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Opinions of Sunday, 20 May 2018

Columnist: Ahmed Abubakar Saddique

Challenges facing the contemporary Zongo youth and the way forward

How do you feel when consistently you are been looked down by virtue of where you were born or raised? How about the fact that, many look down on you just because you are from the ZONGO community? Well, this to me is the tragedy facing the everyday youth in ZONGOs across our country, Ghana.

I am not in the position now to tell you about the genesis of ZONGO because time won't permit me. But, I will briefly discuss with you in details about the many challenges facing the contemporary youth in my community, EJURA in the Ashanti Region o and many others in GHANA.

Firstly, The lack of Education has been one of the major challenges of the contemporary youth. Both the boy and girl child instead of being in school, are rather been left to roam about. In some cases, especially with the girl child, they are seriously left/preserved purposely for the house/Kitchen without going to school. Not too many schools either vocational /Technical are built in the ZONGO communities.

Secondly, the lack of proper parental care/neglect on the part of parents. As it is now, many parents do not check on the welfare of the very children they've given birth to. This leads to many of the children engaging in hard drugs like wee, cocaine, and Tramadol which also leads to armed-robbery and other social vices.

Thirdly, the polygamous marriage coupled with uncontrolled birth. I know this is a position of Islam, but, many ZONGO parents abuse it and thereby putting lots of hardship on the youth.

Fourthly, the lack of Jobs. As we all know, the unemployment situation in our country has been a major problem. Which has its consequences on the ZONGO youth? Typically, the ZONGO youth is industrious but for the lack of it, they wander around.

Fifthly, the lack of a mentorship program that is geared towards inspiring the youth to achieve more. For I do believe an empowered ZONGO youth can certainly aspire to greater heights

Sixthly, High level of Indiscipline. This has also been one of the many reasons why the ZONGO youth are uncontrollable. Many cases that are sent to the Police Station and the courts are a manifestation of the indiscipline.

Seventhly, the lack of good sanitary conditions and access to health care. Due to the high levels of the population at the ZONGOs, and the filth which causes diseases, not many health centers are located within the community to cater for the seemingly rise in diseases associated with filth.

However, I believe these are challenges that can be tackled head-on when there's maximum commitment among major stakeholders right from Parents, ZONGO chiefs from each tribe, the lawmakers and enforcers, government, the women caucus as well as other NGOs.

I, therefore, suggest the following :

1. Education endowment fund must be established by the ZONGO Traditional Council to provide a platform for the youth to be sponsored and receive higher levels of education especially the girl child. More schools than mosques should be built in order to provide learning centers for the youth .because, as Nelson Mandela says "Education is one of the most single weapons we can use to change the world"

2. Job creation must also be a priority of government. Since, there's a saying that, the devil finds work for the idle man. Skills training centers should be built for youth to have access to learning a hands-on trade to be able to feed and live a normal life

3. The Imaams must as a matter of urgency work to discourage persons who are not eligible to marry more than one to do so and to also talk more about birth control so that, children brought forth can be catered for properly.

3. From the ZONGO Traditional Councils, under the auspices of the ZONGO youth chiefs, there must be mentorship /empowerment programs that will be an avenue for the ZONGO youth to be inspired for higher heights.

4. Parental care must be a priority. Parents must be interested in offering the best to their children.

5. The indiscipline should be dealt with by consistently enforcing the laws of our land in order to serve as the deterrent to the many youths out there.

In my view, if these points are implemented, the ZONGO YOUTH I so believe can become the stars of the future and the consistent tagging of inferiority complex would be no more.

I must also commend some ZONGO Youth who even in the midst of all of these challenges, have been able to make it to the top.

God bless the ZONGO YOUTH, bless our homeland Ghana and make her great and strong!

Thank you .