My name is Matthew French and I work for JBS International, Inc. This blog draws upon research conducted under contract with USAID’s office of Education (read the full youth engagement report here), as well as my own experiences working with young people.
Creating lasting change in developing communities means creating change for those communities’ young people. They will be the torchbearers of the practices put in place today, and are the future innovators for these nascent economies. Engaging youth in productive activities also has a positive impact beyond the economic sector, as youth employment can positively affect social and political stability around the globe.
This Rapid Market Assessment (RMA) was conducted at the request of the ILO to support the design and development of a 3-year project funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and scheduled to run from 2017-2019 in Zimbabwe. The project aims to support women and youth in rural livelihoods to generate better and more sustainable income and employment opportunities by strengthening production and value-addition in a number of key rural economic sectors.
The demographic dividend has been touted as a potential source of growth for the African continent and its relatively young population. In the same vein, it comes with the challenge of employment creation that can absorb the large cohort of youth that is set to enter sub-Saharan
Africa’s labor markets in the approaching decades. Less positively, however, countries that fail to plan accordingly might miss these potential opportunities or the resulting youth bulge could increase the risk of social tension and other risks arising from high youth unemployment rates.
Not even the high temperatures, or the wind blowing dust, could deter Eliud Muchai from pushing a trolley filled with cooked camel meat sausages as he moved around looking for customers on his first day of work. At 19 years old, he knows all too well what it means to be unschooled, penniless, and homeless in Isiolo town, a region in Kenya’s arid lands that is characterized by economic and weather-related shocks.
Agriculture is the primary source of income for many rural populations in Africa, but keeping youth involved in the sector is a major challenge. Training opportunities are often limited, and income is inconsistent across the seasonality of many crops. As a result, many rural youth engage in a plethora of economic activities to support themselves, ranging from formal agricultural production to informal cash-paid labor. A recent year-long study by The MasterCard Foundation has shone some light on the diverse economic lives of rural youth in Ghana and Uganda.
African youth lead varied and complex lives. They face diverse situations and opportunities. The recurring theme is one of challenge. On one hand, Africa is experiencing unprecedented population growth, with limited formal sector employment prospects. Despite new economic opportunities, formal jobs and wage employment remain elusive. On the other hand, investments in primary education have created better access to education and have contributed to a new era of prosperity and opportunity across Africa, yet opportunities for youth are uneven across the continent.
My name is Laetitia Victoria Mukungu and I am from Kenya. I am a third-year student at EARTH University in Costa Rica, where I study Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resource Management. My passion lies in rural women’s empowerment, food security and child education.
The SDGs build on the success of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and aim to go further to end all forms of poverty. The new Goals are unique in that they call for action by all countries - regardless of income - to promote prosperity while protecting the planet. They recognize that ending poverty must go hand-in-hand with strategies that build economic growth and addresses a range of social needs including education, health, social protection, and job opportunities, while tackling climate change and environmental protection.