By Susana Naa Dzagbley Ago
The Star Ghana Foundation has organised a three-day capacity-building forum and inception meeting for youth groups participating in the Action for Youth Development (AFYD) project.
The conference seeks to facilitate interactions between the youth groups and duty-bearers within the New Juaben South Municipal Assembly in Koforidua.
The Foundation, with financial support from the BOTNAR Foundation, is carrying out a three-year initiative known as “Action for Youth Development (AFYD).”
The project aims to enhance the conditions necessary for youth inclusion and influence in governance access within Koforidua as part of the broader “Our City Project” endeavours.
Earlier this year, Koforidua witnessed the launch of the AFYD and the “Our City Project,” which has now progressed to a mapping exercise and evaluations of Expressions of Interest from potential partners. In view of this, four Civil Society Organisations (CSOs)—Divine Mother and Child Foundation (DMAC), Bibia Be Ye Fine (BBF), AFES, and Youth Parliament—operating within the project’s scope have been chosen as grant partners.
Speaking during the workshop at Koforidua, Project Manager of Star Ghana Foundation, Dr. Ernestina Tetteh, said the inception meeting and training workshop are to create an avenue for the grant partners to present their projects to the municipality.
It is also to situate the work of the Assembly and the National Youth Authority within the work of the partners. Various youth groups presented their three-year proposal initiatives to duty-bearers with the aim of aligning them with the development agenda.
The main objective is to prioritise the interests and development of the youth and ensure their crucial role in the overall development agenda.
Dr. Tetteh was optimistic that the youth would actively participate in decision-making and governance by the end of the three-year project. Head of Programmes, Star Ghana Foundation, Mrs. Eunice R. Agbenadzi, indicated that the project would be inclusive and minimise disparities in access to social services for the youth groups.
She said the project also focuses on the inclusion of marginalised groups, such as women, youth, and persons with disabilities, in the development process.
“Overall, this project will help to make sure that young people are included in development processes and reap its benefits,” she added, “to guarantee that development programming is more meaningful for young people and provides access to social services, including education, a decent job, and health and wellbeing.”
Again, it will focus on targeted areas for development in Koforidua, including infrastructure, education, health, and economic development, as well as promote sustainable development by empowering local communities and stakeholders to take ownership of development projects and drive them forward.
The New Juaben South Municipal Chief Executive, Isaac Apau Gyasi, said the Local Government Act 941 recognises the critical role of the youth in development and that his office has always engaged them in several ways in policy formulation and decision-making.
“The challenge is that the youth tend to shy away from participating in programmes and policies that are very critical to their own development,” he stated. He was hopeful that with the Star Ghana Foundation initiative, the narratives would change to ensure youth participation in their programmes. While congratulating the selected groups for the project, he urged them to actively get involved in the budget and fee-fixing processes of the assembly.
This, he said, would enable them to help educate the communities in which they intend to implement their proposed initiatives to increase effective citizen engagement in governance.
The “Our City” initiative is a collaborative effort involving key stakeholders, including CSOs, government agencies, and private sector players, to ensure that development efforts are aligned with the requirements and priorities of local communities.