The issue of unemployment among young people continues to be at the top of the list of agenda in global, regional, national and local meetings and discussions by governments, corporations and organisations. As these discussions rise in number continuously, there seems to be little improvement in the situation of unemployment among young people. Policies have been formulated, initiatives have been created, conferences, workshops and trainings have been held but how much these have effected change is little compared to the percentage of youths globally that are still trying to find a sustainable employment. In fact, the ILO report on global employmenttrends for youth 2013, tagged today's youth as "a generation at risk".
So, today, the question is, how can we increase youth employment (formal, informal, and self employment) in growth sectors such as agri-business, green growth, information and communications technology (ICT), and financial services?
According to the MasterCard Foundation, harnessing the passion and creativity of young people will help us to become more effective in the field of youth learning and engagement. This is why, in January 2012, The MasterCard Foundation (the Foundation) created a Youth Think Tank and tasked it with advising on and, ultimately, helping to shape our work in this sector.
Through this initiative, Nine young people – ranging in age from 19 to 24 and hailing from Ghana, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Uganda, and Kenya – were engaged as part-time qualitative researchers in their respective communities, gathering insights that help connect the MasterCard Foundation staff to the real-world experiences of young people living in Sub-Saharan Africa today, and over a six-month period, these talented young people interviewed 51 community and business leaders and 119 peers to explore the following question stated above.
Part of the findings show that involving youth in decision-making and processes (including design, marketing, implementation, and evaluation) leads to the creation of programs that are more closely aligned with their beliefs, aspirations, and behaviours — and increases the likelihood of a program’s success; and that “Institutions have failed to connect youth and to give them a platform to share their ideas with project planners, implementers, and decision-makers in and outside government.”
The report of the MasterCard Youth Think Tank initiative is now available and can be found here on YPARD e-library.
Photo credit: CGIAR Climate