Some 10,000 Ghanaian youths are estimated to be engaged, over the next five years, in a national programme to evoke the spirit of volunteerism, and civic responsibility as well as rekindle the spirit of nationalism among young people in the country.
The programme, dubbed: ‘The National Youth Volunteers Programme (NYVP)’, under the National Youth Authority (NYA) is designed, among other things, to encourage youth participation in national development through voluntary activities.
It is expected to coordinate volunteer activities in the country and seek to implement thirteen modules to develop active citizens, foster national cohesion and create opportunities for skills development among young people.
According to officials of NYA, the NYVP is envisaged to engage young people across the country in the next five years with the period of engagement expected to last between one and twelve months.
Young persons between the ages of 18-35 years will have the opportunity to volunteer in areas such as Agriculture, Education, Health, Infrastructure, Afforestation, Community Self-Help programmes, Science, Research, Technology, among others.
The Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, speaking at the launch of the programme in Kumasi, said, by providing a coordinated framework for streamlining volunteerism activities, the NYVP will provide an avenue for the youth to contribute their quota to national development. This is by fixing the problems right from their communities to the national level.
To this end, he said: “This programme will, therefore, create a generation of Ghanaian political and thought leaders, traditional and religious leaders, entrepreneurs, and people of all professions and trades who can envision the grand agenda for Ghana, and work hard to address the structural challenges that impede our journey to our glorious destination”.
He recognised that the diversity of the modules under NYVP will ensure that no able and willing youth, regardless of gender, level of education, social or economic status, religion or any other, is denied the opportunity to serve their country, and to develop their creative potential.
“I am particularly excited about the prospects of the Science, Research and Technology module, which is slated for later implementation,” he stated.
This, he believes, will permit gifted young Ghanaians to leverage new technologies to provide lasting solutions to the myriad of challenges in communities across the country.
Furthermore, Dr. Bawumia indicated that to further prepare Ghanaian youths for the future, the government is investing heavily in education, evidenced by the assurance of universal access to inclusive and equitable education through the sustained implementation of the Free Senior High School Policy, and the upscaling of Technical and Vocational Education Training under the TVET Strategic Plan.
Additionally, the government has rolled out several initiatives to equip graduates with the needed skills required for the job market in the future, including an ongoing stakeholder engagement for skills revitalisation in several sectors of the economy such as in the banking and tourism sectors, he stated.
“There is ongoing construction and modernisation of all National Vocational Training Institutes (NVTIs) and Opportunity Industrialisation Centres (OIC). So far, 17 technical and vocational institutes across the country are being upgraded and modernised.”
“The YouStart initiative, which will support young entrepreneurs to gain access to capital, training, technical skills and mentoring to launch and operate their businesses, is also expected to take off soon,” he added.
The Vice President urged all stakeholders to ensure the success of the programme.
“We have before us an opportunity to change the narrative of what the Ghanaian youth is about, and in doing so, change the narrative around our country and our continent. We must not let this opportunity to engage our youth in useful, productive volunteering that will have long-lasting personal and national impacts pass us by,” he said.