Govt, partners unite for youths

Govt, partners unite for youths

Government and development partners have said they realise the demographic advantage that youth in the socio-economic development of the country have and have since pledged support towards their empowerment in spheres of life.

Vice-President Saulos Chilima and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) deputy representative Ezizgeldi Hellenov made the remarks yesterday at Mzuzu Stadium during commemoration of International Youth Day.

Chilima speaks to the youth at one of the pavilions

Chilima said government, leaders, and influencers must not leave the youth behind, noting,the Malawi 2063 blueprint, which he said was youth-centric, demands that young people must be proactive in pushing for the realisation of this agenda.

“In this regard, we commit to work alongside the private sector, civil society organisations and development partners, to invest in the youth of this nation. It is a fact that as young people you have inherited a broken planet but we are willing to work with you to reverse the damage,” said the Veep.

He further said stakeholders must support the youth by offering them networking opportunities, resources, mentorship and training, but also ensuring that the youth are involved at all levels, including policy and decision-making.

On his part, Hellenov said Malawi as a nation where 51 percent of the population is under the age of 18, youths wield immense potential and embody the spirit of change.

He said: “The challenges they face—from poverty to unemployment, from lack of access to essential health services to gender-based violence—serve as a clarion call for us to take action and create an environment where our young people can thrive.”

He committed that the United Nations will continue to support expanding access of adolescent and young women to integrated sexual and reproductive health services, and especially family planning, as a key intervention to build climate resilience.

A youth, Salome Kadazi said they understand their demographic advantage to assist in the attainment of the national goals, enriched in Malawi 2063, but there are challenges that need addressing.

She added: “In the formal education sector, there is inadequate infrastructure, some schools have no desks, and students sit on the floor and sometimes learn under trees. 

“With the current trend, Malawi cannot transition to an upper middle class economy if the majority of youths remain uneducated,” warned Kadazi.

Mzuzu City deputy mayor councillor Tonny Mwenitete, while commending government for trying to improve lives of youths, reminded Chilima of the slow pace at which Mzuzu Youth Centre is being constructed.

He said the project will be the centre of skills development for youths, creating workable links, friendships and areer development, among others.

In an interview after the event, Youth and Sports Minister Uchizi Mkandawire said government will ensure that the youth are counted in Malawi.

“We had the National Economic Empowerment Fund (Neef) officials who have told us about the loans they are providing. But the challenges young people face is about collateral because Neef requires that before loans are disbursed,” he said.

The commemoration, which started with a big walk and inspection of pavilions, was held under the theme ‘Green Skills for Youth: Towards a Sustainable World’.

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