The Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, yesterday launched the National Youth Volunteers Programme (NYVP) in Kumasi, with a call on Ghanaian youth to “chart a new course of action for our country and various communities”.
He said the programme provided all Ghanaians with the opportunity to contribute their quota, irrespective of their educational level, political affiliation and ethnicity, to the development of the country.
The programme, which will have 13 different modules, is expected to engage 100,000 youth over the next five years.
The NYVP is an initiative of the National Youth Authority (NYA) under the Ministry of Youth and Sports.
Dr Bawumia explained that the objective of the programme was to establish a vibrant culture of voluntarism “as a means of rekindling the flames of patriotism, propriety, discipline and civic responsibility within the youth by providing a coordinated framework for streamlining volunteerism activities”.
“The NYVP provides an avenue for young Ghanaians to contribute their quota to national development by fixing the problem right in their communities all the way to the national level,” he said.
He said the main goal of the programme was to develop active citizens, “so we want
to make sure that our citizens are active and involved to foster national cohesion”.
Under the programme, he said, the youth could volunteer in any part of the country, emphasising: “You can go and teach in any part of the country. If there is a need in Upper West, you can go to offer a service; it gives national cohesion and the NYA is putting together this framework under this major programme to streamline all these activities.”
Skills development, advantage
The Vice-President further said the programme also offered the youth the opportunity to develop their skills and acquire experience, “because when you volunteer to do something, even if it is something you know how to do, just the practice of doing over and over again enhances your skills”.
Besides that, he said, it would also provide an opportunity for those without any knowledge in a skill to acquire some skill for their future use.
He said taking part in the programme would also give the subscriber an advantage over his or her competitors when seeking employment in the future, “because it takes a person of a particular type of heart, patriotism and willingness to volunteer his or her skills and time to do a job to help somebody”.
The Chief Executive of the NYA, Pius Enam Hadzide, explained that the modules were carefully selected to address the gap that existed between the skills needed in industry and those that the youth possessed by providing the space for volunteers to perfect their craft.
The modules under the programme include health and well-being, agriculture, education, infrastructure, youth and gender development, the environment, climate change and disaster risk management and sports and creation.
The rest are arts and culture, entrepreneurship and mentorship, science, research and technology, governance, conflict prevention and peace-building and care.
The NYA CEO indicated that the programme was opened to every Ghanaian aged between 18 and 35 and of sound mind, educated or not.
In the first phase of the implementation of the programme, Mr Hadzide said, three strategically selected modules would be available to serve as the building blocks of the programme.
These are agriculture, education and infrastructure.
He said due to the transformational potential of agribusiness, “the agriculture module will introduce the use of modern practices in agriculture across the beneficiary communities and will equip volunteers in the field with the skills to boost yields in the communities”.
On the education module, he said it would be used to address the gaps in the educational system by dispatching volunteers to assist hardworking teachers in under-served areas “and post those who are qualified to substantive classes to fill gaps in relevant subject areas”.
“The infrastructure module will engage volunteers to assist in the construction and rehabilitation of critical infrastructure in beneficiary communities, such as schools, clinics, community centres, libraries and other such projects, to ensure that, brick by brick, we are building the Ghana we want,” he said.
Mr Hadzide appealed to Corporate Ghana and the country’s development partners to throw their weight behind the NYVP and support the implementation and expansion of the programme.
“We cannot bemoan the decline in the values of our society and stand idle at this seminal moment when we are called to do something about it.
“We must understand that, like a complex machine, the different processes and function of diverse constituent parts all work for a desired common outcome.
Therefore, while our volunteers go into the field to build our infrastructure, educate our children and boost our yields, it is up to us to provide the necessary financial support, so that together we can achieve that common goal of national development,” he stated.