It’s 8 March 2017, International Women’s Day. As my colleague David beautifully said: “It’s a day to remember that women are not treated equally to men across the world. It’s a reminder that women worldwide are exposed to shocking abuse from sexual violence and female genital mutilation, to forced early marriage and deprivation of their most basic rights.
Globally, there are 600 million adolescent girls in developing countries who face challenges to education and health services and too often face persistent discrimination and violence. They frequently have limited opportunities to gain the education, knowledge, resources, and skills that can lead to economic advancement.
Social isolation, economic vulnerability, and lack of access to health care and education prevent healthy transitions from childhood to adulthood, especially for vulnerable adolescent girls in developing countries. In Zambia, poor girls often are at high risk of gender-based violence, unintended pregnancy, and HIV. Many drop out of school, are unable to find employment, lack the ability to make independent decisions, and are not being reached by existing programs for young people.
Join the Population Council and Restless Development, a global agency for youth-led development, for a webinar showcasing tools and resources to help program planners maximize the impact of their girl-centered programming.
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.
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.
This two-day international conference will promote dialogue and critical reflection on the latest evidence, paradigms, concepts and approaches to adolescence, youth and gender in international development and consider the implications for policy and programming. Given recent demographic trends, ‘adolescence’ has risen high on the global agenda with a particular focus on girls. Researchers, policymakers and practitioners are increasingly interested in the second decade of life as a newly recognised ‘window of opportunity’ to reduce poverty and inequality and to prevent the transmission of poverty across generations.
“Adolescents can be powerful agents of change in communities,” says Chizuru Iwata, an international UN Volunteer from Japan, who worked with UNICEF as a UNV Adolescent Participation Officer in the State of Palestine. A 51-day Israeli military operation in July and August 2014, according to United Nations reports, left several thousand people dead, and over 10,000 injured. It destroyed and damaged homes, leaving tens of thousands homeless. “Working in UNICEF’s Adolescent Development and Participation section, I supported implementation, monitoring and a variety of the section’s activities that were building the capacities of national partners" says Chizuru.
The global jobs crisis has fueled interest globally in how to improve the quality of skills training programs to prepare people for productive employment. The Adolescent Girls Initiative (AGI) has some of the best results to-date among skills training projects that have been rigorously evaluated, so it makes sense to ask what made these pilots successful. From 2008-2015, we implemented pilots in eight countries, with the aim of supporting young women’s transition to productive employment. The AGI marked the Bank’s first experience working with this population—adolescent girls and young women—on this topic—skills and employment.