The Alliance for Empowering Rural Communities (AERC) has organized a workshop to educate the youth on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in order to get them involved in its implementation.
AERC observed that, with the youth understanding the role SDGs played in national development, it would trigger a peer-review mechanism that would allow young people to educate themselves, which would make them better prepared to take up their role as future leaders of the nation.
In an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) on Wednesday on the sidelines of the workshop at Afienya, Greater Accra Region, the Executive Director of AERC, Mr. Richard Matey, observed that, “Youth people are the heart of development and the future leaders, but how would there be a future when they are not involved and when they are not aware of the very future we want them to take charge of.”
Mr. Matey therefore called for the education of young people on the SDGs for them to play a major role in its implementation and be part of the process; “Then we can say that they are the future leaders, because they would be involved in the very future they are going to manage.
“This would work because young people talk about themselves and educate themselves easily, so we believe that they educating themselves would help them to have a common voice to engage in policy and the decision making process.
“They won’t wait for somebody to tell them what to do about their problems because they know what is happening and they themselves are involved in changing the narrative,” he said.
Lauding the Ghana Government for her efforts in implementing the SDGs, Mr. Matey asked Ghanaians to take SDGs seriously, because the goals were interlinked and so achieving one would helped to achieve other goals which would bring sustainable development to the nation.
The AERC Executive Director informed that even though there had been improvement in youth participation in developmental processes, there was still a limited space for such participation, and there was the need for government to open such spaces for more young people to be involved in decision making.
“Every young person and Ghanaian have to take development initiatives on their own; we don’t have to rely on government to do everything, because, even though it’s the role of government to ensure development, government is limited in resources, so we must support government in achieving the SDGs for us to create a better future for all of us,” he informed.
AERC is a local organization that is committed to empowering local communities and people to develop innovative solutions to their developmental challenges. The organization equips communities to understand the situation they are in and how they could address it with little support from government.
The workshop, part of the SDG Watch Paper project AERC, is currently running and therefore the NGO will organize more programmes in schools and reach out to the youth in other sectors to ensure inclusion.
As part of the workshop, students and pupils from some schools in the Afienya enclave were schooled on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, and also equipped with campaign strategies to help them educate other young people.
The programme was sponsored by Eine Welt Netz NRW with support from Engagement Global, Coalition of NGOs in Tema, Abibinsroma Foundation, Dream Hunt, and civil society platforms.