Academic journal article The Journal of Pan African Studies (Online)

Youth Participation in Youth Programmes: The Case of Ghana's National Youth Employment Programme

Academic journal article The Journal of Pan African Studies (Online)

Youth Participation in Youth Programmes: The Case of Ghana's National Youth Employment Programme

Article excerpt

Abstract

The essence of governance and representative democracy is for elected leaders to formulate and implement appropriate policies on behalf of the people to deal with the quagmires of poverty and under-development among them. In doing this, sometimes it becomes necessary to consult the people, especially, the particular group that a policy is targeted at, to ensure that first-hand and adequate information is gathered to facilitate the design and implementation of appropriate policies to deal with that group's problems. In Ghana, since 1992, development plans have been formulated and implemented with little or no participation of the youth even though they constitute the bulk of the nation's labour force and voting population. The youth were also marginalized in the formulation and implementation of the National Youth Employment Programme, a programme intended to benefit them and to deal with unemployment among them. Consequently, the programme is saddled with several challenges most of which could have been avoided if the youth had been part of the NYEP process. What is the NYEP all about? How was it formulated and implemented? What role did the youth play in the NYEP process? What explain their weak role in the NYEP process? What are the effects of the weak role of the youth in the NYEP process on the programme? What can be done to strengthen the programme to deliver on its mandate in solving the problem of youth unemployment? These questions are addressed in the paper.

Introduction and Problem Statement

It has been estimated that youth unemployment has risen from 14.8% in 1992 to 16.4% in 2000 and came close to 29% in 2009 (ISSER, 2010). While several development policies have been formulated by the National Development Planning Commission, these have not yielded sufficient employment opportunities, a situation which has disproportionately affected the youth. Though about 250,000 young people enter the labour market annually, the formal sector is able to engage only 2% leaving 98% to strive to survive in the informal sector or remain unemployed (ibid:189). Indeed, the youth are about 3.5 times more likely to be unemployed than adults, suggesting that they have substantial difficulty in the labour market (ibid: 187). It is therefore evident that there is a need for a holistic and sustainable youth employment programme, not only to help youth find meaningful work and a secure their future, but also to help avert the negative security implications youth joblessness could have on a country's peace, development and democratic dispensation (Amoo, 2011).

The essence of governance and representative democracy is for elected leaders to formulate and implement appropriate policies on behalf of the people to deal with the quagmires of poverty and under-development among them. In doing this, sometimes it becomes necessary to consult the people, especially, the particular group that a policy is targeted at, to ensure that first-hand and adequate information is gathered to facilitate the design and implementation of appropriate policies to deal with that group's problems. In many developed countries, several programmes have been put in place to tackle the employment needs of their youth. In the USA for example youth employment programmes including Jobs for America's Graduates, Youth-Build USA, and Job Corps have been formulated and implemented to deal with unemployment among different segments of their youth (Collura, 2010). Similarly, in Ghana, the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP) is seen as a major programme initiated in 2006 by the administration of President J.A. Kufuor to deal with unemployment among the youth who according to the nation's 2000 Population and Housing Census constitute about 60% of the population of about 20 million. However, the programme has proven to be woefully inadequate in sustainably dealing with the huge problems of unemployment among Ghana's youth due to the serious setbacks it suffers. …

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