by Inunonse Ngwenya, YWCA of Zambia.
For young women and girls around the global social isolation, economic vulnerability and a lack of appropriate health information and services are critical problems that prevent a healthy transition from girlhood to womanhood.
Young Women and girls need to maximize our potentials but we do not think that we can do it alone, we need mentors and a society who really understands our needs, gender equality and implementation of policies that help us realize our dreams. Young people are not problems we are part of the solution. We need fewer meetings, less papers and documents, and much more implementation.
Despite numerous pronouncement and government assurance that gaps in programming and policies are first identified, there is still the lack of proper implementation of programmes, at the local and national levels. The measures taken to implement the policy have had hidden agendas whose main objective is to serve the party in power and we refuse as young leaders to have such mindsets and leaders.
One would expect that the citizens would play a critical role in shaping political decisions and holding leaders accountable however, the outcomes are always different and suggest that the elite continue to influence and nurture the behaviour and attitude of the masses on any major policy issue. The culture and perceived mind set of the citizens is that instead of demanding for service to be provided by different institutions of the government, they end up begging for favours from political leaders. Improving participation is not so much about improving consultation processes that enable government to deliver its services more efficient and effectively but more about how government can help to unleash citizen power and to tap into the enormous talent, ingenuity, energy and local knowledge that citizens have to offer.
The government has a role to play in providing resources and developing coordinating frameworks, but the people themselves have the best ideas about what needs to be done and what solutions will work in their community. Participation in this context can therefore be defined as the process of shaping citizen-government partnership to achieve development.
Women and girls often occupy a lower status in societies as a result of social and cultural traditions, attitudes, beliefs that deny them their rights and stifle their ability to play an equal role in their homes and communities and the global at large. Governments in equal partnership with the private sector and young people especially young women and girls with special emphasis on marginalized and vulnerable groups should work towards investing in building the capacities of young people and in creating an enabling environment for young people to meaningfully participate in all stages of decision making and implementation processes.
Young women and girls should show unity, transparency, accountability, and responsibility in their initiatives and engagements at local, national, regional and international levels when it comes to programmes that affect them so as to have a voice rather have people speak on their behalf. After all we know our agenda very well and we deserve the best. In Conclusion even if it’s just small steps as long you are making progress, keep marching.