Ghana is a country of policies. There are policies for almost every aspect of our national development. However, when it comes to youth policy, somehow, we cannot boast of a strong record of accomplishment as a nation. Since independence, it was only in 2010 that the first national youth policy was successfully launched. Despite its technical shortcomings, that policy was generally hailed as an important first step for the youth policy domain in Ghana. Seven years on, however, there is little evidence of implementation of that policy, thereby prompting many young people and stakeholders in the youth sector to amplify their call for a review of the policy to pave way for the development of a new one.
The absence of a youth policy over the years, and the non-implementation of the 2010 policy created an atmosphere of disorganisation, with various actors in the youth sector facing different directions with their programming. Government itself churned out several ad hoc, uncoordinated and incoherent youth programmes that had no basis in youth policy. Among them, the Skill Training and Employment Placement (STEP) Programme, the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP) which transitioned severally into the current Youth Employment Agency (YEA), and the Youth Enterprise Support (YES). As is expected, these scattered efforts have not achieved any meaningful results.
The advent of a new government led by His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo provides an important window of opportunity to pursue a new momentum for youth policy in Ghana. The new government needs to demonstrate that youth are a priority by initiating a broad base, systematic, youth-led process for youth policy review that will result in the drafting of a new policy. The process must be multi-sectoral to ensure that youth policy outcomes are in tandem with various sectors of the Ghanaian economy. Most importantly, the process for the review of youth policy and the development of a new one must leave no youth behind.
Fortunately, the Voices of Youth Coalition has taken the lead by developing the Peoples National Youth Policy – a comprehensive compilation of youth policy options and process guidance for the review of current youth policy and the development of a new one. Developed entirely by young people themselves with technical guidance from key experts, the People’s National Youth Policy constitute young people’s voices captured in a way that can be immediately adopted for national youth policy.
The Voices of Youth Coalition therefore avails this People’s National Youth Policy to government and all stakeholders. With over 500 youth organisations reaching more than half a million young people in all ten regions of Ghana, the Coalition is also willing and able to engage actively at all levels in any process leading to the development of a new national youth policy.
Convenor, Voices of Youth Coalition
Executive Director, Youth Empowerment Synergy