There was silence in the room. No one seemed to want to speak up. I asked again: “what are the most important challenges that you face every day?” Suba, a young woman in her early 20s living in Tripoli, one of the regions with the highest poverty levels and concentration of Syrian refugees in Lebanon, finally raised her hand and said: “We are unemployed and have no access to basic services. We are sympathetic to the Syrian refugee cause. However, they are taking our jobs.
Young people play a vital role in fostering global economic development.In the face of weak prospects for global economic growth, their involvement in the formal economy becomes increasingly relevant and urgent. In recent years, there has been much talk about the demographic dividend in most emerging economies and less-developed countries, a scenario where a larger proportion of the overall population is of working age.
Adolescent girls face a multitude of hazards during their transition from childhood to adulthood ranging from school dropout, to child marriage, to adolescent childbearing, to physical and mental health problems, to gender based violence. In response to these risks, there has been an increase in the number and types of interventions targeting adolescent girls in low-and middle-income countries.
After setting the global development agenda in 2000 with the Millennium Development Goals, the United Nations highlighted the need to focus on enhancing economic growth through sustainable and meaningful work in its 2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Today, the UN calls for the “promotion of inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment, and decent work for all,” and seeks to address the 470 million jobs that need to be created for youth entering the workforce from 2016 to 2030.
“Almost 43 percent of the global youth labor force is either unemployed or working, yet living in poverty,” according to Global Employment Trends for Youth 2015 by the International Labour Organization. In countries with mature economies, nearly one in five students don’t acquire a minimum level of basic skills needed to be gainfully employed.
My name is Laetitia Victoria Mukungu and I am from Kenya. I am a third-year student at EARTH University in Costa Rica, where I study Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resource Management. My passion lies in rural women’s empowerment, food security and child education.
Young people today make up the largest youth population in history. Their successes and struggles are as diverse as their personalities and aspirations.
However, in all corners of the globe, this generation faces a common challenge: persistent youth unemployment. Left unaddressed, the consequences reverberate across our cities. When young people don’t see or have a sustainable economic path, our families and communities also suffer. In fact, the futures of cities are intrinsically tied to the economic success of young people.
For hundreds of millions of children and young adults who wake each day to poverty, the future can look daunting. There are few avenues to escape life in slums, where dreams often are dampened by a reality of limited access to essentials — such as education and health care — that others take for granted.