River Gee County Senator Ambassador Conmany Wesseh has submitted a youth bill titled: “The National Youth Policy Act” to members of the plenary of the Liberian Senate for possible enactment. Senator Wesseh submitted the bill last week in the chambers of the Liberian Senate at the Capitol Building during the regular session of the upper house.
According to the draft Act, the goals of the National Youth Policy are to strengthen the values, principles and incentive of the youth to be good citizen and partners in the development process.
The goals also include ensuring that young people are integrated and involved in all development plans at all levels; promote programs that will enhance national sustainable development and stability for Liberia; and to establish the necessary framework for building youth’s capacities.
Additionally, the Act seeks to improve young people’s economic conditions by re-designing existing youth programs and projects; involve young people in decision – making at all levels of government; and ensuring that young people’s right to safety is protected.
The draft Act indicates that the objectives of the policy are to sensitize all stakeholders on the issue affecting the youth in Liberia so as to mainstream them in policies and programs.
Further, it intends to shape partners initiatives and programs, identify, explore and stuffiest ways and means through which youth can be empowered to be active and good citizens.
The bill suggests that every youth, subject only to the limitation imposed by the organic law of Liberia, shall have and enjoy all rights to which they are entitled.
“Immediately upon the passing of this Act, it shall be encumbered on men and women in the society, the business community, the Ministries of Education, Health, Gender, Children and Social Protection, Labor, Youth and Sports and Justice, to ensure that the hopes and aspirations of the youths are met,” the Act says.
It calls for support to the development, productivity and utilization of young people’s talents and energy trough the provision of adequate material and emotional/psycho-social support to ensure that platforms for youth participation in decision – making at local, national, regional and continental levels are created and sustained in order to mainstream youth perspectives into planning and decision – making processes as well as programs.
The bill calls for the inclusion of young people in the national planning, designing, coordinating and monitoring of youth activities, the creation of an enabling environment for youths to recognize their potentials, and ensuring quality free instructions, trainings and economic opportunities in all public universities and public technical and vocation education training (TVET) without segregation.
The Act also seeks the development of youth – friendly and focused health facilities throughout the country and the development of sports and recreational facilities; protection from substance and other forms of abuse and rehabilitation of youth who are addicted.
Further, it calls for the development of TVET and affirmative actions that support youth representation at the highest levels of Liberia’s political institutions and boot their participation in the country’s socio-economic and political processes.
The youth document points out that it shall be the responsibility of government to ensure that the National Youth Policy and its action plan, as revised by the young people of Liberia every five years and validated at a summit for that purpose, are fully implemented and that budgetary appreciations are made to ensure the full implementation of activities therein.
The bill continues that it shall be the duty of the Ministry of Youth Sports to facilitate the training of youths in diverse discipline, monitor and evaluate youth activities and programs, and to provide direction for youth affairs.
The 70th plenary meeting of the UN General Assembly held on 12 December 1997, adopted Resolution ( A/RES/52/83), which re-affirmed the importance of youth and called on all member countries to involve youth and youth organizations in all matters of concern to them.
An earlier Resolution (50/81) adopted on December 14, 1995, had also called on member states to formulate and adopt their National Youth Policies in consultation with the youth and youth-related organizations, if they had not already done so.
It can be recalled that in July 2006, African Union Heads of States and Government meeting in Banjul, Gambia, endorsed the African Youth Chapter (AYC) as political and legal document, which serves as the strategic framework that gives direction for youth empowerment and development at continental, regional and national levels.
The youth organizations in Liberia and the Ministry of Youth and Sports have jointly resolved to strengthen, reinforce and consolidate efforts to empower young people through meaningful youth participation and equal partnership in driving Liberia’s development agenda in support of engendering policies, programs and actions for youth development in Liberia specifically those aimed at furthering the rights, freedoms and duties of the youth in Liberia;
The formulation of the Liberia National Youth Policy positions young people both as a major source of human capacity and as agents of innovation in all aspects of life, such that young people are unified, despite diversities, atoned to the forward march of the nation, possess a sense of responsibility and ownership of the socio-economic and political processes.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor–Edited by Winston W. Parley