Project to make Sunyani youth active citizens launched
A three-years project to equip the youth to become active citizens and take part in the social, political and economic activities in Sunyani and its immediate environs was launched in Sunyani last Wednesday.
Dubbed the Resilient City for Adolescents Project, it is also aimed at improving access to good quality and affordable healthcare, education and other social services to help reduce the negative impact of teenage pregnancy, smoking, drug abuse and mental health problems in the municipality.
About 1,500 adolescents are expected to directly benefit from the project, while about 3,000 more will experience the positive impact of the project.
The Global Media Foundation (GLOMEF) and its primary partners, Indigenous Women Empowerment Network and Citizens Watch Ghana, have secured a £300,000 grant from the Swiss Botnar Foundation to implement the three-year adult inclusive project.
Already, the youth in various communities in Sunyani and its environs have been organised with each of them electing their representative (Member of Parliament) to meet them from time to time to deliberate on pertinent issues and seek answers from duty bearers in the city.
Addressing the launch, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GLOMEF, Raphael Godlove Ahenu, said the project hinged on a three-pronged approach concerning social, political and economic empowerment.
That, he explained, involved identifying and addressing the needs of adolescents; increasing adolescents’ inclusion and participation in city-level planning and development and ensuring sustainable access to quality services targeting education, health, security, job creation and the environment.
Mr Ahenu informed duty bearers in Sunyani that the youth would soon be knocking at their doors "because they have a duty to get involved at the various city planning, health sector planning, education, employment and review processes".
He stated that the project would also create an online platform where young people could monitor, interact, learn and share information about challenges and positive changes in their city.
The goal, Mr Ahenu said, was to promote advocacy and bring about transformative changes that support the development and well-being of adolescents in Sunyani and its immediate environs.
He stated that the “world currently has more young people than at any time in history”.
Mr Ahenu added, however, that far too many of today's 1.8 billion adolescents and youth across the world would fall short of their potential if current policy and investment approaches failed to meet their needs.
"Youth and adolescent voices must be at the centre of decision-making processes for their own health and well-being, their empowerment and resilience, their education and skills and their connection with people and the planet," he said.
In his remarks, the Nkwankwaahene (chief for the youth) of the Sunyani Traditional Area, Nana Kwame Baah Atoapoma I, urged adolescents and their parents to support the project to turn the fortunes of the youth in the area.