Youth urged to set agenda for inclusion in decision making

Wa, Nov. 24, GNA - Dr Charles Abugre, a former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Northern Development Authority (NDA), has challenged the youth to be proactive and set a compelling agenda for their inclusion in decision making process.

“If you are proactive in your thinking, nobody can exclude you. If you are waiting to be included, you shall only be partially included;-you shape the agenda and you engage all forms of power”, he said.

Dr Abugre was speaking during a youth parallel session for 2021 Northern Ghana Development Summit organised by the Northern Sector Action on Awareness Centre (NORSAAC) in Wa.

“Nobody needs to include or exclude you, but you create the agenda for conversation”, he said and emphasized that the issue was not about numbers, but the quality of ideas they would bring forward and the passion with which they want to engage.

“When you do all that and you then want space at the official event itself and you don’t get, you agitate”, he added.

Dr Abugre also advised the youth to be interested in reading the budget and asking the necessary questions, noting that without the budget, there would not be development.

On development in Northern Ghana, Dr Abugre said Development constraints were not simply governmental, but also about attitudes, lack of cooperation, conflicts, tribal and ethnic bigotry among others that needed collective intervention, adding that only after this that they could advocate national and international governmental and donor support to meet the present and future development needs of the area.

“When people speak with one voice that is beyond their tribes, religion, and political parties among others, many things can happen”, the former CEO said.

Mr Mohammed Mahamud, Equality Programme and Influencing Lead, OXFAM, said the youth were often excluded in decision making and same was happening with the Northern Development Summit.

He noted that the number of youth across the globe was so huge and if excluded in decision making process, the decisions taken may not be addressing the needs of the youth.

Mr Mahamud hinted that it was the reason why, parallel meetings were important and hoped that the meeting would end with concrete proposals for the summit.

He said an investment into women and children issues would be a step towards ending poverty tomorrow, but a failure to invest in these groups would only lead to an entrenchment of poverty tomorrow.

Mr Mohammed Awal Alhassan, the Executive Director of NORSAAC said the exclusion of youth, which formed a critical component of society from the summit was not a good practice, hence the move to get the youth not just to participate but also to make a strong contribution at the summit.

He said the goal was to see the youth across the five regions of the north participating in the summit next year and also having the Regional Coordinating Councils (RCCs) reaching out to them in their various regions to participate in decision making.
Mr Amankone Ampofo, the Regional Director of the National Youth Authority (NYA) noted that there must be a concerted effort to engage the youth in national development discourse in order to harness their great potential.

Blessilla Na-afoe Kandoh, Youth Advocacy and Campaigns Coordinator of NORSAAC, noted that at the end of the parallel summit, they expected to see a well-informed youth capable of making key inputs to the development discourse that was going to take place at the main summit.