Globally, more than 700 million women alive today married before the age of 18. Each year, 15 million additional girls are married as children, the vast majority of them in developing countries. Child marriage is widely considered a violation of human rights, and it is also a major impediment to gender equality. It profoundly affects the opportunities not only of child brides, but also of their children. And, as a study we issued this week concludes, it has significant economic implications as well.
The proliferation of evidence of what works for youth employment and workforce development programs, has not been matched by an understanding of the cost-drivers and value for money of similar interventions. Without clear financial models, it’s difficult to develop a business case for employers to absorb some of the associated training costs currently subsidized by donors; this makes creating pathways to scale a challenge. It discourages employers from paying for training, even when it increases productivity and retention and decreases recruitment costs for entry-level employees.
The youth employment challenge is a stubborn reality in all regions and nearly every country. Over 35 per cent of the estimated 201 million unemployed people today are youth (between the ages of 15 and 24).
I feel proud to represent Bangladesh and do it wherever I go. The 5th Asian Youth Forum - co-hosted by the Asian Development Bank and Plan International- was one of the biggest platforms where I had the opportunity to showcase the issues and potential of youth living in our country. In my view, youth are the backbone of a nation: we bring enthusiasm and dynamics not only to the population structure but also to the social structure. Focusing on the biological and social development of youth is vital for a nation to achieve its human development goals.
Standing in line to sign up for the Digital Youth Summit in Peshawar this May, I struck up a conversation with a young woman from Peshawar. I was pleasantly surprised by her level of interest and eagerness in participating at the tech conference. She was keen to develop an app that would allow her to sell home-based food products at a national level. She had already gathered a group of friends who would work with her on different aspects of task planning and implementation. Her enthusiasm was palpable and infectious.
These days, Abdel Hameed Sharara is a talented young entrepreneur whose determination is a source of motivation to everyone around him. But starting out with a misguided aspiration to attend law school, he was a perfect example of someone with untapped potential living in a region with diverse opportunities that cannot be accessed due to a lack of business education.
A common criticism of international development work is that it is unsustainable. Grant funding dries out, the international development agency leaves, and the program or services offered phase out. What would a financial products and services program aimed at sustainability look like? A recently concluded project in Ethiopia is a promising illustration.
The governments of eight Commonwealth island countries in the Pacific have resolved to implement policies that will enable more young people to become entrepreneurs and job creators rather than job seekers. Youth unemployment in the Pacific today stands at 23 percent with young people up to six times more likely to be jobless than the rest of the adult population.
Using examples from Burundi, CARE’s POWER Africa (Promoting Opportunities for Women's Economic Empowerment in Rural Africa) team shares how innovative, community-led conflict resolution creates a foundation for sustainable and inclusive gender equality, contributing to social and financial advancement of the entire community.