Young people constitute about a third of Ghana’s population, but they do not make a third of the decisions. Without a Youth Act, there is no process for them to articulate their needs. This keeps them disadvantaged, and leads to little action on big social problems, such as youth unemployment.
At Restless Development, we’re working with Ghanaian youth network YES-Ghana on an innovative new activity as part of our Big Idea programme, which enables young people to use data to make changes in the conditions that affect their lives. In Ghana, we will be working with young people to help them develop a new Youth Act, and advocate for it be made law. We think a new Youth Act will give Ghana’s young people greater opportunities to have a say in the decisions that impact on them. More information about this project is below.
Here’s where we’d like your support. The project has been entered in the Global Innovation Competition 2015, being held by Making All Voices Count. Online votes will largely determine which applications get shortlisted for potential funding. With that in mind, we’re asking you to visit the website and vote for our entry "Solutions to transform youth governance in Ghana".
We’d be very grateful if you could forward this email and encourage other people to vote for us too.
We hope you’ll join with us in helping young people to make a difference in Ghana! Thanks in advance for your interest and support.
Ghana doesn’t have a Youth Act. Young people think there should be one, because a Youth Act will open up new opportunities for them to have a say on the making of decisions that impact on their lives, in regular and systematic ways that are currently missing. At present, despite constituting one third of Ghana’s population, young people are hardly represented in decision making. A Youth Act will give young people a new platform to urge action on the big issues that confront them, such as youth unemployment and access to health and education services – issues in which there is a lack of joined-up action and there are few programmes specific to young people’s needs. A Youth Act will enable young people to play a fuller role in monitoring their government’s performance on the delivery of essential services and development, and exercising oversight over government actions to increase transparency and reduce corruption.
The problem is, progress on developing a Youth Act has been slow. A draft has lain dormant for years. Youth ministers and governments have come and gone, but promises to move the draft forward have not been kept. This shows that political priority for realising the rights of young people is low. It’s time for young people to give this process a boost, of energy, momentum and commitment, to make it a priority and get things moving.
But there’s another problem – young people don’t see why the government should write an act for young people – they want to write it themselves. We agree with them.
That’s why Restless Development and YES-Ghana plan to work with Ghana’s young people to crowdsource a new Youth Act, and then get it passed into law and implemented as a priority. To do this, we’ll train young people to access, understand, analyse and data on young people’s needs and priorities, and to fill gaps in the data by generating new data. We’ll train them to use this data to frame key questions for further enquiry with young people and decision makers, and to distil and pull together recommendations to inform a new Youth Act as they go along. They will share their findings through a range of online and offline methods, gathering feedback, recruiting supporters and building momentum. We’ll support to develop a proposal for a new Youth Act, and train them in how to do advocacy. They will then take part in policy dialogues with decision makers to urge that a new Youth Act is passed and implemented.
Our plan is innovative and ambitious. We are trying to do something that has never been done before. But we believe we can provide strong support to develop the capacity of young people to do this work, and to ensure that connections between data, evidence, advocacy and change are made by following a structured, stepped process.
We believe that we are developing a new model in which young people are empowered and equipped to put them at the forefront of citizen-led accountability and participatory development. We believe that this model offers high potential for scaling up and replication in other settings. And, with your help, we can start it in Ghana.