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The President of the Ghana chapter of the West African Network of Young Women Leaders (ROAJELF Ghana), Yaa Sarponmaa Poakwa has called on the government to engage young people in peacebuilding and national development.

This will help safeguard Ghana’s peace and stability which are the catalyst for development.

Yaa Sarponmaa Poakwa explained that the youth feel disempowered to engage in the peacebuilding processes because they are not recognized as major stakeholders in national peacebuilding.

With past cases of electoral violence and attacks in neighboring countries, Miss Poakwa says young people are only considered as agents of violence because they are “relegated to the background as though they do not matter and are only useful with the weapons of war; guns in our hands and bullets around our waist”.

She, therefore, advised the government to abide by resolution 2419 (2018) which among other things calls on all relevant actors to increase the inclusive representation of youth in negotiating and implementing peace agreements.

To address these issues, ROAJELF Ghana in partnership with the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) is building capacities of young women and men in conflict analysis and prevention.

This will empower them to participate in peace processes in their organizations, communities and the country at large based on UNSC Resolutions 2419 and 2250 which seek to provide a set of guidelines upon which policies and programs will be developed.

A Peace and Security Programme Analyst with the United Nations [UNDP] Melody Azinim, in her address called for collaborative efforts among state institutions and communities to curb violent extremism since security agencies are neither omnipresent nor omniscient.

She assured that a good relationship will help the security easily get information from the communities so as to curb the danger.

“Maintaining peace and security is not an individual responsibility but a collaboration between state institutions the communities. It is important that these partnerships are established so that communities will give the necessary information in their community [to the security agencies]”, she said.

The Deputy CEO of the National Youth Authority, Akosua Manu in addressing the participants said the ongoing #FixTheCountry campaign shows the frustrations of young people in Ghana hence should not be left unresolved.

While admitting that “unemployment and a large human capital investment deficit remain products of years neglect, there is a lot more to be done”, she said, “the government has admirably shown a clear commitment to young people in this country.”

She listed initiatives like “the Nation Builders Corps, which has given the opportunity to thousands of young people to contribute meaningfully to society, the various entrepreneurship programs that offer seed capital for brilliant ideas. The investment of millions of dollars into these entrepreneurship projects and support schemes for small-scale businesses. The soon-to-be rolled-out rent assistance scheme and the COVID-19 CARES program all represent the government’s commitment to investing in our youth.”

Other personalities who were present included, Representative of the Working Group on Women, Youth Peace, and Security in Ghana, Euphemia Akos Dzathor, and the General Secretary of the Pan African Union, Ahmed Bening.

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