The youth of today, as the next generation, have a very important role to play when it comes to promoting accountability for the implementation of health and wellbeing, particularly in their own countries.

 

Health and wellbeing are core issues at the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals, and they are an important aspect, as they greatly shape the future of generations to come.

The implementation of health and wellbeing at country level is often talked about, but rarely translated into action. Take Africa for instance - a continent with disparate and complex hindrances to progress (not least of which being corruption), and yet budgets are set out every year to foster certain important aspects such as healthcare but it is rare for these objectives to be fully implemented.

African youth should partake the role of making sure the implementations are put in place by ensuring that there is enough accountability for their governments to the stakeholders and the people.

PRINCIPLES TO ENABLE YOUTH-LED ACCOUNTABILITY

Inclusion

One of the ways in which the youth can promote accountability for the implementation of health and wellbeing at country level is by getting involved in the promotion of health and wellbeing of their countries. This would entail the youth forming organizations which focus on health and wellbeing in their countries to create a collective voice for these priorities. This is mostly effective when managed by those with experience in the issues at hand, or those that are marginalized by the status quo. This strengthens the likelihoods of implementations and improves outcomes of different issues at stake.

In practice, effective opportunities and resources such as capacity-building and information can be made available to young people, thereby allowing them to take part in the accountability process. For instance, youth – a demographic with more insight into metal health than any other - can create youth-led programs to fight the stigma and discrimination that is associated with mental illness. This is more successful if it is done by the youth who have suffered the stigma and discrimination as a result of their mental illnesses, with investment and support from those with policy experience who can translate these very real lived experiences into pragmatic solutions for health leaders to adopt.

Responsiveness

Responsiveness entails the government officials listening to, responding, and planning the way forward on the input of young people. The youth should ensure that their governments are responsive to their needs, so as to promote accountability by creating platforms that enable governments to listen to them, as well as actively respond. This can be done through advocacy and awareness-building, as well as engaging with platforms such as junior parliaments to enable their voices to be heard.

Collaboration

Another role of the youth in promoting accountability is to ensure there is collaboration between themselves, their government, and other relevant stakeholders to promote health and wellbeing in their countries. By doing so, mechanisms and structures will be put in place in order to encourage interaction and discourse, which leads to greater accountability.

Transparency

Young people must gain and having access to information that relates to their focus areas - processes for health and wellbeing should be publicised to enable accountability. If there are awareness programs and advocacy workshops, their existence should be publicised and clarity about the outcomes following-on from them at governance and policy level should be publicised.

It is the role of the young people to ensure that something is being done in their countries when it comes to health and wellbeing. A healthy nation is a wealthy nation, and so for the generations to come to be more successful, health and wellbeing issues should be talked about, and be implemented.

 

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