Youth employment in GambiaTekki Fii translates to “Make it in The Gambia.” In collaboration with The Gambian government, The Tekki Fii Project recently completed a project to boost employment opportunities for Gambian youth. Funding for the project came from the European Union’s Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, the International Trade Center, a German organization called Deutsche Gesellschaft and a Portuguese organization called Instituto Marqués de Valle Flòr. Furthermore, the project also collaborated with an agency within the Belgian government called Enable and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs in the Government of The Gambia.

Migration and the Impact on Youth Employment in The Gambia

The latest statistics available from The Gambia Bureau of Statistics (GBoS) indicate that the youth unemployment rate increased to 41.5% in 2018. A lack of employment opportunities for young people in The Gambia has led to increases in crime as well as the rate of migration. This makes the work of initiatives such as Tekki Fii critical to improving the well-being of Gambians across the country.

While Tekki Fii aimed to provide skills training for entrepreneurship in areas such as agriculture and tourism, the overall goal was to bring future opportunities for youth employment in The Gambia and raise awareness about economic opportunities. The Instituto Marqués de Valle Flòr (IMVF) also emphasized the importance of focusing on women and children as part of the initiative. Additionally, the IMVF targeted domestic economic development programs as a means to tackle high rates of youth migration.

The IMVF also concentrated on the accessibility of skills development for returning migrants, some of whom were denied asylum in other countries. The target geographical locations were the Central River, North Bank, Lower River and Upper River regions of The Gambia.

The International Trade Center (ITC) worked with the Tekki Fii Project as part of its Youth Employment Project. Both initiatives operated from 2017 to 2022. The Youth Employment Project began in 2017 in The Gambia to work with Gambian youths and returning migrants. While it focused on long-standing industries such as agriculture, the ITC also supported newer sectors such as digital services.

Successes of the Initiative

Overall, the Tekki Fii project helped to decrease poverty and boost youth employment in The Gambia. The program created more than 9,500 employment opportunities and provided training for almost 7,500 individuals. After five years of work, the closing ceremony for the program under the ITC took place on November 18, 2022, in Banjul.

Following Tekki Fii, The Gambia will now implement the New National Employment Policy and Action Plan from 2022 to 2026. The national plan continues similar initiatives of the Tekki Fii Project such as skill development for entrepreneurship and businesses, opportunities for women and youth and the creation of 150,000 jobs by the end of the plan.

The Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs affirms the goals of the National Employment Policy and Action Plan with its National Development Plan. The plan proposes eight broad priorities such as the stabilization of the economy and building infrastructure. The plan also emphasizes seven more specific steps that contribute to the eight priorities including environmental sustainability and digitalization.

Youth employment in Gambia improved due to worldwide collaborators such as the European Union and the International Trade Center. More Gambian youth will continue to realize the country’s potential through the government’s new development and employment plans.

– Kaylee Messick
Photo: Flickr

South African Youth Poverty
The South African mobile communications company, Vodacom Group Limited, is launching a new app that targets the rising South African youth poverty. As South African smartphone use is on the rise among young adults, the new app directly connects individuals in need of jobs with those hiring to reduce youth poverty quickly. Also, the goal is to, hopefully, over time, decrease the adult South African poverty rates.

South African Youth Poverty

As of 2020, six out of 10 children in South Africa live in “multidimensional poverty.” That figure translates to 62.1% of South African youth who live in poverty. Multidimensional poverty considers factors beyond economic disadvantages and includes other factors, such as food insecurity, poor health and lack of education.

When considering the elements of multidimensional poverty, most experts place their hopes of decreasing poverty or unemployment rates on improving education for South Africans. However, there is more to do when individuals who have what qualifies as a “good education” remain unemployed and incapable of escaping poverty.

South African youth make up 35.7% of the country’s overall population and their unemployment rate soars above the general South African unemployment national average, which is 34.5%. The youngest graduating group, 15-24-year-olds, has had an unsteady unemployment rate, but it reached 63.9% in the first quarter of 2022.

