A Lecturer with the Centre for Peace and Security Studies, University for Development Studies (UDS), Tamale, Gregory Titigah, has called on the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) across the country to develop district specific youth policies or localize national youth policies in order to meet the orientation, aspiration, culture and the world view of the youth in their localities.
The lack of such policies makes it difficult for young people to relate to the workings of district assemblies and in effect do not contribute to the decision making and execution of local development plans, Mr. Titigah indicated.
In research conducted by the lecturer at Yilo Krobo, Ashaiman and Awutu Senya, it was disclosed that none of the three MMDAs has a tailor-made local policy and programmes on youth development, but are all heavily reliant on national level policy and programmes.
The aim of the research was to ascertain the extent and level of youth participation in local governance in Ghana, identify the challenges and opportunities associated with youth participation in local governance.
It was also to ascertain the challenges by MMDAs in involving the youth in decision making at the local level and make recommendations for improving youth advocacy, empowerment and development in local governance process in selected MMDAs.
In spite of constitutional, legal and policy frameworks, Ghana is still facing challenges in promoting youth participation in governance.
“At the MMDA level, there are issues of weak committee system and ineffectiveness of the sub-structures, poor systemic checks and balances resulting in poor accountability to the people, and low capacity and motivation of assembly members. In addition, there exists limited opportunity, voice and space for popular participation,” the research revealed.
Generally, there are concerns about the level of participation by citizens, particularly the youth in statutory activities including planning and budgeting processes.
Though youth involvement in democratic governance and participatory development is gaining currency in Ghana in recent times, the nation has come to acknowledge that, investing in the youth and providing them with the needed opportunities to be part of the political decision-making process is profitable because it creates ownership and is fundamental to mentorship.
“The Assemblies should develop effective youth policies or localize youth policies that are drawn from the national level and the policies should not be omnibus but place emphasis on addressing the peculiar challenges facing the youth in specific localities,” Mr. Titigah noted.