The Oxford Committee for Famine Relief (OXFAM)-funded Work in Progress! (WiP!) Project, currently implemented by its partner Chioma Chuka Consulting Services Ltd (CCCSL), has called for the full implementation of the 2019- 2023 Nigerian National Youth Policy.
Speaking on Monday at a virtual press briefing to formally introduce the #BeingYoungInNaija campaign, WIP! Project Lead, Princewill Ogbodo, said the project aims to create employment opportunities, a safe and suitable environment, and positive expectations about the future for young Nigerians.
According to him, the #BeingYounginNaija project was launched to amplify the voices of young Nigerians, highlighting their experiences, challenges & the opportunities available to them.
“The project also underscores the need to engage government stakeholders on youth-oriented policies via collaborations with youth-led bodies, key government agencies & policymakers to achieve global action,” he said.
In her remarks, Tope Salami, a Technical Program Assistant with CCCSL – the implementing partner, noted that the purpose of the media engagement was to sensitize the media and other stakeholders about the challenges young people in Nigeria face and also present to the public a Petition for ‘Active Implementation of the National Youth Policy.’ She revealed that a policy brief document titled ‘Reimagining Being Young in Nigeria’ would be made available to the public by the end of November.
The policy brief examines the state of young people in Nigeria highlighting challenges they face including socio-economic issues such as sexual & gender-based violence, economic participation & entrepreneurship, democracy and governance, security & waning resilience and education.
Salami added that a National Youth Policy is a critical tool for youth development because it details the vision of any government for its youth and its strategies to achieve them. The #BeingYoungInNigeria campaign, therefore, designed a petition to call for urgent youth action to ensure the promises of this policy along its key strategic thrusts are duly implemented.
She, in highlighting the urgency of the implementation of the National Youth Policy, reminded the media of some grim statistics from the National Bureau of Statistics, including that 1 in 4 girls will experience sexual violence before their 18th birthday while over 13.9 million youths are currently unemployed.
Additionally, with 1% of young people aged 15-29 occupying elected offices, and just over 75% literacy rates amongst this demographic in 2018 according to the World Bank’s development indicators, the National Youth Policy is due for a review and expedited implementation, she said.
Tragically, the policy was last reviewed in 2018 and has still not been implemented despite the fact it seeks to develop and provide Nigerian youth with equal opportunities to realize their dreams and aspirations, irrespective of their background, and to live in a safe and secure environment that will optimize their contributions to National Development.
The policy represents a declaration and commitment to the priorities, directions and practical supports for the development of young people in Nigeria. The document outlines concrete and bold steps to put the development and participation of youth at the center of national development efforts.
The National Youth Policy broadly targets all young people in Nigeria between the ages of 15 and 29 years, while recognizing that youth are not a homogeneous group in terms of needs and circumstances.
Young people can join the call by signing the petition asking for the full implementation of the policy here: http://chng.it/ZL5rLmNKXz