The second-youngest group, those aged 25-34, has an unemployment rate of 42.1%, according to Statistics South Africa. Vodacom hopes to target these numbers at their source and get those graduating jobs as soon as possible before poverty becomes an insurmountable force.

Vodacom’s Impacts on South African Youth Poverty

Get-A-Gig is not Vodacom’s first attempt to decrease poverty in South Africa, especially among the South African youth. The company has expressed its dedication to assisting with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in South Africa. There are several goals, but Vodacom has announced its desire to focus on the SDGs of improving education and helping South Africans find reliable work and income. To improve and expand access to education in South Africa, Vodacom created a school management application that helps students stay on track in their lessons and track academic growth. Furthermore, Vodacom has invested more than R7.9 million in schools to improve resources and empower teachers.

The youth employment program in the hiring and recruiting phases by Vodacom offers a position to recent college graduates, regardless of age, that comes with full benefits and salaries. The youth employment program provides two years of required training before transitioning to a full-time employee role at Vodacom. This program will launch in February 2023. However, in the meantime, Get-A-Gig will help South African youth seeking a job to find one outside of Vodacom.

How Does Get-A-Gig Work?

The new app targets South African youth via phone usage. Smartphones are standard in South Africa, with 41% of South Africans between 18-34 having smartphones. Meanwhile, other age groups fall further behind in smartphone ownership, for example, only 27% of those 35 and older have their own smartphones. Smartphones are a daily household object with the number of young adults utilizing cell phones growing yearly. The daily usage of smartphones in South Africa is also on the rise, especially among younger South Africans. This is the age group Vodacom is trying to reach with Get-A-Gig.

Vodacom launched the app through one of the company’s easily accessible platforms, NXT LVL. The app helps individuals search for jobs and connect them with business owners. The users can then begin a quick application and hiring process to minimize the time someone is out of a job. The app is free and available through the, My Vodacom App and VodaPay, which are also free.

At the announcement of the app’s launch, the Chief Officer of Consumer Business at Vodacom, Jorge Mendes, immediately clarified the app’s intention to target unemployment and poverty in South African youth, “As we innovate and bring new propositions to the market, we are mindful of the challenges that consumers at large face. The revamp of the NXT LVL platform and the launch of Get-A-Gig are some of the initiatives we introduced, aiming to make a meaningful difference in the lives of young South Africans,” IT News Africa reported.

The continuation of targeting poverty and unemployment in South Africa indicates Vodacom’s dedication to assisting South African youth. Get-A-Gig’s usage will mean South African youth can easily find jobs and that there will be fewer barriers keeping South Africans living above the poverty line. South African poverty and unemployment remain an issue. Still, it is the assistance of companies like Vodacom, that make it possible to see a future without these plaguing issues.

– Clara Mulvihill
Photo: Flickr

Empowers Youth Leaders
In Ukraine, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) initiative “Decentralization Offering Better Results and Efficiency,” known as the DOBRE initiative, empowers youth leaders to promote change in their communities. The program, which ran from June 2016 through June 2021, succeeded in providing assistance to the Ukrainian government in order to fund decentralized reform and strengthen local communities. 

DIY Youth Forums

Beginning in 2017, the DOBRE initiative worked with partner Global Communities, an international nonprofit, to sponsor annual DIY (Do It Yourself) youth forums. These forums provided young people with knowledge and experience on how to instigate change by revitalizing community assets. They also taught youth how to foster new opportunities for local development. Vasyl Telep is one student who took part in those youth forums. His first project installed new outdoor sports facilities in his local village to increase the opportunities for physical exercise. He presented and received support for his initiative from the government. Next, with his first success in his pocket, Telep registered his own non-governmental organization (NGO) and raised funds for the purchase of medical equipment for a local laboratory. 

The DOBRE initiative allowed Telep and other youth to transform their ideas into realities. That is because the DOBRE initiative’s overarching mission was to provide international donor assistance to the Ukrainian government so that the government could fund decentralization reforms and aid the development of local communities. 

