The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has inaugurated its ‘Youth Sounding Board’ to offer the youth the opportunity to contribute to sustainable development, particularly in Africa.
The aim is to empower young people to hold government and development partners accountable for their commitments to youth development.
It is to ensure that the voices of Ghana’s young population are heard, considered, and integrated into UNDP’s programmes.
The Board Members, composed of 12 influential young individuals, would play an essential role in advising UNDP on strategies for engaging young people in the implementation of its country’s programme for 2023-2027.
Speaking at the inauguration in Accra, Dr Angela Lusigi, UNDP Resident Representative in Ghana said, ‘Our new Youth Sounding Board is a consultative platform that embodies inclusivity, diversity, and active participation of Ghanaian youth in the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals.’
She said it was a significant milestone in their commitment to youth inclusion in the conceptualization, design, and delivery of UNDP interventions and the work of the UN in Ghana.
According to her, it was the hope of UNDP that these young voices, their ideas, and solutions would influence the direction of development for a better, inclusive, and more prosperous Ghana.
The UNDP Resident Representative said young people aged 15-35 years represent approximately 34 per cent Ghana’s population, and 50 per cent of Ghana’s population was under the age of 20, adding that the ‘youth must be fully engaged.’
Dr Lusigi said that UNDP was currently providing integrated support to transform the ecosystem for growing Micro Small and Medium Enterprises in Ghana, particularly those led by Youth and Women, stating that they could thrive and harness opportunities within and beyond Ghana’s borders through the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement.
She said jobs remained the most significant challenge in Ghana and UNDP has invested in creating an enabling environment at local level for Micro Small and Medium Enterprises to thrive.
Dr said it was also ensured that workplaces were free from discrimination, adding that ‘the 42 young innovators, who have received over $500,000 and capacity development support are running thriving businesses in the Agriculture, Education, Health, Waste Recovery and Cosmetics sectors.’
She, therefore, appealed to the youth to join the UNDP Ghana and together to build the future saying that ‘you’re participation matters, your voices matter, and your dreams for a better, inclusive, and prosperous Ghana matter.’
Ms Josephine Agbeko, City Advisor for Inclusive Climate Action, said they would recognise the mandate given to them to influence UNDP’s programmes to be inclusive and commit to bringing their skills and knowledge from diverse fields onboard to ensure that this was a truly consultative platform.
Ms Grace Annabi, a Member of the Youth Sounding Board and a teacher promised to speak on behalf of her colleagues especially those living with disabilities and make them know that disability was not inability.
The UNDP Youth Sounding Board serves as a milestone in fostering inclusive development by channeling the aspirations, insights, and dynamism of the Ghanaian youth, which forms about 50 per cent of the country’s population.
The initiative embodies UNDP’s unwavering commitment to amplify youth perspectives and facilitate an environment where the youth’s inputs propel tangible changes.
Source: Ghana News Agency