The Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) in collaboration with the Youth Network for Human Rights and Democracy (You-Net) has launched the Youth Focus Group Report, with the call on policy makers to involve the youth in the formulation of policies and programmes.

The report entitled: “A hopeless case? Youth in Ghana between political frustration and economic hardship”, is expected to generate public discussions and debate about youth engagement and share the findings with policy makers.

Mr Prosper Hoetu, Executive Director, You-Net, said young people in the country constitute a significant proportion of the population with statistic from the Electoral Commission indicating that about 70 percent of them were on the electoral role.

He said from observation, young people are not engaged in the decision making processes, saying that for a functional democracy it is important that those who constitute majority of the population were consulted when decisions are being made especially on issues that affect them.

Mr Hoetu said the report was aimed at supporting policy makers and young people themselves as advocates- by speaking to young people to find out their views about some key issues that affect them.

“We decided to talk to young people on some critical issues to get their views so that the outcome of the research would be used to do some advocacy, engage policy makers in order to influence decisions in their favour”, he said.

Mr Hoetu said in the research young people led the process themselves, as they were actively involved in the design of the research and the conduct of the research itself as well as the writing of the report and recommendations.

He said the report would be a good resource for advocacy for youth-led organisations and other groups, as well as for policy makers to understand what young people think about the very issues that affect them and what they thought about the policies adopted by government to address these situations.

“If you want to make policies and programmes responsive to the population, then you must speak to them directly and understand their challenges and their views in order to capture them in the design and implementation process,” he said.

Mr Hoetu said if the views of these people are taken into account in the design and implementation of programmes that were meant for them, then the programmes or policies would be more responsive and address their needs better.

“After the launch of the report, we are meeting people from youth led organisations to thoroughly discuss the findings so that they themselves would understand what is in the report, use it to advocate for better policies and better programmes for young people. From here we are going to engage directly with members of parliament, the Ministries directly involved, the National Youth Authority in several ways.”

Mr Hoetu said some of the findings from the report indicate that systems that were put in place for young people did not work for them and most institutions fail to respond to the challenges facing young people.

Also the report found out that young people thought that in order to secure an employment opportunity, they had to be politically connected whereas the constitutions states equal opportunity for all.

Dr Daniel Mann, Project Assistant, FES-Ghana, said there is the need for young people to change Ghana through participation in democracy.

He said young people are no longer going to rely on politicians to make big promises and not deliver.

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