Mr Israel Akrobortu, Volta Regional Director for Department of Children, says the youth must be involved in decisions that affect their lives.
He said a key component of child protection was policy intervention to address the social and structural determinants of child protection and that the youth should be engaged in these efforts to maximise impact.
Mr Akrobortu said these in a speech read on his behalf at a programme organised by Plan International Ghana to launch the Youth Advisory Panel (YAP) in its Southern Programme Influencing and Impact Area (SPIIA).
The YAP is one of the structured mechanisms that Plan International has adopted to give the opportunity to young people to participate in Plan International’s internal decision-making spaces to share their perspectives.
The Director said a comprehensive approach was needed to better deal with issues of child protection, rights of children, sexual and gender- based violence facing young people in Ghana, especially in the Volta Region.
He said youth advocacy was very important as it created a more responsible society and could be used to raise awareness about what was best for young people and help them find the needed information to navigate life.
Mr Akrobortu commended Plan International for the initiative and urged other organisations to also adopt the structured mechanism by Plan to give opportunity to young people to participate in decision making spaces to share their perspectives.
He said children and young people were critical stakeholders and advocates in achieving child rights agenda, describing the launch of the Youth Advisory Panel as a fulfillment of one of the UNCRC articles that talked about child participation.
The Director said the Department of Children was ever ready to give the necessary support to members of the panel to discharge their objectives effectively and efficiently.
Mr Bright Elikem Agbagba, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer of Voice Ghana, commended Plan International Ghana for creating the platform for the youth to share their perspectives.
He said Voice Ghana believed that the youth should be given opportunities at all levels to contribute to the development of the country.
Mr. Agbagba appealed to Plan International Ghana to include youth with disabilities in the next panel to enable them to bring their expertise on board.
Mr Faisel Abdul- Iddrisu, Speaker of the Volta Regional Youth Parliament, said though young people were vulnerable, it was necessary to ensure they were part of any decisions and policies aimed at improving their lives.
He thanked Plan for its interest in building the capacity of the youth and advised members of the YAP to be focused, determined and committed in discharging their duties to make meaningful impact on the lives of young people.
The programme was dubbed: “Equipping and Working Together; Young People, Key Partners in Advocacy and Decision Making.”