Youths in the country have asked government to intensify efforts in dealing with issues affecting them as outlined in the 2013 revised National Youth Policy.
In 2013, government launched the revised National Youth Policy as a symbol of commitment towards the importance of youth development in the overall national development agenda.
Among other challenges, the policy aims at addressing issues of unemployment, under-employment, exploitation by adults, poverty and HIV and Aids among the youth.
However, interviews The Nation conducted yesterday revealed that some youths are not aware of the existence of such a document while others wished government could do more to help them by implementing what the policy stipulates.
“I have never heard of the policy before, and I have no idea what the policy entails,” Gift Nkata from Chirimba in Blantyre said.
Innocent Banda from Chemusa in Blantyre, while confirming to know about the existence of the policy, said nothing has changed since the implementation of the document.
“Honestly, I cannot say that personally I have felt the effects of the policy because the challenges that were outlined in it are still being felt up to date. For example, looking at the high levels of unemployment that we are facing, nothing has changed so far,” he said.
Commenting on the issue, Eye of the Child executive director Maxwell Matewere said one of the biggest challenges that can be attributed to the youth’s ignorance on the matter is the way information is being disseminated.
He said government needs to disseminate information to all stakeholders, including district assemblies and local councils.
“Frankly, I think the policy has been effective only that there is poor financing of policies. The government needs to set up a special fund that has to finance such policies as they play an important role in society,” said Matewere.
He further said the problem of financing leads to the shelving of the policies such that they stay inactive.
Another youth activist, Catherine Mkandawire, said the policy has not been effective enough to address the challenges the youth are facing.
Specifically, the policy aims at empowering the youth to deal with social, cultural, economic and political challenges they meet in their everyday lives. n