African countries are experiencing the issue in varying degrees. Education and infrastructure problems are often cited. However, members of Future Forward, a network of leading social entrepreneurs, youth-serving professionals, and youth changemakers across Africa, have pinpointed a key — and often ignored — challenge: young people in Africa lack the opportunity to become authentic leaders.In other words, young people don’t have many options when it comes to leadership opportunities, in part due to mindsets around the capabilities of youth.
The MasterCard Foundation Youth Think Tank is a research group made up of young people who are recruited to conduct research in their communities, make recommendations based on their findings, and advise the Foundation. The 2015-2016 Youth Think Tank conducted research into economic opportunities for youth in East Africa and found that young people across the region face similar aspirations and challenges.
Atlas Corps seeks nonprofit/NGO professionals from around the world to apply for Fellowships in the U.S. Atlas Corps engages leaders committed to the nonprofit sector in 6-18 month, professional fellowships at organizations to learn best practices, build organizational capacity, and return home to create a network of global leaders. Fellows serve at Host Organizations working on issues that complement their expertise. This prestigious fellowship includes a living stipend to cover basic expenses (food, local transportation, and shared housing) and health insurance.
Africa is a ‘youthful’ continent. In 2015, the number of African youth aged 15–24 years was estimated at 229.6 million, or 19.4% of the total population, with the 486 million children under 15 years making up another 40.9%. Moreover, unlike in other parts of the world where youth populations have plateaued or are in decline, the proportion of youth in Africa is expected to continue to rise in the coming decade. Thus, if only because of their numerical strength, young people’s choices, opportunities and challenges will be crucial in shaping the future of their countries.
As a child, my friend Fola was good at math and excelled in the sciences and he wanted to be an engineer. But losing both his parents before the age of 15 changed everything. He was forced to adapt to a new and limited scope of opportunities available to him, both academically and financially. As he did, he learned how to deal with the trauma, adversity and setbacks and he built a high level of resilience. There are so many people like Fola who are bright and motivated, but due to challenging circumstances may not have a typical CV or resumé listing the universities they attended and the financial firms where they’ve worked.
The impact of family influence on youth development is well documented in major evidence reviews (see those by JPAL, USAID; 3ie; and the World Bank). Families impact nutritional and cognitive development, education and career choice parameters, social and geographic mobility, household and childcare responsibilities, and finance, savings, and income constraints, most of which vary by gender. Elements of family pride, saving face, and giving back also clearly play a role.
Across the globe, young women and men are making an important contribution as productive workers, entrepreneurs, consumers, citizens, members of society and agents of change. All too often, the full potential of young people is not realized because they do not have access to productive and decent jobs. Although they are an asset, many young people face high levels of economic and social uncertainty. A difficult transition into the world of work has long-lasting consequences not only on youth but also on their families and communities.
International Labour Organization (ILO) and The MasterCard Foundation
The ILO School-to-work transitions surveys (SWTS) are implemented as an outcome of the Work4Youth (W4Y) project, a partnership between the ILO and The MasterCard Foundation. The project has a budget of US$14.6 million and will run for five years to mid-2016. Its aim is to “promote decent work opportunities for young men and women through knowledge and action”. The immediate objective of the partnership is to produce more and better labour market information specific to youth in developing countries, focusing in particular on transition paths to the labour market.
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.