Involve us in Planning - Youths Demand

Katopola appreciating some of the initiatives the youths are doing during the meeting Katopola appreciating some of the initiatives the youths are doing during the meeting - pic by Raphael Mlozoa

Youths in the country have demanded full representation in the technical functions of the government as the country implements the 2063 development agenda.

Speaking Thursday during a two-day Multisector youth thematic meeting in Mangochi, where youths and government ministries that directly deal with challenges that affect them, youth representative Adorah Maere, said current structures that represent the youths have failed.

According to Maere, both in rural and urban areas, youths have inspirations and ambitions to take part in the development of the nation, but the environment is not conducive to enable them participate and develop the country to their fullest potential.  

“There are so many challenges that we are facing, for example in the health sector, where there is inadequate funding allocated towards youth friendly health service, poor involvement of young people in service delivery, mental health component is largely ignored in most health initiatives despite the increasing cases of suicide in youths,” said Maere, who challenged that youth themselves have solutions.

She added: “As youths we have so many issues that we could have loved to be addressed, they have overstayed. It’s a clear indication that those structures that are said to represent us are not working.”

Principal secretary in the ministry of gender, community development and social welfare, Isaac Katopola, agreed that for too long, youth voices have hardly been considered during planning.

“And the results are becoming evident that we really need to listen to young people on what they want and this platform provides the opportunity for the government to highlight key areas of focus that will enhance youth wellbeing and increased participation,” said Katopola in a meeting that was both physical and virtual.

He therefore acknowledges Health Policy Plus for conceptualizing and funding the meeting, bringing together the youth and officials from his ministry, youth, health and education saying absence of such forums are the main reasons youths are complaining.

Health Policy Plus Deputy Director, Sandra Mapemba, said while policies are being realigned to fit in in the 2063 agenda, their wish is that youth voices be incorporated and policies be popularized so that the youths should be able to audit the implementation process.

Mapemba said most of the times when new policies are formulated are not popularized enough and it is very difficult for people, mainly youth to provide checks and balances on the implementation.

“We are a policy project, so we will continue to assist the government in shaping the policies but also continue providing platforms for young people and government so that they can hold the government accountable for things they have put in the policy,” said Mapemba.

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