Youth Festivals Deter Alcohol Consumption

The partners of the USAID DOBRE initiative also assisted local youth councils in organizing festivals for the youth of their community. For instance, the Starosaltivka Youth Council had partnered with the Kharkiv government to organize the “Jeans-Party” festival for more than 150 young people. The festival’s goals included keeping young adults off the streets. Also, the festival discouraged alcohol use. This goal was particularly pertinent because Ukraine has ranked in the top 20 countries for average annual alcohol consumption per person. Further, alcohol consumption in Ukraine has been especially severe among its youth.

The consumption of alcohol among Ukrainian youth has led to many young people losing their academic ambitions. Also, it has led to youth failing to pursue jobs that could contribute to the economic development of their local communities and Ukraine as a whole. On a positive note, Ukraine’s youth unemployment in 2019 was 15.53% which represents a 2.5% decline from the previous year. In fact, the youth unemployment rate declined each year of the DOBRE initiative from 2017 to 2019. One may be able to attribute this decline to the DOBRE initiative and the Ukrainian government’s efforts to engage youth with their communities and to incentivize youth employment.

Prospects Beyond Youth Forums and Festivals

Beyond volunteering in youth forums and festivals, the DOBRE initiative empowers youth leaders by preparing them for longer-term career opportunities with the government. After completing his work with his NGO, Telep was able to join the economic department of Baikovetska and he graduated to larger-impact projects. In 2018, he began working as a member of his local economic development working group to create a real estate database and raise awareness to the community about state subsidies and taxation. These efforts strove to help local entrepreneurs promote their products and services and access new markets. This underlines how the USAID initiative helped the youth unlock new opportunities and enabled them to increase their responsibility in the community if they chose to do so.

The USAID DOBRA initiative empowers youth leaders to change their communities for the better. In addition, USAID’s investment helped the Ukrainian government support various projects to enhance community assets and create meaningful employment.

– Max Sidorovitch
Photo: Flickr

Beirut BlastOn August 4, 2020, a horrific explosion took place in Beirut, Lebanon, killing at least 214 people and injuring thousands of civilians. The Beirut blast “was one of the largest non-nuclear explosions in history” as it tore through the city. Estimations indicate that roughly “552 tonnes of ammonium nitrate exploded” at the port of Beirut. Since the explosion, Lebanon has experienced heightened civil unrest, economic hardship, increasing poverty and political deadlock.

In the face of the tragedy and adversity that continues to plague Lebanon, young people in Beirut are innovatively working to rebuild the Lebanese capital. Cash 4 Work, a program mobilized by UNICEF, is a youth network focused on helping reconnect homes to municipal and private water supplies along with prioritizing the cleaning and rehabilitation of Beirut.

Economic Impacts of the Beirut Blast

Lebanon was facing a severe economic crisis even before the Beirut blast. After the explosion, poverty levels rose further and the Lebanese economy essentially collapsed. According to the World Bank, the country’s GDP has decreased by a staggering 40% with more than 50% of the population pushed into the depths of poverty. Job prospects for youth are increasingly difficult to come by, placing young professionals in a tough position as they attempt to secure their futures amid a failing economy.

Participants of the recent UNICEF Cash 4 Work program are primarily the most vulnerable and impoverished youth who understand first-hand what living in poverty looks and feels like. According to UNICEF, “Cash 4 Work programs create earning opportunities that can temporarily stabilize people’s incomes following a disaster or a crisis.” Participants learn valuable skills, knowledge and training to improve their economic status and their ability to provide for their families. Furthermore, with the tools to positively impact their country, youth participants are able to use their skills to rebuild the nation and lift others out poverty.

The Role of the Youth

Immediately after the explosion, the youth of Beirut were among the first to pick up the pieces and start rebuilding their communities. At the time, UNICEF staff were on the ground working with more than 1,170 youth volunteers to sweep up debris, perform household repairs and deliver food and cloth masks to affected citizens. In an interview with Forbes, a teenager working on the ground said, “We will not lose hope. We are staying here on the ground.”

