Youths are often regarded as the leaders of tomorrow and indeed the future of any society. At present, Liberia is grappling with problems that result from high youth unemployment, crimes and drug addiction. Consequently, politicians often turn to the youths as their springboard to ascend to political stardom, including the act of trucking young people to hard to reach localities to register to vote. Why they are being looked at as the contributors to future national growth, they are reduced to regular callers on radio talks, car washers, motorbike and tricycle riders, car loaders as well as spending precious time at “haitai” (Chinese tea) shops without taking note of what the future holds for them.
Other problems include violence perpetuated both by and against young people such as armed robbery, gender-based violence, teenage pregnancy, sexual exploitation and the threat of harmful disease.
The most troubling part about youth vulnerability is that every year, tons of illicit drugs are brought into Liberia at an alarming rate. Countless youths are recruited daily and nationwide by these illicit drug users and dealers in street corners, ghettos and slums to the disorderly use of illicit drug in Liberia.
Sadly, the repercussions is that youths who are supposed to be the nation builders have transformed into “Zokos” due to excessive use of illicit drugs. Moreover, this abuse of illicit drug by young people in Liberia has a very serious mental health implications.
It can therefore be deduced that attempts, either deliberately or by omission, to consciously invest in this class of people would possibly translate to a better future not only for the beneficiaries of such gesture alone but the society at large. Arguably, the leaders of today were prepared for the roles they are playing now or position occupied neither by accident nor by providence.
Anyhow, it would have been a disaster to entrust fortunes of a people and nation to the hands of an unlearned and highly uncultured individuals. In such instance, there is no need for prayers in order for such a society to survive. Therefore, failure to plan means an invitation to failure.
No serious nation the world over can abandon this serious responsibility and expect the youths to grow and develop to the stature of taking responsibility without being properly groomed for the task ahead. Unfortunately, government seems to have forgotten its responsibility in this direction. Hence, it must be reminded about the need for capacity building through basic skills training program and teaching youth general agriculture especially in cash crops and vegetables productions.
There should be an increase in the level of advocacy and awareness among youth relating to the danger of drug abuse, crimes and sexual translated diseases (STD). Another way may be the strengthening of families and communities relationship through counseling and trauma healing for youth through programs. Above all, the bill languishing at the Capitol Building wanting for drug abuse to be a non-bailable offense should be enacted into law.
By this, our young people can as well achieve their hopes of showcasing their talents by helping them to source for livelihood out there. The government on the other should collaborate with organizations or institutions in the business of investing in the youths whose exploits will definitely count to project the positive image of the country.
This can, however, come to be a fruition through a deliberate and conscious effort of those with the wherewithal to make this happen and particularly the government which has the primary duty and could therefore take advantage of these opportunities to enhance the Liberian youths.
Without any direct involvement in re-orientating the youths of these days, their future can obviously be predicted: bleak, meaningless and unattractive.