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Five school going children drawn from Bonthe District supported by World Vision Sierra Leone through their Pikin Tok PROJECT have expressed doubts over Sierra Leone’s achievements of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s) by 2015, during a Regional Youth Development Summit held at the National Youth Commission Secretariat at the National Stadium in Freetown. Photo: World Vision supported children in Bonthe calls for the protection of children to achieve MDG’s by 2015 )
The summit was supported by the youth millennium development ambassadors in collaboration with Democracy Sierra Leone, World Vision and Global Educators for all initiative on the theme ‘putting youth at the heart of sustainable development.
According to 14 year old Alfred Williams while making his assessment of the level of MDG’s achievements in Sierra Leone and recommendations for post MDG’s. He said they are only getting the news about the eight MDG targets and 2015 as the deadline for its attainment.
He said Sierra Leone has made good progress to achieve many of the MDG’s but that it will not achieve most of them by 2015. He added that with great efforts on child mortality, maternal mortality and development partnership some of the goals will be likely met.
Alfred Williams also said that the major concerns for them as children in Sierra Leone is that the current MDG frame work ignores the child’s rights to protection for most vulnerable children in Sierra Leone to enjoy a life free from exploitative child labour, teenage pregnancies, early marriages, child female genital mutilation and rape.
He said for the post 2015 MDG to be successful key development targets of equity, governance, education, health and nutrition.
He suggested that children and young people must be included in the current negotiations towards defining a new development frame work and the development agenda should include a clear goal around children’s protection from abuse, neglect, exploitation and other forms of violence and that child protection should be mainstreamed into key development goals. A five minutes video about the MDG’s was also played for the participants.
The objective of the summit is to bring together core youth and youth leaders to discuss on the youth development needs and challenges of the youth that will culminate to an endorsement of youth development deceleration document (YDD).
Stella Nkrumah –Ababio Regional Child Protection Advisor of World Vision Sierra Leone said children should be protected by all stakeholders to enable them contribute to the development of their society.
She said world vision has a special focus on the development of children in deprived communities and to also empower them to realize their potential.
A representative from Nigeria said Nigerians has made significant development in reforming government institutions to address the issue of youth’s involvement in governance and sustainable development.
According to one of the workshop facilitator from Restless Development James Fofanah discussed presentations of the recommendation of the pre-conference session and on post 2015 on the youth framework and development agenda, additionally he said young people needs skills and moral empowerment, harnessing of technologies, and reformation of institution.
He stated that results of the report will be presented to directly to the UN high level panel during their meeting which will be presented to member states during the UN General Assembly meeting.
Val Tucker a consultant for IPAS spoke about sexual reproductive health among youths and calls for unique understanding on the plight of youths in society.
The expected outcome for the Regional Youth Development Summit included regional youth development declaration, formulation of regional youth development goals, design of innovative approaches on positive engagement and utilization of youth in facilitating global development in local communities and presentation on strategies for youth development fund and commissioning of youth millennium development ambassadors.
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