In Celebrating International Youth Day… Youth Activist Calls for Inclusion of Young People in Decision Making

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Youth Activist and Journalist Amb Foday Moriba Conteh

By Amin Kef Sesay

One of Sierra Leone’s most outstanding youth activists and journalists, Amb Foday Moriba Conteh has on Wednesday 12th August, 2020 during the International Youth Day celebration called on the Government of Sierra Leone to always include young people in decision making processes in the country.

He said youth participation in decision making processes is about creating opportunities for young people to be involved in influencing, shaping, designing and contributing to the formulation of policies and the development of services and programmes.

Amb Foday Moriba Conteh said these opportunities are created through developing a range of formal and informal mechanisms for youth participation, from youth advisory groups to focus groups, from on-going consultation work to supporting youth-led projects. There are many reasons for including young people in decision-making, he averred.

He maintained that youth participation means better decisions and increased efficiency as evidences show that policies and programmes designed after consultation with users are most likely to be effective.

“By prioritizing youth participation Government is more likely to get it right the first time and avoid wasting time and money on services young people don’t want to use,” he underscored further pointing out that giving young people a place in decision-making builds a broader base of citizens’ involvement and creates stronger, more inclusive communities.

“Youth participation is necessary in the development of active citizenship because it balances young people’s social rights with their responsibilities and that young people who are supported to participate in decision-making are more likely to have increased confidence and self-belief, exercise positive career choices and have greater involvement and responsibility in the future,” he affirmed.

The result-oriented activist also stated that Youth participation challenges negative stereotypes of young people and help break down barriers between adults and young people.

He expressed the conviction that by involving young people in decision-making such can improve attitudes towards understanding young people and create a greater awareness of youth issues in Sierra Leone.

Amb Foday Moriba Conteh lamented that for far too long young people have been excluded in decision making processes in the country which, he said, has resulted to the increase of issues affecting young people in the country, adding that with the inclusion of young people in decision making processes such will help to mitigate the challenges faced by young people in the country.

He said currently the Ministry of Youth Affairs and its partners are reviewing the National Youth Policy to ensure that it should be inclusive and that young people themselves should be fully included in the entire process.

Amb. Foday further suggested that the Ministry of Youth Affairs and its partners must hold consultations with young people in order to capture the issues affecting young people which could be factored in the National Youth Policy that will serve as a guide for Government in dealing with issues of young people in the country.

He ended by calling on young people to know that they are change makers and contributors to nation building and that they should stand up and be ready to take leadership roles vis-à-vis the development of our beloved nation.

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