By JASON DOM
THE Commonwealth Youth Programme defines youth as anyone between the ages of 15 and 29 years while different governments and inter-governmental organisations have other varying definitions.
For Papua New Guinea the National Youth Policy 2020-2030 that was recently revised by the National Executive Council has recognised the youth age bracket as between 12 to 30 years replacing the previous age bracket of 15 to 38 years.
This age bracket includes a young and energetic group of children, students, young men and women in the society who would represent their community to be the game-changers and shapers of tomorrow.
The National Youth Development Authority (NYDA) wants to empower youths because in this era young people have the proven capability to lead change; they are the cornerstone for investment and development in any given society today and in the future.
The current challenging issues like unemployment, school dropouts, violence and other petty criminal activities involve many youths therefore there should be workable, sustainable development goals through effective delivery of services, innovative transformation and accountable institutions organised by collective efforts of government, churches, private entities, business houses and the public so that challenging youth issues are addressed.
The NYDA plans to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) through effective delivery of youth services, innovative transformation and accountable institutions. The SDGs of particular relevance to youth services include:
- Ending poverty through youth employment;
- Volunteer programmes; and
- Building effective accountable institutions through strengthening provincial, district, and local level youth development councils.
Gender equality will be advanced through empowerment of both male and female youths through formal and informal education and skills development training, youth health, and livelihood programmes.
The NYDA urges districts and provincial administrations to work closely with the authority for the establishment of youth council networking. Because this is one of the key activity stipulated in the NYDA Act 2014 which is to establish youth development councils at the LLG, district and provincial levels. This is to give legal power to youth groups who can represent their societies in any resource distribution and activities hosted through their districts and provinces.
To do that the National Youth Policy 2020-2030 also stipulates proper guidelines to establish youth councils. It also calls for MPs, provincial administrations and district chief executive officers to lend their support so that the four key result areas of NYDA are achieved. These are:
(1) Governance and institutional development;
(2) Community and environment;
(3) Education and employment; and
(4) Health, sports and culture.
Over the years NYDA has had a close partnership with the South Pacific Commonwealth who have rolled out the Youth at Work programme. NYDA collected 10 youths from the four electorates of Port Moresby to undergo training that involved partner agencies like Guard Dog Security, G4S, PNG Driving School, and other skills and leadership training. All 10 youths have successfully secured paid jobs.
NYDA currently is establishing a LLG, district and provincial youth development council networking throughout the country and has so far established 11 district youth development councils in eight provinces.
NYDA is continuing to dialogue with partner agencies with written memoranda of understanding (MOU) to work together to strengthen youth network to fulfill the National Youth Policy 2020-2030. NYDA so far has successfully signed agreements with City Mission, Hope World Wide PNG, Small Medium Enterprise Corporation (SMEC), Bank South Pacific, Transparency International PNG, PNG Scout Association, National Cultural Commission and 11 district development authorities, among others,
Last month NYDA officials went to Jiwika to sign a MOU with the Jimi District CEO and Jiwika provincial administrator. The MOU calls for a cooperative relationship between both partners wishing to work together to mobilise and strengthen youth networking in the province to fulfil the National Youth Policy 2020 to 2030.
Jimi being a remote district encounters challenging youth issues that pose a threat to effective delivery of services and maintaining peace and good order therefore, through this agreement they intend to share resources and engage youths in meaningful livelihood activities like capacity building, life skills and rehabilitation training.
Two weeks ago the NYDA facilitated youth council workshop leading to the establishment of the youth council in Banz town.
It was through the leadership of the new NYDA Director-General, Joe Itaki that many youths throughout the nation have come to acknowledge and witness the youth policy delivered at their doorsteps through the establishment of youth networking councils.
The NYDA director-general said at several MOU signings especially in the district youth development councils that once the mechanism was in place, NYDA would look for other programmes like leadership training, capacity building and skills development programmes targeting educated, semi-educated and uneducated youths in our rural areas. This will be open doors of opportunity for youths who have not participated in the mainstream development or left out.
Furthermore, NYDA policies are slowly taking shape within the last 12 months. The National Youth Policy 2020-2030 will shortly be launched and it is hoped that stakeholders would be encouraged to accelerate its activities and programmes throughout the country.
The establishment of the LLG, district and provincial youth development councils is ongoing as youth facilitators from NYDA are continually assigned to rural areas to mobilise, facilitate and establish youth council networks.
Also a timely and significant event was recently trialed in Wewak, East Sepik. The regional youth games will prepare talented athletes for the upcoming PNG Games and the Commonwealth Youth Games.
Some of the many achievements so far by NYDA include the development of the National Youth Policy 2020-2030 that was revised and approved by NEC recently, the establishment of 11 district youth development councils since 2019, and improving the authority’s corporate image.
The director-general plans to establish youth development councils in all districts before 2022 so its partners and stakeholders can plan and implement their activities through this channel for youths to partake in at the national and sub-national levels.
- Jason Dom is the NYDA public relations officer.