UNICEF staff “reconnected more than 60 buildings to the public water system” and handed out emergency supplies “including 1,600 hygiene kits and 400 baby kits to families in need.” UNICEF also helped “reunite children with their families” and supported child counseling efforts to address the trauma of the Beirut blast.

Exactly one year after the Beirut blast, youth mobilization continues with the support of UNICEF’s new Cash 4 Work program, which ensures new job opportunities in Lebanon. Cash 4 Work is not only playing an active role in shaping the job market for young professionals but it is also connecting people with the goal of shaping a more positive future for Beirut. A 24-year-old Cash 4 Work participant, Mohammad, describes his experience with the program. He tells UNICEF, “I am happy that I gained a skill and I am still learning. To work on my future and achieve my goals, especially in these difficult times, is something special.”

Programs and initiatives from humanitarian organizations such as UNICEF bring hope to a devastated country, allowing citizens a chance to continue to rebuild and recover more than a year after the Beirut blast.

– Alysha Mohamed
Photo: Flickr

Poverty-related crimeCrime is a significant issue around the world, especially in developing countries where limited resources contribute to higher poverty-related crime rates. In countries such as South Africa, high crime rates are prevalent among children and adolescents. Correlations exist because of increased time and fewer resources to productively fill children’s free time after school. Because of this, many nonprofit organizations and individuals have worked to provide more after-school activities for children as a deterrent from the path to criminal activity. Although many nonprofit-sponsored activities contribute to children’s education while discouraging criminal behavior, sports have been one of the most impactful extracurriculars due to a focus on discipline, responsibility and guidance.

Criminal Behavior in South Africa by the Numbers

Crime in South Africa is a significant issue that is rooted in poverty and inadequate access to basic resources. According to PLOS ONE, an online journal, “recent statistics show 2,250,257 crimes reported for 2015 alone [1]. Further all crimes have increased since 2013, when 2,217,862 crimes were reported [1]. Also the rate of interpersonal violence in South Africa is the sixth highest in Africa and fifteenth in the world, with an intentional homicide rate of 31.8 per 100,000 population [2].”

Based on the criminal activity report, criminal activity in South Africa is increasing from year to year and is largely tied to violent crimes such as homicide. These crimes are oftentimes fueled by a lack of economic resources in addition to psychological factors. Racial and gender inequality also exacerbate issues. Although these crime statistics include offenders of all ages, dangerous behavior and crimes are also significant issues in South African schools.

An organization called Safer Spaces conducted an observational study in which pupils from several South African schools and various grade levels were asked about their school experience. “Of all learners, 15.3% had been victimized (Burton, 2008). Of the secondary school learners, 22% had been victimized (Burton & Leoschut, 2013).” This is a large portion of the student body that is experiencing violence or other dangerous behavior while at school, making early intervention a necessary effort.

Extracurricular Solutions

Although poverty-related crime among youth is a big issue in South Africa as it can lead to more serious crimes in adulthood, extracurricular activities can make a significant impact in decreasing the number of children that engage in criminal behavior. For example, The International Committee of the Red Cross works with AMANDLA Edu Football to use soccer as a safe activity for South African children to spend their time with after school. The latter organization is a nonprofit that is paving the path for early intervention for criminal activity in South Africa. It is located in Capetown and runs during the peak crime hours, offering children and other individuals an alternative activity to crime.

In Capetown, this means that kids can spend their weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. and weekend nights on a soccer field where they learn discipline, respect, and have fun away from dangerous activities. This is especially impactful as it ensures that these children will have adult supervision and guidance between the time school ends and their parents get home from work, further decreasing opportunities for dangerous behaviors.

Poverty-related crime among youth is a serious issue in South Africa that contributes to high levels of violent crime in adulthood, making this a pressing issue to address. Moreover, criminal behavior is commonly linked with poverty, inadequate access to food and other daily necessities and other issues of discrimination. Partnering or contributing to organizations that provide extracurricular alternatives for children is key. These efforts ensure that children are equipped with the resources and guidance that will deter them from criminal behavior in the present and future and will decrease the overall levels of poverty-related crime.

