The national youth day celebration: beyond the march pass

The Ministry of Youths and Sports has revolutionalised the annual youth day celebrations by bringing in an innovation that falls in line with the “Android generation”. An 11-day Youth village has been organized from the 1st to the 11th of February. It is a “one stop shop” for youths’ information and economic development. 

When we say “The national youth day celebration, beyond the march past” what is expected of the youth?

For every edition of the youth celebration we follow a good number of laid down activities to be carried out. Each activity falls within a specific topic that is related to the theme of the year. Apart from the march pass, we have specific activities such as sports for physically handicapped persons to include them in the celebration. We equally have delocalized activities carried out by partners. We have activities of reference such as the youth village which include economic promotion of youth, entertainment, citizenship and the artistic and cultural development of the youth. This programme runs from the 1st to the 11th of February 2018. 

What are the particular innovations or this year, given that the youths asked for more last year?

Actually, the “11 day concept” comes as an innovation. We can now have activities for two weeks before the 11th to avoid situations where we will have to rush activities because of time as it used to be in previous years. We equally have additional activities like I earlier stated talking of the official launching or the youth of the diaspora that took place in the US to make the youths out there know we have not forgotten them and at the youth village site, during the “soiree de l’excellence” we will raise funds in order to support the business plan of some of our youths who tried to migrate in search for greener pastures but were stopped.

We are aware that you have projects for the youth such as the three year development plan for the youth, the PIASI among others; how far have you gone with the implementation such projects?

We had a visibility issue because a lot is done to economically integrate youths, but it is not demographically balanced and the circumstances surrounding the data collection, we have the impression that nothing is being done. That is why in the framework of the youth village, we established a unit known as the “Salon d’Opportunités”.  We brought these units here so that they can meet thousands of youths who will attend this programme from the 1st to the 10th of February in Yaoundé. This will enable the youths to be informed on the spot of ways to follow up or get financing for their projects. Thus, the special 3 year plan of the president simply comes to boost this insertion while older projects continue to be implemented, but we have to capitalize on the 102 billion for three years as prescribed so that projects would help to develop insertion and follow up structures.

On a personal note, what can you tell the Cameroonian youth ahead of this year’s 52 youth day celebration?

Youths are the hope and the future of this country. I say so because we can acknowledge this future is radiant. I equally urge them to align themselves to norms such as “I am patriotic, I don’t need to auto denigrate my country even if the country if facing major difficulties.” Youths should learn how to look for the right information, be patient and learn how to go beyond oneself in order to merit what we aspire. In a nutshell youths should remain patriotic.

Doreen Sere Penn, with the Assistant Inspector of Programmes and Teaching Methods in the Ministry of Youths and Civic Education (MINJEC), Marc Arnaud Sandjok

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