Nkhotakota youths demand representation

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Executive members of the District Youth Network Committee in Nkhotakota have faulted authorities at the council for allegedly sidelining them in development and planning activities in the district.

In a recent Timveni facilitated interface, the youths questioned their non-involvement in budget formulation at council level saying this makes the budget incomplete as it does not fully reflect their needs.

Among the council’s offices which the youths said have spotted grey areas include health, youth, sports and labour.

It was revealed that the district health office trained a contingent of youth friendly health service providers tasked to provide scalable and attainable youth services.

But delay to renovate a building meant for the services to be provided in due to unavailability of funds has dragged the process of ensuring the personnel discharge their operations.

Teveta

Youths like these want representation.

A representative from DHO’s office told the gathering that in the meantime a contractor mending the fence is temporarily occupying the building and is expected to renovate it soon after finishing the work.

On youth development programmes, the much touted future leaders asked the district youth office to engage them in identifying development projects.

They cited construction of a dam at Mpamantha saying there was knowledge gap regarding the project.

Director of planning and development for the district, Griffin Mhango, while admitting the failure attributed the anomaly to limited time allocated for the scrutiny of the proposed 2016/17 budget.

He said some of the stages in which the proposed budget needs to undergo were omitted hence it was sent to central government without youth’s input in it.

Said Mhango: “Usually the process of coming up with a budget at district level tells that it has to go to service committees from there it goes to the full council. The person who represents the youths at council meeting is the one who highlights them. But for this year, that process was omitted because of the time was too short.”

Reacting to the queries, district youth officer, Oscar Mlenga, challenged the youths to use existing structures of channelling grievances arguing some youths are not conversant with it.

Consequently, the DYO’s office in the just ended fiscal year embarked on strengthening youth development structures by among things, establishing youth clubs across the district as well as equipping them with leadership skills.

Public relations managers for Timveni Child and Youth Media Organisation, Ernest Makanda said the interface was organised to cement dialogue between duty bearers and the youth.

He said through such platforms, leaders are held to account for their actions in the district.

“These interface meetings are important in that they bridge the gaps which were there [between leaders and youths] and also help cement working relations, “he said.

Meanwhile, Timveni with support from Plan Malawi has conducted similar meetings in Ntchisi and Kasungu districts in which youths have been drilled in governance, advocacy, and public speaking skills in a three year long project which started in 2015 and is expected to phase out in 2017

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