Youth Decide Campaign says Malawi’s 2019/2020 national budget, has already let down young people in the country on the implementation of the national youth manifesto because of what the consortium describes as “several misplaced priorities” including having meagre allocations to Ministry of Youth and Higher Education Students’ Loans Board.
Team Leader for the campaign, Charles Kajoloweka, spoke Monday afternoon in the Capital Lilongwe when the consortium met officials of government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) in order to find best ways of implementing the national youth manifesto.
The consortium championed the drafting of the national youth manifesto through a consultative process ahead of the 21 May, 2019 tripartite elections.
The youth manifesto is a consolidated statement of the governance and development aspirations and demands of young people in Malawi.
Youth Decide Campaign considers the 2019/2020 fiscal plan as the first litmus test to establish government’s committment to implementing the manifesto.
“The Ministry of Youth allocation of MK9.7 billion is actually 0.5 percent of the total budget. It is one of the least funded. Yet this is the key ministry in advancing the agenda of young people who constitute more than half of the country’s population,” noted Kajoloweka.
The team leader also expressed concern over the meagre allocation to Higher Education Students’ Loans Board, saying the development undermines the national youth manifesto’s demand for quality, accessible and relevant education.
“More young people will likely not access the loans so they can continue with their education. The loans board needs more support in order to increase access to the loans by needy students,” he said.
Kajoloweka added that the consortium will be engaging Ministries of youth and finance and relevant parliamentary committees to consider addressing these gaps during the midterm budget review meeting.
However, he observed that the 2019/2020 budget also has positives considering that the fiscal plan has allocation for the recapitalization of the Youth Enterprise Development Fund (YEDEF) which is being hosted by Malawi Enterprise Development Fund (MEDEF).
Turning to the engagement with MDAs, Kajoloweka said the meeting was important because MDAs work on behalf of government and needed to be well informed on issues of youth programming.
“The national youth manifesto has to be implemented. The meeting was a great opportunity for us to engage government because we realize that government is a big partner and shareholder in development.
“There is need for us to share the youth manifesto with government through MDAs so that they can begin to implement the aspirations of young people in the manifesto. The national youth manifesto is a resource for government programming,” he said.
One of the MDA officials present at the meeting, Ethel Kapyepye, who is a Chief Director at Safe Motherhood in the Ministry of Health, commended Youth Decide Campaign for the initiative, saying this is the only way the youth manifesto can best be implemented.
Other demands in the national youth manifesto include; access to youth employment and vocational training, agribusiness and entrepreneurship, land acquisition and utilization and youth leadership in policies and civic life.
Youth Decide Campaign is a national youth governance initiative led by a consortium of civil society youth NGOs in Malawi compromising Youth and Society, Network for Youth Development, Young Politicians Union and Youth Net and Counseling.
Its core thrust is to stimulate positive energies and participation of Malawi youths in shaping the country’s development and governance agenda through the 2019 electoral cycle and beyondYouth Decide Campaign.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :