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"Time for action: regional youth forum in Yaounde"
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"Time for action: regional youth forum in Yaounde"

Alphonse AkouyuYouth issues will be in the spotlight when policy makers meet in Yaounde, writes Alphonse Akouyu, 20, a Commonwealth Correspondent from Bamenda in Cameroon, who argues the meeting will also be an opportunity for youth representatives to prove themselves.

The eyes of the Commonwealth will again be on Cameroon’s capital city, Yaounde, as the country hosts this year’s Commonwealth Africa/Europe Regional youth Forum in February 2015.

Scheduled to be a two-in-one gathering, the Yaounde conclave would bring together the two actors involved in the youth mission within the two regions – that is, those who make the decisions and the representatives of those affected by the decisions.

As for those who make the decisions, the Africa/Europe Regional Commonwealth Youth Ministers Meeting (AR-CYMM) takes place from the 8th-10th of February. This is a venue for leaders to discuss the various policies to promote youth development in their countries and to exchange ideas about the issues on the table. There are definitely going to be many issues, given the recent happenings in both regions.

In parallel to the AR-CYMM, the Commonwealth Youth Council (CYC) in partnership with the Commonwealth Secretariat, the Government of Cameroon and National Youth Council will host the Commonwealth Africa Youth Forum on the 8th of February 2015. In the context of the representatives of those affected by decisions, it will be a time for evaluation and serious reflection, as recent events around the world have sent an unwanted message to policy makers that their role in bringing about positive or negative change to society cannot be underestimated.

The theme of the AR- CYMM is ‘Young people building a stable and sustainable future’. If there is one thing policy makers can’t turn a blind eye to it is the idea of a stable and sustainable future. From Nigeria to Kenya and the United Kingdom in Europe, the security of the future has become a hot potato in the hands of policy makers. Many agree that policies have to be reviewed in order to promote construction instead of destruction, hope instead of despair, love instead of hatred and assurance instead of uncertainty within youths of the Commonwealth. There is much work to be done on their part, especially at the grass root level, in order to gain the confidence of a young generation which is gradually losing confidence in their policies to promote youth development. This present generation of young people is one of many surprises. Policy makers should be keen to ensure that during their time in Yaounde they make hay while the sun shines.

The theme of the youth forum – as expected whenever an activity is coordinated by young people – is diversified but has a central message which is ‘to turn negative in to positive’. They will be looking at the role of youth in the post 2015 development framework (African perspective); role of Commonwealth youth policy priorities (2015-2030); youth participation and civic education, employment and entrepreneurship, youth work professionalization, health and wellbeing of young people.

Deep within them the young people know that they can’t always blame the policy makers for their problems, as there are so many success stories within their age group who have defied all odds and gone ahead to succeed in various development sectors. They also know that many of their peers have made headlines for all the wrong reasons and skepticism exists on the part of the policy makers about their true potential. Yaounde, unfortunately for them, comes at a time when their activities are seriously being scrutinized in different parts of the world. But on the flip side, Yaounde might just be the perfect setting for them to set the records straight.

This year’s meeting falls within what is generally called in Cameroon the youth week, which ends with the peak celebration on the 11th of February. Cameroon youths share the same problems and difficulties as their peers worldwide. Like other youths around the globe, they hope that their representatives paint the policy makers a picture of the actual problems the youths are facing and seek better solutions to these pressing and diverse problems. These solutions – especially those aimed at combating oppressive ideology – will have to be implemented effectively if youths are to play a part in post 2015 development framework.

In September 2014 it was the turn of the parliamentarians. In February 2015 it will be the turn of the youths and other stakeholders. Be you policy maker, youth representative or stakeholder within the youth milieu, the time for meaningful and constructive action is now.

photo credit: Commonwealth Secretariat via photopin cc

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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’m currently in my last year in the Catholic University of Cameroon Bamenda studying Banking and Finance. I will be completing my studies in June of 2014 with the hope of becoming 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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