The National Chairman of the Young Men Christian Association (YMCA) of Ghana, Dr Emmanuel Osafo, has called on the government to ensure that the Youth-in-Agriculture programme does not serve as an avenue of employment for only party cronies.
He said the government should avoid the mishaps that were associated with the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP) by ensuring that all unemployed youth genuinely benefited from the Youth-in-Agriculture programme.
Dr Osafo, who made the appeal at the opening of the Country Focus Group meeting of the Ghana YMCA in Accra, said the Youth-in-Agriculture programme should address challenges in the agricultural sector and youth unemployment.
The two-day programme was attended by representatives from Canada, the USA and Germany. “The introduction of the youth-in-agriculture programme at the time of the country’s discovery of oil is an indication that its agricultural sector will not be sacrificed for oil production,” he said.
Dr. Osafo, however, urged the government to learn useful lessons from neigbouring Nigeria, whose agricultural sector shrunk in the wake of oil discovery there. While applauding the government for bringing back the Youth and Sports Ministry, Dr Osafo called on it to make its good intentions translated into clear and tangible actions.
He said it was unfortunate that the establishment of the NYEP was parallel with the structures of the National Youth Council, noting. “The country could have saved a lot of money if the NYEP had been situated in the district offices of the National Youth Council.”
He urged the government to strengthen the National Youth Council and make it a real resource centre for the youth. The General Secretary of the YMCA, Mr Prosper Hoeyi, for his part, said the YMCA had placed the development of the youth at the centre of its operations.
He noted that the new vision of the association was to make the youth participate actively in policy making by the development of their minds, bodies and spirit.
Mr Hoeyi said as part of that vision, the association had established youth clubs in a number of junior high schools to help the youth understand the subject-to-citizen process, saying, “It’s about time the youth understood their civic rights, as well as their responsibilities.”
He said the youth needed to be taught to use their voices, not their muscles, to influence policies, adding, “We hope the youth empowerment model we have developed will help achieve that.” Events of the two-day programme will include the presentation of the year’s road map, as well as the budget. As part of the review, Mr Hoeyi said the association would seek ways to make the association financially viable.
Source: Daily Graphic/Ghana
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