Snags hob­ble ac­tivists’ youth pol­icy for­mu­la­tion

The Myanmar Times - - News - AUNG KYAW MIN aungkyawmin@mm­times.com

YOUNG peo­ple in Yan­gon Re­gion help­ing to draft a pro­posed youth pol­icy say greater co­or­di­na­tion is needed as ef­forts to for­mu­late the plan con­tinue.

The lead­ing mem­ber of a re­gional com­mit­tee on youth pol­icy for­ma­tion, Ma Thi­dar Hlaing, said sur­vey­ing by ac­tivists through­out the coun­try, which be­gan on June 20, was not likely to be com­pleted by the tar­get date, Septem­ber 30.

At a press con­fer­ence on Septem­ber 5, she said lack­lus­tre par­tic­i­pa­tion from youths and de­layed fund­ing were to blame.

“Fund­ing dif­fi­cul­ties, time, and par­tic­i­pa­tion and abil­ity [of youths] are the main points, be­cause youth are not get­ting a salary for it [par­tic­i­pat­ing] here; they have their other jobs,” she said.

Though the govern­ment had in­di­cated that the draft­ing of a youth pol­icy would be among its so-called 100-day ini­tia­tives, ear­marked as a pri­or­ity for its early months in of­fice, Ma Thi­dar Hlaing said ac­tivists would like more time to gather in­for­ma­tion and ideas from young peo­ple in Myan­mar’s states and re­gions.

She cited a re­cent youth fo­rum in Monywa town­ship, Sa­gaing Re­gion, at which par­tic­i­pants said they were “60 per­cent” of the way to where they wanted to be on pol­icy in­put.

“It is not per­fect – it is just start­ing,” Ma Thi­dar Hlaing said.

Fund­ing has been a par­tic­u­lar prob­lem in some parts of the coun­try, such as Aye­yarwady Re­gion, where no money has yet been spent or re­ceived on the ef­fort, and rugged Chin State, where trans­porta­tion costs can run to dou­ble what is typ­i­cal of other ar­eas, Yan­gon Re­gion youth com­mit­tee mem­ber Ko Htet Arkar Latt said this week.

There are plans to hold youth pol­icy fo­rums in four Yan­gon Re­gion town­ships this month – Mayan­gone, Tarmwe, Thin­gangyun and Ka­maryut – with the Mayan­gone meet-up sched­uled for to­day.

Re­cent youth pol­icy aware­ness cam­paign­ing on univer­sity cam­puses in Yan­gon has some­times run into dif­fi­cul­ties as au­thor­i­ties have de­nied per­mis­sion for the ac­tiv­i­ties, and youth ac­tivists met yes­ter­day with Yan­gon Re­gion’s so­cial af­fairs min­is­ter, U Naing Ngan Linn, in an at­tempt to re­solve the is­sue. The min­is­ter pledged to as­sist the cam­paign­ers to the best of his abil­ity, Ko Htet Arkar Latt said.

The Yan­gon Re­gion youth pol­icy com­mit­tee is en­cour­ag­ing all young peo­ple to par­tic­i­pate in its con­sul­ta­tion process, in­clud­ing marginalised groups such as the LGBTQ com­mu­nity, sex work­ers and those with dis­abil­i­ties, mem­ber Shin Thant said.

Com­mit­tee leader Ma Thi­dar Hlaing stressed that any youth pol­icy should not be the prod­uct of a rush job.

“We can hold the cam­paign­ing and work­shops dur­ing the lim­ited time if we wish, but we don’t want slip­shod [out­comes],” she said.

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