– Kristen Quinonez
Photo: Flickr

Youth homelessness in IrelandIreland has been working to reduce homelessness and improve emergency services for its disadvantaged citizens for years. Current structures and policies help the homeless but leave out the struggling youth. The forgotten young people of Ireland have been ignored by social housing programs and blocked from receiving full welfare payments. To end youth homelessness in Ireland, the government is looking at the gaps in policies that allow young people to slip into poverty.

The Problem

Youth homelessness in Ireland has increased by 90% in the last three years, leaving more than 850 people aged 18-24 without a place to call home. Just five years earlier, only 450 young adults were homeless, exemplifying the growing issue in Ireland. The Department of Housing Planning, Community and Local Government (DHPCLG) provides these statistics, but the data is incomplete.

In addition to these figures, there is also a prevalence of the “hidden homeless” among Irish youth. The hidden homeless include those couch surfing, squatting or residing anywhere that is not sustainable. Because these young homeless people are not utilizing state services or shelters, they are excluded from data on youth homelessness in Ireland.

In 2016, the number of young people still living at home with their parents increased by 19%, reflecting the rise in rent and lack of affordable housing available. However, children that come from broken, abusive or absent families have no one to care for them once they reach 18.

The Tusla Child and Family Agency cares for homeless or impoverished minors. However, just like parents, they have no legal responsibility to take care of the children after the age of 18. These policies neglect to account for transition periods, leaving young people alone the moment they reach legal adulthood.

The Cause of Youth Homelessness in Ireland

Currently, Ireland’s approach to its homeless situation is mostly emergency, reactive services. To reduce youth homelessness in Ireland, the focus must pivot to prevention and intervention for at-risk young people. The factors that force young people into homelessness often begin in their childhoods. They experience poverty, traumatic life events, family conflict and general instability from a young age and are not given the tools to transition successfully into adulthood.

Young people are at the bottom of the list to get accommodations in social housing. After being bounced around between social housing, emergency shelters and other temporary government accommodations, young people often give up on the system because they become tired of the repeated placement circuit. Landlords often reject young people due to a lack of finances and references or simply because they find young tenants undesirable. This age discrimination is one of the main causes of youth homelessness in Ireland.

The Consequences for Homeless Youth

Citizens younger than the age of 26 are not eligible for full welfare payments and can only receive reduced payments, if they receive anything. Stifling the financial welfare of people from such young age rather than offering support leads to long-term poverty and increased homelessness in the community. Two-thirds of young homeless people in Ireland reside in Dublin. Here, many living spaces are used as Airbnbs. As more short-term rentals pop up and crowd the city with tourists, more young citizens are forced to sleep on the streets.

A six-year study into youth homelessness in Ireland focused on 40 young people between the ages of 14 and 22. The majority of these participants came from situations where they experienced trauma and severe poverty, leading them to drop out of school early. More than half of the participants in the study reported they had tried heroin and have a criminal record, showing the severe consequences when disadvantaged young adults have no support system. Most of them had experienced homelessness by the age of 15, illustrating the need for early intervention in these tumultuous situations.

The Coalition to End Youth Homelessness

The Coalition to End Youth Homelessness in Ireland is comprised of 16 organizations and charities dedicated to getting young people off the streets. This issue has been forgotten for many years. Still, all of these organizations are stepping up to end the neglect of the country’s young and bring awareness to the issue.

The Coalition to End Youth Homelessness recommends the Irish Government invest in mediation, counseling and mentoring services for minors that live in instability. Through intervening in difficult family situations early, the government can provide tools to children to facilitate a smooth transition from a rocky childhood to successful adulthood.

Housing First for Youth

Housing First for Youth offers safe housing for young adults ages 18-24 and ongoing aftercare. The organization also supports the full transition into adult life. Without an aftercare plan and a sense of support, the odds of a young individual falling back into homelessness are high. Housing First for Youth facilitates positive, supportive relationships between the young homeless and their caseworkers, ensuring youth feel less alone in the world.

