The National, Monday May 18th, 2015
From the perspective of the Government mandated Youth Authority, the current activities and the “Three Priority Impact Projects” it implements can be regarded as executing aspects of the National Youth Service.
The National Youth Development Authority prepared several reports on the impact projects and these have been presented to Government.
The current three priority projects, if fully funded, can bring about many changes to the lives of young people.
It needs government and stakeholders on youth services to really understand the concepts and the structures contained in the three impact projects to decipher the impact it will have on the young people in the long run.
The Government will have to get serious and fully fund these three impact projects. The “Three Priority Impact Projects” are the critical enablers for developing the National Youth Service.
They are: The revitalisation of the youth organisations, the development of the youth friendly centres (YFCs) in the provinces and districts, and the youth empowerment and enterprise development.
- A: Revitalisation programme
The revitalisation programme has now taken off on a positive note in that Parliament has just passed a law to establish the National Youth Development Authority.
This will allow the authority to establish Youth Council networks in the provinces, districts, and even at the community levels.
After having established the council networks, the provincial youth policies will be designed to guide the provinces in developing specific programmes and activities for young people.
This is the structural change required in the revitalisation programme.
We cannot just conduct programmes for young people without first having those structural modifications to implement a National Youth Service.
- B: Youth friendly centres
The Youth Friendly Centre concept can be regarded as another critical enabler to implement the National Youth Service.
Government has already approved the construction of youth friendly centres in the provinces and districts, with an initial commitment of K39.7 million.
Young people need a space and a place where they can meet, share information, have access to information, attend training, mobilise themselves when there is need for addressing disaster responses etc.
The youth friendly centre in the National Capital District will be called the National Youth Development Institute.
The institute will serve as a focal point for all the youth friendly centres in the country, and a place to pool resources and expertise at the national level, and channel them to the specific needs of each youth friendly centre.
The youth friendly centres will be the locus for out-of-school training and the strategic location to help in any programmes and activities of the National Youth Service, be it civilian or military.
- C: Youth enterprise development
Under the Youth Empowerment and Enterprise Development, a critical guiding document in that area would be the development of the National Youth Employment Framework. With the push by government to roll-out the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME), the Youth Authority wished that young people enter the SME to create wealth for themselves, and for the nation.
The SME development is the greatest opportunity for young people to be self-employed and to create employment for others.
Lae Open MP Loujaya Kouza has taken the initiative in launching the Lae District Youth SME Summit in August 2014, and it is hoped that many more districts should do the same in creating awareness on the importance of young people becoming enterprising.
Currently the National Youth Development Authority is working with private and government organisations to develop the Youth Employment Framework.
The framework, which is expected to be launched this year, has identified seven pillars which will comprehensively deal with the crux of the National Youth Service.
The pillars of the employment framework are:
- Youth employment creation;
- youth enterprise development;
- education and training;
- structural changes;
- financial grants and loan schemes;
- tracking performance and growth indicators, and,
- Strategic partnership alliance.
It is hoped that the employment framework, currently in progress, would provide the basis for the implementation and realisation of certain aspects of the National Youth Service.
Actually, the framework, when implemented, will mitigate the three youth problems discussed earlier that should be the focus for the National Youth Service, which are specific to the PNG context.
How to expedite the National Youth Service?
People and agencies responsible for youth development need to understand the concept, the model, the structures, the programmes, the activities, the impacts, and the sustainability of the National Youth Service that the Government wants to support. We need to be clear on the meaning and direction.
This is the most fundamental thing to consider straightaway.
The key players in the National Youth Service should set up a technical working committee, meet regularly for this purpose, and adhere to a stringent calendar of activities.
Currently there is a lack of information provided to relevant stakeholders regarding the development and the progress of the National Youth Services. The Government should quickly identify the responsible agencies to design a National Youth Service Plan. The issues regard youths are cross-cutting that would involve many sectors, so is the issue pertaining to law and order, which may include many organisations too.
Therefore it is recommended that:
- The Government quickly sets up a committee on the development of the National Youth Service and the Department of Prime Minister, the Defence Department and the National Youth Development Authority to become the core committee members;
m the committee undertakes fact-finding mission in several countries to explore and understand how the National Youth Service is implemented in those countries, and tailor them to the specific requirements of PNG;
- the committee produces a National Youth Service Plan, if considered necessary, which would include the activities and implementation schedules and made operational by 2016;
- the Government fully recognises supports and funds the current programmes of the National Youth Development Authority, especially the three priority impact projects as critical enablers in assisting the implementation of the National Youth Service in PNG, and,
- The Government to fully fund the reserve force unit of the PNG Defence Force.
- Dr Michael Unage is from the Gapromas Problem Management Services and consults for a few organisations of government, including the National Youth Development Authority.