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“Golden anniversary for Cameroon’s youth”
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“Golden anniversary for Cameroon’s youth”

Jobs, security, and inclusive policy are on the minds of CamAlphonse Akouyueroon’s youth, writes Alphonse Akouyu, 21, a Commonwealth Correspondent from Cameroon, who says a milestone celebration is an opportunity for youth and society to engage and shape the country’s future.

It’s February 2016 and once again the winds of the National Youth Week have begun blowing across Cameroon.

In many parts of the country, pupils and other youths have begun preparations for ‘D-day’ on the 11th of February.  It is now common within the school milieu to see students and pupils in their numbers rehearsing for the big day in the company of songs that carry messages of hope for young people in Cameroon.

The theme of this year’s edition is ‘Youth citizenship and the fight against insecurity for the advent of an emergent Cameroon’.

There is really no doubt that civic responsibility, security and economic emergence in 2035 are national priorities in Cameroon. Civic responsibility on the part of the Cameroonian youth has been the subject of debate across the nation in recent weeks. Some observers are of the opinion that the country is experiencing a decay is moral values as a result of the influence of negative habits copied from different aspects of Western culture. Dress codes and music are two areas that have been under scrutiny for a while, with one local government official banning a song from his jurisdiction.

There also observers who see this influence as ingenuity and as a way of expressing daily life on the part of youths, but many point to the fact that the negative outweighs the positive.

Security seems to be one point where old and young appear to agree, given the recent incursions by the terrorist group Boko Haram on Cameroon soil, causing a lot of damage to humans and property. Youths, especially in the Northern part of the country, are victims of the group’s oppressive ideologies and there is need for education of the harmful effects of signing up for such initiatives. Economic emergence in 2035 is also another point of agreement, even though there are differences of viewpoint about what the the road to 2035 should look like. However, most Cameroonians are of the opinion that there is an urgent need for the country to fulfil its long-foretold potential as “Africa in miniature”.

alponse picThe 2016 Youth Week is also a time for serious reflection and recollection on the part of different stakeholders concerned with the promotion of youth affairs in Cameroon.

It’s been 50 years since Youth Week activities were launched in the country, and this golden jubilee is definitely a moment for review. So how would youths in Cameroon describe life 50 years after the inauguration of Youth Week activities and what is involved in the way forward? Jude Thaddeus Njikem is Country Coordinator at the Organization of African Youth – Cameroon. He had the following comment:

“Fifty years down the road, Cameroonian youths still face a lot of challenges, from limited educational opportunities, unemployment, underemployment, to challenges around starting their own  businesses and recognition of young people as change makers. (At) 50 years we still decry the stigmatization of young people, no opportunity for participation in political life, sidelined interest in national development and recognition of young people as nation builders,” he said.

“We understand we are not there yet, but we are working towards it. There is a lack of awareness on the part of young people. Many are not aware of initiatives put in place by government such as PIASSI, PAJER-U, National Employment Fund etc. Therefore this golden jubilee gives us the opportunity to review what has gone wrong with building a cadre of young people who are aware, motivated to lead change, and dynamic to push national development in line with national development programs such as Vision 2035.

“Looking forward, young people need not just to celebrate 50 years but need to reflect on how they can become assets of the fatherland,” he said.

If there is one characteristic that can be associated with youths in Cameroon, is resilience in the midst of present challenges. They have the desire to succeed. This golden jubilee therefore provides an opportunity for renewed commitment on the part of stakeholders to continue this work in progress towards the betterment of life for the future which is the youths.

The winds of the National Youth Week will blow at a very high speed for the next three days, and it is hoped that youths in Cameroon would become responsible agents of peace for an emergent Cameroon.

Photo credits:

Top: 3D Finish First via photopin (license) StockMonkeys.com www.stockmonkeys.com

Lower: Alphonse Akouyu
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About me:

Hello everyone this is your friend Akouyu Alphonse from Bamenda located in the North West Region of Cameroon. I graduated from the Catholic University of Cameroon Bamenda after studying Banking and Finance. I hope to become a Business/International Relations expert.

My areas of interest are serving as Journalist especially on Sports (football) and societal issues aimed at inspiring people to believe in themselves and volunteerism.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?

To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit:
http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/

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