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General News of Monday, 13 August 2007

Source: Kennedy Fosu

Ghana Youth Development Network Launched

Creation of a national framework for empowerment, common voice, and proactive participation in development core objective

ACCRA, Monday August 13, 2007 - Over 200 representatives from youth organizations all over the country converged at a special ceremony at the Ghana International Press Centre to launch the Ghana Youth Development Network. The network which will serve as an umbrella body of all youth organizations and associations in the country was launched as part of celebrations marking this years? International Youth Day which was observed under the theme Be Seen, Be Heard, Youth Participation in Development. In a manner symbolic of the purpose of their gathering, the young people held hands together in solidarity to jointly launch the network as they sang the popular national song ?Arise Ghana Youth for your Country?.

The decision to form the network is the product of a series of consultative meetings with representatives of a cross-section of youth organizations nationwide. The network?s core goal is to create, for the nation?s youth, a national framework for empowerment, common voice and proactive participation in national development. The network process which covers all 10 administrative regions of Ghana is spearheaded by scores of grassroots volunteers who are working hard to bring all hands on deck and create an all-inclusive network.

Speaking at the ceremony World Bank Country Director, Mats Karlsson, who was special guest, commended the youth groups for the initiative. He called on them to see empowerment, wealth creation and equity and sustainability as four key issues young people should focus on. He told them that if they wanted to be empowered they needed to invest their time and resources in acquiring knowledge and information. He advised them to see productivity as the basis of wealth creation and encouraged them to fight for equity and sustainable development in society. Mr. Karlsson pointed out that if Ghanaian youth could proactively pursue these issues they would be on track to making a big difference in the development of their country.

To make the day live its meaning, three youth speakers made very encouraging speeches on three priority themes. Aku Xornam Adzraku of Youth Action Movement made a forceful case for unity within the youth front in Ghana. The unity of youth voices, she noted is what will create the desired space for young people to be heard and to effectively participate in national development. Dr. Yaw Perbi, of the HuD Group, spoke about youth leadership as a basis for participation in development. He advised young people to aspire to be functional leaders who are capable of exerting influence and creating change. Jonas Atingdui who is president of the Ghana chapter of Students in Free Enterprise, spoke passionately about youth entrepreneurship as a basis for creating economic opportunity. He urged that Ghana needs more young entrepreneurs to unlock domestic economic opportunities and turn the country?s fortunes around.

In a Goodwill Messages, the Government Minister of Women and Children?s Affairs for Ghana, Hon. Hajia Alima Mahama congratulated Ghanaian youth on the launch of the Youth Development Network. ?I hope and pray that the good effort you are launching today will become that unique youth platform we have always wanted? she said and encouraged them not to miss the opportunity to unite their fold.

Earlier in the morning, Accra?s leading radio and television stations dedicated significant broadcast time to youth-centered discussions as they played host to several speakers from the network. They used the opportunity to popularize the ?one voice? message which the network hopes to advance throughout the country.

In other activities leading to the August13 ceremony, youth religious organizations within the network led special religious programmes to observe International Youth Day. Friday August 10, 2007 was declared by the National Chief Imam as National Muslim Day of Prayer for the Youth of Ghana. At the Abossey Okai Central Mosque in Accra, the Chief Imam who presides over the Muslim community in Ghana advised young people to seek knowledge as he led a large congregation to pray for youth in Ghana and around the world.

Sunday August 12, 2007 was also celebrated as National Christian Day of Prayer for the Youth of Ghana. A special service was held at Accra?s Christ the King Catholic Church to commemorate the day.

Following the successful launch the Ghana Youth Development Network will focus primarily on using collective advocacy initiatives to advance pro-active youth participation in all facets of national development. The network will also facilitate periodic capacity building to strengthen youth organizations and aims to become a strong platform for promoting social accountability in national development. Key development partners including the UNFPA, the UNDP and the World Bank offices in Ghana have welcomed the initiative to form a youth umbrella body and have committed to support network to bring youth voices to the mainstream of development in Ghana.

Consultative Group of Youth Organizations for the GYDN (as of August 12, 2007)

National Union of Ghana Students Federation of Youth Associations of Ghana Ghana National Coalition of NGOs for Youth West Africa Students Union Smart Youth Volunteers Foundation Youth Liberation Ghana PPAG-Youth Action Movement UNFPA-African Youth Network Young Men Christian Association Ghana Muslim Students Association Curious Minds Receive the Baton Youth Peace Brigade Passion 4 Students Africa Youth Development Platform Ghana Society for the Disabled Inter-collegiate Development Think Tank West Africa Development Objective Youth Mentoring Centre Debate-to-Action Group All Africa Students Union Youth Alliance of Ghana Ghana National Union of Polytechnic Students United Network of International Youth for Development and Peace Global Youth Action Network YES-Ghana Bawku Literary Society University Students Association of Ghana Students in Free Enterprise

Regional Focal Organizations

Central Region - Abusua Foundation Greater Accra Region - Centre for Youth Development Analysis Ashanti Region - Youth Network for Human Rights and Democracy Northern Region- Youth Action Movement Upper East Region - Integrated Youth Needs and Welfare Volta Region - Youth Creating Change for Ghana Brong Ahafo Region - Rural Youth Service Eastern Region ? Youth Alliance of Ghana For More Information about the Ghana Youth Development Network Please Contact:

Adadzewa Otoo: 0244287769 Moses Kanduri: 0244765827

Email: gydnetwork@gmail.com

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