The Malawi Human Rights Youth Network (MHRYN) has emphasised the need for youths in the country to effectively participate in all local governance structures so that their interests are promoted from the grassroots.
MHRYN programme officer Hastings Saka made the appeal over the weekend during an interface meeting with local council leaders, chiefs and leaders of youth organisations in Thyolo.
He said it was disheartening that youths in the country do not understand their roles and responsibilities in local governance structures.
According to Saka, the youth need to be included in all structures from Area Development Committees (ADCs), Village Development Committees (VDCs) to District Council Committees (DCC) so that they ably engage with duty bearers and influence implementation of youth-related programmes.
“We have noted that projects such as skills development and scholarships are not being included when drawing budgets in almost all councils. It is my plea that duty bearers see the need to include the youth in development structures so that we begin tackling challenges such as lack of education sponsorship and unemployment at council level,” Saka said.
Thyolo District Council chairperson John Olima bemoaned the increasing rate of school dropouts and unemployment among the youth in the district.
“Young people are just lingering about in our towns and villages after dropping out of school due to poverty. It is high time we formulated a system whereby we will be able to offer scholarships to needy students and train some in various skills so that they become productive citizens,” he said.
Thyolo Active Youth organisation (Tayo) executive director Willard Mwambo said inclusion of the youth in various development committees requires that they must be well educated to follow issues especially on transparency and accountability.
“We want the youth to take part yes, but we want those who understand issues and contribute effectively, so we have to educate them,” he said.
Mwambo also advised the youth to desist from being used as thugs by politicians who want to promote their agenda.