National Youth Policy receives stakeholders’ inputs
Georgetown, GINA, February 19, 2014
The Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport today held a symposium on the draft National Youth Policy that garnered the input and full participation of senior officials from the public sector, development agencies and civil society.
The symposium which was held at the Carifesta Sports Complex was intended to determine achievable strategies, interventions, and multi-stakeholder implementation responses that will produce successful outcomes for Guyana’s youths.
In 2013, the Youth Ministry launched an ambitious programme to deliver a modern and comprehensive National Youth Policy, which gives effect to the goal of Government to empower the country’s youths in keeping with acceptable regional and international policies. Subsequently, consultations were held throughout the 10 Administrative Regions, and the first draft of the policy was crafted with the support from the Commonwealth Youth Programme (CYP) which provided financial and technical support.
Speaking at the symposium, Minister of Culture Youth and Sport Dr. Frank Anthony underscored the importance of youth investment, and noted that the Ministry has been working to develop and upgrade the National Youth Policy since the early 90s. However, he said that perhaps what was relevant then might not be so pertinent now or some of those issues might have persisted and still need to be addressed.
Minister Anthony stated that it is important that while those challenges are identified, solutions are also established. “It is sometimes easy for us to identify the challenges, but we don’t go the step further of proposing solutions, and if we do that we will be failing,” Minister Anthony stated.
He told the gathering that they must be able to recognise the fundamental issues that need to be tackled from the ones that are hyped-up, and that they should go beyond just looking at the policy, and how it was drafted.
The youth sector is too large to be restricted to one sector, and while the subject ministry has the leading responsibility; it cuts across all ministries and every other sector in society. Therefore, the Minister said that some of the solutions have to be validated with programmes that are already available. “If services are not meeting the young people where they are located then what we can do to ensure that services are made available to these young people,” Minister Anthony added.
He highlighted some of the prevalent issues affecting the young generation, such as HIV, teenage pregnancy, Non Communicable Diseases, abuse and unemployment. “These are the issues we need to tackle…we are not doing a youth policy just for youth policy sake, we are doing a policy because we are serious, and we want to use it to make changes and help young people better themselves,” the Youth Minister stressed.
Permanent Secretary, Alfred King also urged the gathering to understand fully the ministry’s intent to use a more contemporary process in trying to create a modern policy for youths. He urged the respective sectors to integrate what they are doing into the policy so that they would be able to contribute to its effectiveness.
Meanwhile, Consultant Derek Alleyne who lauded the Government of Guyana for crafting such a policy, stated that drafting it was challenging because of the diversity of Guyana, however the experience was momentous. He urged the stakeholders to take all the efforts and limitations of what occurred, and use some of those experiences from the key strategy areas that will have a long lasting effect on Guyana and its young people.