The Director of the National Youth Authority (NYA) in the Upper West Region, Mr Amankone Ampofo has called for active involvement of the youth in national development discourses to facilitate their understanding of national affairs.
He said it would better position them to support the development agenda of the nation as they would gain better understanding of the policies, programmes and plans underpinning the development of the nation and how they correlated with each other.
Mr Ampofo stated this on Tuesday at a youth engagement meeting at Wa by the Northern Sector Action on Awareness Centre (NORSAAC), a Tamale-based non-governmental organisation in the Northern Region.
With support of Oxfam Ghana, the meeting sought to engage selected youth and youth advocates in the region on issues that affected their development and get them to demand for the right to participate in decision making and governance processes.
The Director stated that the youth formed a sensitive age group that harboured dreams for important social change and had the requisite ability to propel the nation’s development.
“The youth can be utilised in sectors such as health, education, technology, business, trade, agriculture, among others through moral based education to spread peace and wealth throughout the country,” he said.
He called on society to see the youth as a tool for creating congenial developmental atmosphere and asked that policy makers made available opportunities that supported the pursuit of educational goals and development of life skills, necessary for local and national leadership positions for which the youth could patronise to sharpen their skills.
The Youth Advocacy and Campaigns Coordinator of NORSAAC, Ms Blessila Na-Afoe Kandoh said the holistic development of northern Ghana would become a reality if the youth were introduced earlier to the responsibilities they were to shoulder in future.
“We have needs and aspirations as youth and these can only be projected by us through participation at the decision table; other than that, we will continue to suffer youth unemployment and unavailability of decent jobs, educational setbacks among others because the views of the very people involved are not even considered for future policy planning”, she bemoaned.
She appealed to policy makers, traditional rulers, development agents and governments to make room for youth participation and encouraged the youth to also take up leadership positions so that they are able to join in the advocacy of issues concerning their own development.
FROM LYDIA DARLINGTON FORDJOUR, WA