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Jamaica continues to be a country that has a very youthful population and they can contribute so much to national development, but how will this happen if the voices of youth are just swept under the carpet? Unfortunately policies within Jamaica are not youth friendly since in the decision making process the voices of youths are not recognized. While leaders from various organizations around the world are preparing to meet in Bogotá, Colombia from 27 to 28 February 2013 to discuss what is working in their countries towards the Millennium Development Goals, most Jamaican youth will not be a part of this process. What happens after Post MDG 2015 in Jamaica is a crucial period which should see youth becoming more engage in the decision-making process which ultimately impacts on their future. We will never achieve the Millennium Development Goals in Jamaica until youth are being given the chance to voice their concerns.

Former Secretary of State, Hilary Rodham Clinton at “Youth Rising,” Tunisia on February 25, 2012 states, “There are underlying dynamics that are affecting young people everywhere- changes in demographics and technology, economics and politics that are bringing together this unique moment in history. Young people are at the heart of today’s great strategic opportunities and challenges, from rebuilding the global economy to combating violent extremism to building sustainable democracies” It is on this premise that it becomes much clearer that input in decision making should be coming from youth to identify unmet needs.

The USAID must be commended on presenting their first policy on youth in development; they have truly recognized the valuable contribution that youth can make in giving of their skills and resources in fostering holistic development in any nation. It is without reservation that I would recommend this policy to be used at its fullest potential within any given society where applicable.

A copy of this policy is available below in the link for your perusal.

http://transition.usaid.gov/our_work/policy_planning_and_learning/documents/Youth_in_Development_Policy.pdf

 

Jason Madden

IYSO Council Member