The 10th anniversary of the Making Cents Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summit 2016 in Washington, D.C. on September 28-30 convened influencers and decision-makers to increase the impact, scale and sustainability of youth economic opportunities programming, policies and partnerships. This year’s decennial youth conference hosted over 500 people from 54 countries, providing a wealth of concrete learning opportunities, face-to-face networking and formal partnerships. Fiona Macaulay, CEO and Founder of Making Cents International, discussed the vision of the next decade of youth development and the necessary steps to achieve results and scale.
A decade ago, I organized the first-ever global convening with the singular focus on how to increase the scale and sustainability of the youth economic opportunities sector. Fast forward ten years, to this past September, when 543 people from 53 countries gathered to share their knowledge, and celebrate the 10th anniversary of this event: The Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summit. Clearly, we were on to something big.
Young people face a number of critical challenges to access the skills, core competencies and critical thinking needed to reach their full social and economic potential. In parallel, recent years have seen an explosion of new tools, technologies and approaches designed to engage youth. Among these is the Maker Space movement that emphasizes “making” over rote learning, and that draws on new technological materials to expand opportunities for young people to learn through firsthand experience.
Passionate about computer programming and digital learning, a group of Tunisian students launched the Young Tunisian Coders Academy (YTCA) in 2015 to teach youth ages 10–15 in Tunisia coding skills. After participating in the Thomas Jefferson Scholarship Program’s Tunisia Undergraduate Scholarship Program (Tunisia UGRAD), they were inspired to start the organization to help expand technology access across the country. “[After participating in Tunisia UGRAD], we did not want to come back to Tunisia empty-handed,” said Abdelatif, YTCA’s cofounder and outreach coordinator. “We acquired a lot of skills in the US and we wanted to put them in practice back home.”
Africa’s population is projected to soar from 1.2 billion today to 2.4 billion by 2050. Over the same period, the tech titans of Silicon Valley and other hubs will be using their stockpiles of cash to transform the global economy, through innovations such as self-driving vehicles, genetic modification, and even the colonization of space. And yet the prospects are bleak for Africans interested in playing any sort of role in shaping how these technologies influence their lives. Everywhere one looks, the technology picture is the same. Free digital products have been useful. In some cases – such as email, mapping, and social media – they have been transformative.
Roya Mahboob knew that she wanted to build a career in technology from the first time she set her eyes on a computer in the only internet cafe in Herat, Afghanistan, when she was 16 years old. In 2010, at the age of 23 she became the first tech chief executive in Afghanistan when she founded Afghan Citadel Software (ACS) with the aim of involving more women in her country's growing technology business. "We are not thinking, we are not supposed to do critical thinking," says Mahboob, discussing the way she and many women grew up in Afghanistan.
Despite the rapid growth of digital skills building programs, the demand for programming skills from employers and students still outpaces supply. While students need more than basic coding familiarity to launch billion dollar companies, courses such as these have the potential not only to equip young people with the skills they need to succeed, but also to promote entrepreneurial opportunity and economic growth across the continent. What more is needed to build digital skills on the continent that will be home to the largest workforce in the world by 2050?
The World Bank Group (WBG) and Global Partnership for Youth in Development
Jun 13, 2016 (All day) to Jun 15, 2016 (All day)
The Global Youth Forum 2016 will gather more than 150 partners and representatives from the public and private sectors, civil society, and young people themselves, to exchange new and innovative ideas, and to support the actions of the global community. The forum is designed around open discussions, based on evidence and experience, of the most effective ways to address both opportunities and challenges facing young people and to engage young people in development.
The five winners of the 2016 Blog4Dev highlighted inequality as one of the key issues impacting young people in Africa. Young people who have access to opportunities can afford better education but interestingly face strong pressure on who they should become - a doctor, an engineer -- professions that make their parents happy. The less fortunate have to move from rural areas and cities in search for stability. They sometimes face harsh conditions, often working on low quality jobs, saving to send money to their families back home.
Active youth participation at the United Nations is a critical contribution to successful international cooperation. The purpose of this handbook is to provide interested young people around the world with the information they need to approach their governments with the request to include youth voices in their national delegations to the United Nations. Being a part of the UNA movement provides opportunities for engagement with United Nations issues in your home countries and internationally. If you do not have a UNA in your country, we hope you will reach out to us and explore the possibility of establishing one