By Benjamin Flowers
More than 100 youths and youth leaders from all six districts gathered at the Gateway Youth Center in Belize City for the first-ever Young Leaders Forum.
The forum last Friday was held under the theme, “Youth: A Time for Equality in Decision Making.”
The forum gave participants a platform to speak on issues affecting them and other young people in their community, to a panel which included Minister of State with responsibility for Sports, Herman Longsworth, and Belize City Mayor, Darrell Bradley.
Participants discussed topics such as entrepreneurship, migration, youth citizen participation, the environment, land ownership, transportation and health.
The event was hosted by the youth-based organization, Guidelight Productions, in collaboration with public and private sector partners, such as the Department of Youth Services, Belize Kids First, and the Love Foundation.
Andrew Munnings, executive director of Guidelight Productions, explained that one of the major themes coming out of the forum was that youths want to be more involved in decision-making at all levels.
“One of the suggestions that came out of it, and it’s something we are looking into”, Munnings expained, “is having a youth union that would sit at the table with other stake holders when legislation matters are being discussed”.
Munnings added that the participants helped to create a set of declarations, which will be presented to the Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, Patrick Faber, on International Youth Day, celebrated on August 12.
The declarations, he emphasized, were written by youths for youths, and entail issues and interventions that these youths would like Central Government to address.