To help young people exit homelessness and live independently, they need safe housing and continued support. There are currently no social housing programs specifically for young individuals. There are risks when young people reside in accommodations inhabited by adults including intimidation, exploitation and exposure to criminal behaviors.

Efforts From Other Organizations

Other organizations in Ireland have recognized the prevalence of youth homelessness and made efforts to provide safe spaces and support for disadvantaged young people. Good Shepard Cork caters to homeless individuals ages 15-19, specifically focusing on women and children that are susceptible to fall back into homelessness. Continued support is essential to ending youth homelessness in Ireland and lifting these young people out of poverty permanently.

The six-year study published by the Health Research Board illustrates the effects of an impoverished childhood. By conducting research such as this long-term study, officials can pinpoint the early causes that lead to a life of poverty and find ways to intervene. Ensuring that struggling youth remain in school and receive ongoing support can help to reduce youth homelessness in Ireland.

Prioritizing Homeless Youth

Investing in community and school-based prevention methods has helped reduce youth homelessness by 40% in Australia and Canada. To reduce youth homelessness in Ireland, the government must follow their lead and pivot toward prevention rather than emergency services. By prioritizing the homeless youth in government policies and services, the state can prevent long-term homelessness and reduce overall poverty rates in the country.

Veronica Booth
Photo: Unsplash

Mastercard Foundation in KenyaAccording to the Business Daily, close to 40% of Kenyan youth were unemployed in 2020. Specifically, unemployment most greatly impacts the age groups of 15-19 and 20-24 in comparison to the rest of the population. Apart from a rapidly growing population, a significant contributing factor to Kenyan youth unemployment is low educational achievement. Only 1% of Kenyan youth have, at most, an undergraduate qualification. The Mastercard Foundation in Kenya is working to change this.

Jobs in Kenya

While Kenya’s economy is growing, most job opportunities are found in the informal sector. About 15 million Kenyans, most being youth, are employed in the informal sector. Turning to informal employment comes as a result of young people lacking formal qualifications. With higher education, young Kenyans can secure higher-paying jobs in skilled markets, enabling them to break cycles of poverty.

The MasterCard Foundation in Kenya

The Mastercard Foundation believes that everyone “deserves an opportunity to learn and prosper” regardless of economic circumstances. By collaborating with the “private sector, donors, young people and civil society,” the Mastercard Foundation creates an environment where the youth can secure employment and entrepreneurs can thrive.

The International Monetary Fund states that the increasing population in Africa “means that by 2035, there will be more young Africans entering the workforce each year than in the rest of the world combined.” However, a shortage of job opportunities and the lack of a skilled workforce present barriers to success. The Mastercard Foundation addresses this “skills mismatch” through various youth empowerment programs.

Young Africa Works

Young Africa Works in Kenya is a Mastercard Foundation initiative that aims to secure “dignified and fulfilling work ” for five million Kenyan youth by 2030. The initiative recognizes that “in the next five years, there will be an estimated six million un- and underemployed Kenyans,” mostly impacting Kenyan youth. The program strategy aims to “break down barriers faced by young men and women when accessing work, skills development or starting their own businesses.”

The initiative aims to accomplish this by harnessing technology and partnering with several organizations, banks and companies, focusing on the sectors of “agriculture, manufacturing, housing and healthcare.” Young Africa Works also focuses on “education and vocational training,” linking employers and job seekers through technology and the growth of entrepreneurs and small businesses through financial inclusion.

Youth Entrepreneurial Support During COVID-19

According to the World Bank, the Kenyan economy can recover from the pandemic in 2021. However, for the youth in the informal sector who do not have access to welfare services and employment benefits, economic recovery may appear to be out of reach. The informal sector in Kenya has been brought to a stall due to job losses. Furthermore, COVID-19 fears lead to heightened vigilance, and as a result, people buy less from street vendors, who are usually young.

