Feb 4, 2009, 6:17 AM
Young people in any country represent the future of that country.
They have a vital role to play in the development of the country ; it is a duty they must perform.
There are many ways that youth can contribute to national development.
They can do so by working hard in any field they are involved in, be it teaching, mechanics, farming or fishing.
Working for one’s nation with total devotion and commitment is an obligation for every citizen ; thus the orientation events for our youth to teach them what national service is all about.
However, to ensure the active participation of young people in national development, they need to be supported and encouraged by the government, the private sector, civil society and their parents.
One does not need to belabour the point that there are many young people, who if given the required support can contribute meaningfully to national development.
But bringing such youth onboard the development wagon becomes the responsibility of those in authority.
Having said that, it is also essential to note that young people must also believe in themselves; that they can become a big asset, both individually and collectively, to national development if they work hard.
The continued over-dependency phenomenon cannot take our youth anywhere, nor can it help them to meaningfully contribute to national development as expected.
It is true that today’s youth are facing many challenges, such as HIV/AIDS, unemployment, drug abuse and, most dangerous of all, youth venturing the “back-way”, which is claiming the lives of many young men and women who can become big assets for the country.
However, there also exist opportunities to gradually overcome some of these challenges, while the government of day is making a great effort to combat this menace.
In a situation where opportunities are limited, like nowadays, youth seeking jobs must avoid the habit of pick-and-choose; instead they should learn to take what is available until they get what they want.
This country needs more qualified engineers, plumbers, tailors, economists and journalists, etc., to lead us to our developmental aspirations.
However, to help our youth get to where they want, and enable them become effective contributors to nation-building, all hands must be on deck in achieving this objective, as the youth need support and motivation.
Also to enhance the participation of youth in national development, they must be given the opportunity to effectively participate in decision-making processes, especially on issues affecting their lives.
“Let us acknowledge and celebrate what youth can do to build a safer, more just world. Let us strengthen our efforts to include young people in policies, programmes and decision-making processes that benefit their future and ours.’