Youths are like the backbones of institutions and have the propensity to change the dynamics so as to have a new paradigm shift in society. Youths are nation’s strength; their characteristic energy and capabilities support the body politic. They also form a sensitive age group that harbours dreams for important social changes. The development of nations is fully dependent on the abilities of youths. The power of youths must be positively utilized in all areas like health, education, technology, business, trade, etc. and integrated with moral value education to spread peace and welfare throughout the country.
According to the Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English, youths are described as the period between childhood and full manhood. It is the period between childhood and adulthood, described as the physical period and psychological development from the beginning of puberty to maturity and early adulthood. In Liberia, one is considered youth when he/she is between the ages of 15-35 years according to “The Revised National Youth Policy (2009-2017)”. Youths become dynamic in actions and play distinct roles in building a nation. This which society must see as a tool to creating a smooth developmental atmosphere in order to set the gateway to national growth and development at its altitude. Youths must have the ability to make choices that support the pursuit of educational goals and the development of life skills necessary for national and even local leadership positions.
Ignoring maximum commitment and engagement of youths in national development today will have dire consequences. To better understand how to move the youths forward towards national development, there must be a careful examination of rationale for expanding the youths frontier for active participation in national development. If youths are greatly involved in national development, it gives a clear picture that their potentials as change agents in mostly civil society is being highly recognized. Youths have a greater space in national development that must be consciously occupied by them, for national development does not only involves the implementation of political and economic policies and action programs that will improve the lives of the ordinary citizenry, but also recognizing the values and other aspects of the state that would act as a national catalyst to bind the people.
We as young people in this our modern social, political, economic and ethnic dispensation must work to discover our hidden talents, work out our ideas in every walk of life and set our thoughts on the parachute of development so as to build our nation. On the other hand, we must be given the necessary opportunities. We have a voice that must be given greater say and/or attention in an effort to make our contributions in the way we are governed and allow us to play greater role in national leadership and governance so that at all times, we are properly equipped to assume the mantle of authority which is inevitably on its way.
Having an open mind of how we intend to contribute to the economic growth and development of the state is something that has been thought of over the time even before a popular regime took over. Our education is one of the key factors that have been discussed both by the old and young folks in our society. We have seen that education is a way of bringing youths to the national theater. The role of education in positioning and providing youths with access to effective engagement in national development which is a way of incorporating them in the decision making process of the nation’s governance, nation building activities where they are welcomed, with accurate and comprehensive information will empower them to make healthy decisions.
However, the prevailing circumstances in our country have extenuated the potentials of youths as agents of social change. We have understood that these challenges range from the economic and social to cultural. The sensitivity of our youths has been greatly challenged due to their entrapment into the treacherous triangle of poverty, illiteracy and unemployment. And this is what those who studied Sociology referred to as “attitudes of fatalism, resignation and acceptance of the situation”. The persistence of these social problems has created an environment where youths are cheaply available for manipulation by self-seeking politicians. Poverty, illiteracy, sexism, and unemployment are interrelated circumstances that generate human needs and therefore constitute a state of deprivation.
As the youth continue to remain in this state, there is a pent-up emotions and untapped energies. They provide cheap labour to execute the design of political gladiators and ethnic champions. There is an urgent need to arrest these conditions and signal society to reconsider its decision on the participation of youths in nation building. Youths are critical thinkers in society. They are the firebrand tools that drive a nation to its great path of development. Youths must be highly incorporated into national development as a whole. As we are aware that the essence of youth participation in national development is to promote ownership and sustainability of change of interventions, strengthen their abilities to meet their own subsistence need, to prevent and reduce vulnerabilities to economic, political and social unstable environment, to help them gain entry into target communities and build up trust and social capital.
In order for our youthful generation to achieve the above listed qualities and deny acceptance to fail our nation, there is a great need that we as a people give our youths the opportunity to develop their capacities through balanced education and exposure. To help guide them stay away from crime, we are to help them through trainings and vocational knowledge that will make them relevant as a means of getting them involved in leadership at different levels of society and not only government.
About the author:
Alpha G. Gray is a student of the University of Liberia studying Biology major Chemistry minor with emphasis in Medical Science. He is a youth and student leader, a political advocate and an activist. He can be contacted via +231776915195/+231880040361 email: [email protected]/[email protected]
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