Former First Lady and President of the 31st December Women’s Movement, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, says young people of today require hope for the future through programmes that will propel them into the next ten years.

She said the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP) as it is currently structured is not working appropriately for youth development. “I believe that we should restructure this aspect of national development.”

Speaking at a grand rally in Tamale to climax activities marking the 31st anniversary of the June 4 Uprising Nana Konadu said: “If you say you have a youth employment programme, what are they employing, who are they employing, what employable skills do you want them to have?”

Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings said: “When some of us started as revolutionaries we were just like you. We were idealistic, with passion; we wanted change by all means necessary. And today we have a good crop of youthful people, youthful exuberant Ghanaians who are wondering which way forward.

“It is important to have policy makers who understand that more than 75 per cent of people in Ghana are under the age of 35. Are we going to leave them like that? Are we going to let them feel dejected?

“Today we have a lot of young people who have even got Masters Degrees but do not have jobs. We must create the jobs. We don’t create jobs by talking about it. We have to put a team together so they can actually change the policy of the country and make the youth the centre of our developmental policy.

“Ladies and gentlemen, the youth of this country cannot wait for us. They can’t wait for [the] sleep, wake up, discuss, discuss and discuss. We can only wake up, discuss and take action for the youth of our country, if we are able to plan a short term programme that will give them some relief then we know we have the youth with us, but if we cannot do that then we are in serious trouble,” Nana Konadu said.

Mrs Rawlings said if the NYEP is well structured and better funded by Central Government a lot of youth would be gainfully employed. She said between 1982 and 2000 the PNDC and NDC regime sought to create a middle class group who by their economic growth drew other people into their employment bracket.

The former First Lady who is also a Vice-Chairman of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) said it was also imperative that the youth are empowered. Empowerment, she noted, meant ensuring that the youth were educated properly so they could appropriately apply what they had studied. She noted that those who miss out on education could take advantage of Non-Formal Education.

Nana Konadu enjoined all to endeavour to read and write saying she had made sure that members of the DWM have been learning how to read and write at all levels. “Even old ladies are learning how to read and write,” she added.

Mrs Rawlings said the NDC won elections because the people believed in change. “We believed in real change; not changing to go on with the old order. We believe there should be real change for the sake of change. But you cannot change and remain in the same place and continue marking time. So for those of us who believe in the issue of change – the real change – know that we should move from where we are to another destination.”

June 4, Nana Konadu said, had given many people the opportunity to take up leadership positions. “Hitherto if you were not from certain families you did not come to the centre of the national political arena. It is important we understand the essence of June 4 to make our youth relevant in Ghana politics,” she stated.


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