YES-Ghana’s Policy & Advocacy Manager participated in the youth engagement workshop on conflict transformation, organised by the ECOWAS Commission on October 4-5, 2018 in Accra. The workshop sought to provide a platform through interactive workshops where institutions and representatives of Member States openly discuss ways of adding value to national efforts towards overall youth empowerment by introducing innovation, creativity, financial/technical support and peace education/enterprise into the equation, and leveraging the power of the private sector and development partners to buttress the endeavor.
The workshop, chaired by Mrs. Rahemaat Momodu, who represented the Commissioner of Gender and Social Affairs, expressed her frustration about the engagement of the youth of West Africa as agent of confusion and mayhem in terrorists and criminal networks, who are often incited by politicians. She however encouraged the youth to direct their productive energies into activities that inure to the benefit of the youth themselves, and by extension the society. She charged the West African youth to take centre-stage of the advocacy and provision of solutions that have stalled the growth of the sub-region.
During the workshop, our representative, Obaa Akua Konadu, the Policy and Advocacy Manager, had the opportunity to share the activities of the Voices of Youth Coalition and their People’s National Youth Policy. This received rousing commendation from participants, as this highlighted how proactive and involved some Ghanaian youth have been in engaging policymakers on issues of significant interest.
Organisations and individuals from the eleven countries all committed to taking action on advocacy initiatives discussed during the workshop. Some of the issues deliberated on include providing opportunities for talent mobility across the sub-region, providing support for young entrepreneurs and also ensuring deeper and decentralised governance systems. The plethora of initiatives were refined into concrete action points from where member states present could engage other stakeholders, especially the government in addressing the root causes of youth engagement in conflict in the region