Young people account for over 60 percent of the country’s population. The Malawi National Youth Policy of 2013 recognizes that young people are a rich array of skills, experiences, capacities, lifestyles and, indeed, problems. They represent a vast human resource potential which, if properly prepared and tapped, can contribute positively to their personal as well as national development. If neglected, youth will be a missed opportunity.
Meaningful development would entail empowering the youth to actively participate in decision making at family, community and national level. Timveni Child and Youth Media Organisation, with support from Plan International, has been empowering young people with skills and knowledge in advocacy, governance and public speaking to enable them to be proactive in the development of their families, communities and the nation as a whole.
The project, Enhancing Youth Participation in Governance, has engaged with district youth networks from Kasungu, Ntchisi and Nkhotakota. Recently, Timveni facilitated a series of TV and radio debates on Resource and Budget Allocations towards Specific Youth Projects in Kasungu, Ntchisi and NKhotakota. The debates brought executive members of the district youth network face to face with members of the district executive committee.
The debates revealed information gaps. For example, most young people were not aware of how a budget is formulated at area and district level or how their issues are incorporated into it. This means that the youth are hardly consulted ordo not participate in the formulation of the budget.
Apart from that, the meetings highlighted that the District Youth Offices are allocated a ridiculously lean budget; hardly enough to implement a major project for the youth. These and many other issues that arose during the debates revealed a sad precedent that could be a prelude to disaster if left unchecked.
District Development Officer for Nkhotakota, Griffin Mhango, said during the debate that the youth ought to be proactive in demanding for projects that would help uplift their lives. He encouraged Timveni Child and Youth Media Organisation to continue empowering young people and further.
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