Attendees of an event held in Lusaka, Zambia, which was organised by the Commonwealth Youth Programme’s Africa centre to mark International Youth Day.
25 August 2009
Views of young people must be heard and acted upon, says Commonwealth Youth Programme’s Regional Director
A high-level panel made up of representatives from the International Labor Organisation (ILO), the World Bank, the Economics Association of Zambia, Zambia’s Youth Workers Association and Zambia’s Ministry of Youth said that urgent action is required to reduce the marginalisation of young people in society.
They were speaking at an event held in Lusaka which was organised by the Commonwealth Youth Programme’s (CYP) Africa centre to mark International Youth Day. It was attended by journalists, young people and recipients of Commonwealth Youth Awards.
“At a national level the views of young people must be heard and acted upon in every corner of public life, and the contributions of the young should be embraced,” said James Odit, Regional Director of the CYP Africa Centre. “At the community level, I urge all partners to continue instilling a sense of shared responsibility in young people.”
The panellists each outlined contributions from their organisations in reaching out to today’s youth:
The theme of this year’s International Youth Day was ‘Sustainability: Our Challenge. Our Future’.
“At the ILO we are looking at ways to increase youth employment in all sectors,” explained Japheth Banda. “Young people, due to their energetic and creative nature, are a valuable economic resource for the sustainability of agriculture and rural development.”
Azele Mbewe, Senior Youth Development Officer from Zambia’s Ministry of Youth, Sport and Child Development, agreed. “The involvement of youth in agriculture will enable the country to achieve sustainable household food security and reduce malnutrition and other diseases.”
Panellists also noted the need for more private sector involvement to prevent the marginalisation of youth. Jumbe Ngoma from the World Bank in Zambia said: “Private sector involvement...will result in the successful transition of young people from school to work, which will contribute to economic development and reduce social problems.”
Alexander Chileshe, Executive Director of the Economics Association of Zambia, stressed the importance of education and training. “The government should invest heavily in the education, training and skills of young people.”
Mathews Mulwanda, President of the Zambia Youth Workers Association (ZYWA), noted that his organisation is concerned with youth workers, many of whom are marginalised from mainstream society. ZYWA is, therefore, working to enforce various rules to promote better interest and understanding of their work.