At the heart of Ghana in Sunyani, hundreds of young people from the length and breadth of the country representing the diverse youth demographic, came together on 10th August 2018 to celebrate this year’s International Youth Day.
The two-day event, was championed by the National Youth Authority, EIB Network (owners of GHONE television, Live and STAR FM) with support from International agencies like UNFPA and UNICEF.
The theme for this year’s celebration was ‘Safe Spaces’ with a joint campaign by NYA and the EIB network call for an end to tramadol and tobacco abuse creating a safe mental space for young people.
Dr. Robert Mensah from UNFPA presented on safe spaces for Health calling for youth-friendly services to ensure the Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) of young people are realized. The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) called for consultation of young people on issues since it is critical for all members of the public to contribute to the public space. On digital space, the youth were introduced to the U-report and how the platform could be of use to young people.
UNICEF staff in a presentation exposed the participants to the importance of joining the platform and using it to share their thoughts on issues and learn as well.
Antoinette Gyan, Communications Officer for Youth Engagement said, “The U-Report platform belongs to young people, it is a space for young people to mobilize themselves and change their society.”
Adolescent and Youth Engagement Officer, Sunyoung Hwang in her presentation encouraged the participants to speak out about issues that matter to them.
She said, "U-Report is a safe digital platform where every adolescent and young Ghanaian can speak out on issues that they care about. Every U-Reporter’s voice, participation, and right to privacy matter are important to us. If you would like to have your voice heard, join U-Report now.”
According to Gloria Ntee, 19 from Bolga in the Northern region, “I am keen to know more about teenage pregnancy and drug abuse on the platform. Going to grown-ups to discuss issues is not always easy but with a platform like U-Report we will have a voice and this will help.”
The young people were curious to know how U-Report will be useful to them in their rural communities and admitted that such a platform was important for young people since it creates the space for them to have their voices heard and to learn as well.
Esther Acheampong,16 from New Juaben, said, “a platform like the U-Report is important because it helps young people to know that their views are needed.”
Christian Normah, 18 expects to receive prompt responses and feedback from polls.