On the occasion of International Youth Day 2015, we are pleased to announce that the Commonwealth Foundation in London and the Youth Empowerment Synergy (YES-Ghana) in Accra have signed a new partnership agreement in support of youth-led initiatives to strengthen youth participation and development in Ghana. Under the agreement, the Commonwealth Foundation will provide GBP £90,000 to YES-Ghana towards implementation of a three-year project dubbed ‘Improving Youth Participation in Public Policy Decision-Making’, starting September, 2015.
Despite growing attention to the importance of involving young people as actors in their own right, there are strikingly low levels of youth participation in decision-making in Ghana. Against this background, our partnership is seeking increased youth participation in youth policy formulation through a unique crowdsourcing, youth-led methodology. Working through youth-led, youth-focused organisations under the umbrella of the national Voices of Youth Coalition, we will strengthen youth mobilisation, develop an online directory of youth organisations, conduct youth action research to form the basis for a ‘People’s National Youth Policy’ which would form the basis for evidence-based advocacy campaigns and stakeholder engagement. Ultimately, young people would influence government’s policy direction on youth, particularly in the development and implementation of a new National Youth Policy post-2015.
The theme for this year’s International Youth Day, Youth Civic Engagement, could not have been more appropriate and timely in the context of our partnership agreement. The objectives that we seek through this partnership are in line with our shared vision of a world where everyone is able to fully participate in and contribute to the sustainable development of an equitable society. The Commonwealth Foundation works to develop the capacity of Civil Society to act together and to engage with the institutions that shape people’s lives. That blends well with the mission of YES-Ghana to promote policies and develop initiatives that help youth succeed in becoming life-long learners, productive members of society, materially sufficient, and self-respecting citizens.
In signing the partnership agreement for the ‘Improving Youth Participation in Public Policy Decision-Making’ project, the Executive Director of YES-Ghana and Convenor of the Voices of Youth Coalition, Emmanuel Edudzie, said “over the next three years, we hope to benefit extensively from the experience and technical capacity of the Commonwealth Foundation and work closely with other partners to improve the profile of young people as capable actors able to contribute positively to the development of our nation”.
At YES-Ghana, we believe that making youth the focus of all development agendas makes economic and social sense. We encourage all stakeholders, including government, private sector, and all development partners to work together in support of meaningful participation in development processes.
Happy International Youth Day!