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  • Aminu Ibrahim

YOTA opens 5-day capacity training workshop for youth advocates in Wa

Youth Opportunity and Transformation in Africa (YOTA), an NGO at the forefront of youth development in Africa, has opened a five-day capacity training workshop for youth advocates in the Wa Municipality of the Upper West Region.

The youth advocates, drawn from various youth groups in the Wa Municipality, formed the Voices of Youth Coalition (VoYC) of Youth on Board (YoB), an initiative by the YOTA to empower young people to carry out social advocacy within their communities.

The advocacy is aimed at seeking redress for problems in the educational sector that arose as a result of the influx of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The five-day intensive workshop, dubbed youth-led policy and influencing, started on Monday, May 15, 2023, and is expected to end on Friday, May 19, 2023.

Mr Nathan Analem, workshop facilitator

Mr Nathan Analem, the workshop facilitator with the YOTA, said the workshop was aimed at supporting the young people with the requisite tools to enable them to make influence in changing some of the policy gaps they have identified in the education sector, especially post-COVID-19.

He said it was to build the capacities of the youth to properly carry out their advocacy by comprehensively interrogating the issues, providing accurate data and engaging key decision-makers following the appropriate and right channels.

“YOTA is currently within the Wa Municipality, we’ve been working since last year, June with a number of selected volunteer young people from various youth associations who are interested in causing a change in post-COVID-19 educational challenges within their municipality,” he said.

He noted that the workshop was the third in a series following two earlier workshops – Mobilization and Advocacy in the first phase, and Monitoring and Accountability in the second phase – which were held last year.

Mr Analem indicated that the training would help the youth advocates understand the process of advocacy and policy dynamics to enable them to effectively influence the change required for tackling the educational challenges resulting from COVID-19.

“Basically, what we’re doing is, taking them through modules that equip them to understand what advocacy is, the tools required to do a proper advocacy, their understanding of policy and the steps they can take to cause the change they require,” he said.

Mr Analem intimated that the first two phases of the project were adequately carried out by the youth advocates and that it has laid a solid foundation for the implementation of the third phase for which the workshop was caused.

He expressed optimism that the third phase would also be carried out superbly given the experiences gathered from the previous phases, the intensive training, and the enthusiasm of the young advocates.

Miss Rahinatu Haruna, President, YoB Wa Municipal

Miss Rahinatu Haruna, the President and Lead of the Wa Municipal YoB Voices of Youth Coalition, said the group’s goal was to seek an all-encompassing implementation of the back-to-back campaign to return COVID-19-brought teenage mothers to the classroom.

“Since last year, June, [in] the very first phase, we mobilized some other youth groups to join the advocacy, we had about twelve other youth groups coming together, where we get a broader voice to speak out to make out advocacy case heard.

“The second phase is where we collected to back our advocacy focus, so this issue is just not based on speculations but with data and facts that this issue is a very big problem in the municipality,” she summarized what had been done in the last two phases of the advocacy.

Miss Haruna noted that the successful implementation of the re-enrolment policy was hampered by a myriad of problems including low awareness among the public, some institutional heads acting incongruent to the policy, and some families marrying out the girls at the expense of education.

She, however, intimated that the tools, knowledge and skills being offered at the workshop would enhance the group’s capacity to effectively carry out the third phase of the project to realize their advocacy goal.

The YoB is an initiative by the YOTA in partnership with 100% For The Children with support from the Danish Civil Society for Development Fund (CISU) to engender youth voices to advocate in response to the effects of COVID-19 in Ghana’s educational sector.

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