The Federation of Liberian Youth (FLY) has intensified regional consultations toward the development of a National Youth Manifesto. On Tuesday, FLY with support from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) held a day-long consultation in Gbarnga, Bong County, Central Liberia for youth from five counties – Nimba, Rivercess, Grand Bassa, Lofa and Bong.
Speaking during the opening ceremony, FLY President Augustine Tamba said, the consultation is aimed at gathering views of young people across the country to develop a national youth manifesto for the empowerment of the youth.
He said as Liberia goes to elections in 2017, there is need for young people to identify issues and things they want for political parties to do for the youth when elected to power. Tamba said it is important for young people to work with political parties to identify areas that are germane to youth development that will be implemented by the next government.
He said unlike in the past, young people should not allow themselves to be used by politicians without bargaining with them on issues that concerned the youth of Liberia. The FLY President said there are lots of issues affecting the development of young people that can be placed in the national youth manifesto in order to hold political parties accountable to, considering that they (political parties) depend on young people to achieve state power.
Tamba said views of young people during the nationwide consultations would be validated and placed in the manifesto that will be signed by political parties’ leaders to demonstrate their commitment. Earlier, FLY Deputy Secretary for Program Amos Williams said the idea behind the consultations is for young people themselves to identify those issues that are critical to youth development.
Williams said the leadership of FLY considers the views of young people very important; as such, it decided to embark on the regional consultations so that their voices can be heard or placed in the manifesto. He said political parties are eagerly awaiting the development of the national youth manifesto, having met with them recently in Monrovia.
Williams assured the participants that their views will be useful in drafting the national youth manifesto. He lauded UNFPA for funding the ongoing regional consultations. The Gbarnga consultation is the second in a series, with the first held in Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County for counties in the southeast. Editing by Jonathan Browne