cross-sectional and transversal, coherent and coordinated, fairly budgeted and financed, monitored and evaluated, open and freely accessible.
- The creation of an independent national umbrella body of youth-led organisations, groups and associations is long overdue! This will serve as the fulcrum for youth voices and youth input into national decision-making processes.
Formed in 2012, the Voices of Youth Coalition is an initiative of youth-based NGO Youth Empowerment Synergy (YES-Ghana).