Government still sidelining youth, says YAS

Youth and Society (YAS) says Malawi Government is still sidelining the youth development agenda as there is inadequate funding towards mainstreaming youth development programs.

Executive Director for YAS Charles Kajoloweka said this in Mzuzu on Wednesday during media dissemination workshop of the 2013 National Youth Policy Evaluation Report.

In his presentation, Kajoloweka said poor coordination on the part of the Ministry of Youth for the past five years has been hindering the smooth implementation of the National Youth Policy (NYP).

He added that going by government’s budget allocations of the past five years, the priority goes to sports rather than the mainstream youth development initiatives which is contrary to the youth empowerment agenda as stipulated in the African Union (AU) and United Nations (UN) charter.

“It is not pleasing to find that Youth sector at the Council (District Youth Office) is referred to as minority component yet in charge of 70% of the Malawi population. Youth representation in decision making still remains at 0.1% and yet the voter registration in the just ended elections gave 54% being constituted by the youths, and sadly there is none of the youths in the parastatal boards,” said Kajoloweka.

As a way of mitigating some of the challenges affecting the youths in the country, President Lazarus Chakwera appointed musician Lucius Banda as his special advisor on arts and youth.

The review the 2013 National Youth Manifesto through participatory process that will take into account experiences and views of various stakeholders especially the youths, a qualitative research sample was conducted in six districts namely: Rumphi, Mzuzu, Lilongwe, Dedza, Zomba and Machinga.

Government has been implementing the current National Youth Policy (NYP) since 1996 following the world youth program championed by the United Nations hence the review on the promulgation of the third National Youth Policy being monitored by the Institute of Public Opinion (IPO).

The UN recognises youth as people between 10 to 24 years old, while Africa Youth Chapter and African Union says youth are those between 15 to 35 years old and Malawi it says 19 to 35 years old.