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Thursday, 07 March 2019 09:33

Cavwoc advocates for meaningful youth participation

Written by  Steve Chirombo
Pangani (seated left) and youth representatives pose for a group photo. Pic Steve Chirombo (Mana) Pangani (seated left) and youth representatives pose for a group photo. Pic Steve Chirombo (Mana)

Chikwawa, March 7, 2019: Centre for Alternatives for Victimized Women and Children (Cavwoc) has emphasized that time has now come for various stakeholders in the country to start engaging the youth effectively for the country to achieve meaningful development.

Projects Coordinator for Cavwoc in Chikwawa, Judith Pangani made the remarks on Friday when her organization engaged various district partners on meaningful youth participation under the Get Up, Speak Out (GUSO) initiative which empowers young people to stand up and voice out their rights.

“The meeting was about engaging the youth meaningfully and this should lead us to asking ourselves a question of, whether as stakeholders we engage them effectively or not,” she said.

“If not, through the session where the youths were also present they will now understand whether they are making strides in their lives or not. From now on, they will be able to make choices between good and bad,” the Coordinator added.

Pangani said for a long time the youth have been denied chances to rise to the platforms that were helpful, expressing hope that things would change for the better since stakeholders have been oriented together with the youths themselves.

She said it was the expectation of Cawvoc to see stakeholders engaging young people in various governance structures by, among other things, representing various district offices in some decision making forums.

“We would like to see the youth taking leadership positions at all levels. In GUSO programme being implemented at an alliance level, Cavwoc is one of the implementing partners and we thought it was necessary to engage stakeholders and train them in meaningful youth engagement.

“The reason for doing this is that there are stakeholders who work with young people at district level and we targeted the technical working groups which comprises different cadres,” Pangani added.

She said Cavwoc has registered successes particularly in areas where the organization is implementing the project, citing Lundu and Ngabu, noting: “We have seen that some of the youth are in structures like the area and village development committees.”

District Youth Officer (DYO) for Chikwawa, MacNeil Shire said the youth were represented at certain levels but not to the expectation considering that most young people were left out especially in decision making processes.

He hailed Cavwoc for organizing the session, which he said, would help empower young people voice out their concerns and be part of the decision-making processes.

“Currently youth participation is low, a situation that would likely affect them from voicing out their concerns or to take part in decision making. We would like to start addressing their concerns by ensuring constant engagement,” Shire explained.

Chikwawa District Youth Network Publicity Secretary who is also Executive Director for Tiyamike Youth Organization, John Nkhwazi said lessons and best practices generated from the meeting would work to their benefit.

“Honestly, we can’t talk of development when the youth are left behind. There is a need to engage young people and let them contribute to the own development,” he said.

Nkhwazi bemoaned some youth clubs that were on and off due to interferences from other organizations.

“It’s high time for young people to realize that we have potential to take part in various leadership positions,” he said.

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