Dr George Oppong, the Executive Director of Defense for Children International (DCI) Ghana, a Kumasi-based child's right advocacy organization, has commended the youth for their roles in tackling issues of national interest.
He said the youth were playing instrumental roles in various fields, including peer education, especially in gender-based rights, drug and substance abuse, domestic violence, and more recently, sensitization on peers to adhere to the various preventive protocols of the COVID-19 pandemic in Ghana.
In an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Kumasi on the International Youth Day celebration which falls on August 12, every year, Dr Oppong said the youth had served as the mouthpiece for the vulnerable people in their communities and "this was something which needs to continue to give hope to the hopeless.
" The theme for this year's celebration is "Youth Engagement for Global Action".
The Day seeks to highlight how the engagement of young people at the local, national and global levels was enriching national and multilateral institutions and processes, as well as drawing lessons on how their representation and engagement in formal institutional politics can be significantly enhanced.
Dr Oppong said the DCI-Ghana was mobilizing the youth between ages 15 and 24 years to build their capacities and provide opportunities for engagement with various stakeholders to address issues affecting them.
This is being done under the Girls Advocacy Alliance (GAA) Project in collaboration with PLAN International Ghana and Ghana NGO Coalition on the Rights of the Child with partnership from Dutch Alliance of PLAN International, Netherlands.
He explained that DCI had youth advocates who were part of various communities, districts, sub-national and national and international platforms including the high-level political platform at the United Nation's level to articulate issues of children and youth.
Again, these youth advocates were at the forefront of advocacy campaigns, peer education and counselling, and community outreaches and mobilizing peers through child rights clubs both in-school and out-of-school for campaigns.
Dr Oppong expressed satisfaction at the zeal of the youth advocates in assisting the initiation of national children's parliament for children to practice how to participate in decision-making processes.
He said the Ashanti Regional Children's Parliament was recently launched with strong participation from the youth.
They are also participating in developing the next five-year phase of the GAA Project, he added.