A cross section of youth from all districts of Malawi and across all walks of life on Friday came together to attend the first ever National youth Conference in Lilongwe.
The conference provided an opportunity for the youth to interact with President Professor Peter Mutharika through panel discussion and present their recommendation on issues affecting them.
Speaking during the discussion young entrepreneur Chimwemwe Mwenyamasi who owns a shoe making line, said Malawi through the young generation has the potential to develop the country through technical and vocational skills.
“There should be a company in Malawi that buys animal hides, which can be used to produce leather which can in turn be used to make shoes locally.
“If the leather can be locally available we can be making shoes and boots locally, and supply them to many outlets like the Malawi Police, this can also improve keeping animals skins and may reduce costs of importing of shoes and leather from outside Malawi,” Mwenyamasi recommended.
The discussions with the president also centered on issues of sexual reproductive health, young people living with HIV and Aids, gender equality, violence, drug and substance abuse, paper recycling and how young people are contributing to education through the Makwelero programme
The national youth conference also saw Mutharika launching the National Youth Status Report, a document that outlines cross cutting issues affecting the youth, key findings on consultations that took place across the country and key recommendations to be considered in the formulation of Malawi Development Growth Strategy.
Presenting the Findings and recommendations Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Labour, Youth and Manpower Development Patrick Kabambe, said sexual reproductive health information is available but not accessible to young people with disabilities and uptake of services is a challenge because it depends on how friendly the health service provider is to the youth.
Kabambe further said “Scaling –up of back to school programme for teen mothers and young people with disabilities which should include creating a friendly environment using already existing school structures such as school management committees and mother groups.
“There is need to scale-up teens club to young people living with HIV and Aids in communities and possibly health facilities, as this will help to cover the youth in the communities who are suffering in silence.”
On protection against violence and abuse the Report also recommends the removal of barriers to discriminatory laws that hinder accessibility of sexual rights, enforcing the existing policies and laws on protection of young people.
The NYC has come at a crucial time when Malawi has embarked on the process of reviewing the MDGS II to pave way for MDGS III.
The conference called together youths, from primary and secondary schools, universities, entrepreneurs, gender activists, designers and musicians.
The theme for the conference was “Youth development and Empowerment: key to transforming Malawi now and beyond”, Pisky, Lulu and Faith Mussa spiced up the event with a theme song “hold my hand.’–ManaFollow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :