The paradox of youth empowerment: Exploring youth intervention programme in Ghana
Boadu, Evans Sakyi
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Empowerment is a necessary determinant of young people’s participation in national, regional and district or local level decision-making processes. For inclusiveness in any social intervention programme, the policy process should be allembracing sharing of knowledge and active stakeholders’ participation which includes the youth. This paper delineates the context of Local Enterprise and Skills Development Programme (LESDEP) by focusing on the extent to which the programme beneficiaries (youth) were empowered to play active roles in the decision policy processes which goes beyond the rhetoric. In particular, to unpack the perception that young people empowerment in a youth-oriented programme has the potential of curbing the problem of exclusion. Inferences from the concept of an empowerment might be the premise for rethinking the debate surrounding youth empowerment in the initiatives oriented towards young people. Youth in Ghana has a very little aptitude and plays an inconsequential role in policy design; therefore, the need arises for youth empowerment to enable them to engage in the broader national policies. Having assumed a negative deviation after a further analysis using empowerment perception index (EPI), the study revealed that youth marginal involvement and consultation in decision making cannot constitute empowerment to any degree. Given the crucial implications of this for youth policy implementations at the national as well as subnational level, the paper recommended some pathways for ensuring youth empowerment in youth-oriented programmes in Ghana.