African youth lead varied and complex lives. They face diverse situations and opportunities. The recurring theme is one of challenge. On one hand, Africa is experiencing unprecedented population growth, with limited formal sector employment prospects. Despite new economic opportunities, formal jobs and wage employment remain elusive. On the other hand, investments in primary education have created better access to education and have contributed to a new era of prosperity and opportunity across Africa, yet opportunities for youth are uneven across the continent.
This paper provides findings of a small-scale, innovative labor training program that uses expressive arts and theatre as a pedagogical tool. The corresponding life skills training component is combined with a technical component teaching vocational skills. To our knowledge, this is the first paper to rigorously evaluate the effectiveness of a training program constructed around expressive arts.
Nicaraguan youth complete an average of six years of schooling. Along the Caribbean coast, youth average less than three years of schooling. This not only results in a youth population with low levels of productivity and high unemployment rates, but also constrains economic development.
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.
In December, the United Nations Security Council adopted its first resolution on youth as peacebuilders, not just as perpetrators or victims of conflict. It was historic, United Nations Youth Envoy Ahmad Alhendawi told Devex, and indicative of a kind of “youth spring” in the development sector, where the narrative is slowly shifting from young people as problem, to potential solution. Alhendawi’s own role was first created in 2013, the same year the first global Youth Development Index was published. The U.N. now has an action plan for youth across all agencies and 49 country offices have youth advisory boards.
The Mali Out of School Youth Project (PAJE-Nieta) served remote areas like Timbuktu, providing entrepreneurship training and civic engagement to youth amid government instability. More than 88% of participants started micro businesses, most of which are still running today. Join us for a panel discussion about unique challenges and successes during the life of these projects.
“Youth are the strength of a nation.” Says Monalisa Mbise, participant in SNV’s Opportunities for Youth Employment (OYE) program in Tanzania. When observing the power and potential of youth, it’s hard to face that worldwide 74 million young people are unemployed. In the countries where OYE operates, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Mozambique, unemployment rates for youth are 2 to 3 times higher than those for adults, with an even higher rate of unemployment among young women.
Positive Youth Development (PYD) is recognized as a paradigm shift for international programs. This approach pivots youth programs fixated on “No”—don’t leave school, don’t have risky sex, don’t join a criminal gang—toward activities that strengthen youth competencies and assets and support positive life choices. Important components of these affirming youth programs are a strong sense of belonging for youth and supportive relationships with peers and adults in their communities.
In partnership with icipe we are embarking on an innovative project called “Young Entrepreneurs in Silk and Honey.” The project will create employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for 12,500 young people in beekeeping and silk farming in Ethiopia, all of whom are between the ages of 18-24, unemployed, out of school and earning an income of less than $2 a day. Ethiopia is the leading honey and beeswax producer in Africa. However, honey production is largely traditional, amounting to about 10 percent of production potential.
Youth today are highly mobile. According to the FAO, they represent the main share of migrants worldwide. Many are moving from rural to urban areas and leaving behind the traditional agriculture practiced by their families. Today’s youth make up the largest generation in human history, representing a quarter of the world’s population under age 24. In understanding the ramifications of youth migration from agriculture, it’s important to consider the full nexus of youth, urbanization, and food security.