REPORT: Youth Think Tank Report 2015-2016, June 2016
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.
Young women and men across East Africa want to start and grow businesses, secure employment, learn and apply new skills, contribute to their families and communities, and participate in the decisions that affect their lives. They face low levels of education and workappropriate skills, precarious and informal work, and social exclusion. This is influenced by a number of variables including location, gender, available resources and local contexts.
This research, which includes more than 400 interviews across four countries, found that young people in East Africa are committed to developing their skills, have a positive attitude towards self-employment, are utilizing technology and especially mobile technology, recognize the attempts of government to develop youth employment programs and are eager to participate in the policy decisions that impact their lives. The research findings build on a number of complementary research initiatives supported by The MasterCard Foundation.
Three areas where respondents’ findings shed additional light include:
Young people recognize the skills gap between education and employment. They are taking proactive steps to develop employment and entrepreneurship skills through volunteering, and accessing skills through mobile and information and communication technology (ICT).
• Young people make informed decisions about moving from rural to urban areas and are considering opportunities in agriculture, rather than migrating to urban centres.
• The efforts of government interventions for youth were recognized. Individual rather than group loan applications, and longer engagement to provide additional marketing and business skills to ensure businesses succeed, were identified as missing components.