In September 2020, Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) and the Mastercard Foundation partnered to create the COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Program. The initiative aims to aid the recovery of small, youth and women-led businesses impacted by COVID-19. The initiatives will see “25,000 Micro, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (MSMEs) in Kenya benefit from an interest-free, zero-fee short-term concessional loan.” For businesses in the informal sector especially, the aid is a lifeline during the pandemic.

The Mastercard Foundation in Kenya is an example of how the private sector can help fight global poverty by engaging with the needs of the youth in developing countries. While a lot of work remains to aid the economic challenges faced by young people, the Mastercard Foundation in Kenya leads the way.

– Frank Odhiambo
Photo: Wikimedia

The ActivistToday’s youth continue to make headlines by showing their passion for global activism. The increase in mass action against global injustices amplifies awareness of some of the world’s most pressing matters. The top five areas of concern for Gen Z youth are mental health, disease and famine, environmental issues, unemployment and education. According to a survey done in 2020, 20% of Gen Z youth often “donate or volunteer time to a cause.” The increased interest in global activism has captured the attention of major television networks, including CBS. The network plans to bring activism to primetime in fall 2021 with its new competition series, “The Activist.”

The Premise

The new show will center around six enthusiastic activists who will be split into three teams. A high-profile public figure will lead each team. The teams will compete to improve one of three critical global issues: education, health or the environment. The teams will receive judgment on how well they successfully campaign for their causes. The objective of each team is to establish influential movements that will publicize their message, spur action and propel the teams to the G20 Summit in Rome, Italy. From there, the activists must gain funding and support from world leaders. During the season finale, the team with the most support will be crowned the winner. Some of the world’s most noteworthy musicians will also perform at the finale. The series is produced by Global Citizen, a “movement of engaged citizens who are using their collective voice to end extreme poverty by 2030.”

Relevance to Global Poverty

One of the issues participants in “The Activist” seek to address is education. In 2016, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) reported that roughly one out of five children do not attend school worldwide. The “upper-secondary out-of-school rate” is highest in low-income countries at almost 60%.

The show will also tackle public health issues. Governments in low-income countries spend an average of $23 per person per year on health. This is extremely low when compared to the staggering rate of $3,860 per person spent by the U.S. government. Furthermore, child mortality rates in low-income nations are more than 10 times higher than in wealthy nations.

Lastly, “The Activist” plans to emphasize environmental issues. The World Health Organization (WHO) predicts that climate change will cause more than 250,000 deaths by 2030 due to heat stress, malaria and malnutrition. Climate change is especially troubling for low-income countries because of their susceptible geographical locations and their weakened ability to survive damage caused by extreme weather and elevating sea levels.

Inspiring Action

“The Activist” will be a platform to educate viewers on these imperative global issues and motivate the global population to support laws and policies beneficial to improving conditions in developing countries. By showcasing the hard work and commitment of Gen Z activists, others will hopefully be inspired to take action themselves. In all global issues, the commitment and activism of the youth will certainly have a marked impact.

Tiara Tyson
Photo: Flickr

Youth Apprenticeships in Nigeria The African nation of Nigeria is prioritizing its growth and development. In a tough economic climate of high unemployment and poverty, the youth of Nigeria are motivated to prepare for the future. While classroom learning is undoubtedly important, students are also pursuing a different type of education, oftentimes on top of their schoolwork. Informal Nigerian apprenticeships provide children with personalized vocational training from the master craftsmen of their communities. The benefits of youth apprenticeships in Nigeria are particularly advantageous for children who face a lack of education and extreme poverty. Youth apprenticeships in Nigeria provide useful skills that increase children’s future employability and help them get a head start on their careers. Up to 49% of children are involved in apprenticeships in some areas of Nigeria.

History of Apprenticeships

The master-apprentice relationship has been around for hundreds of years and its implementation can be seen all over the globe. The Igbo apprenticeship system became the prominent model for the Igbo ethnic group, who reside in Southeastern Nigeria. Once young learners prove their knowledge and ability, learners receive more responsibility in their given occupation until they eventually take over the enterprise from their mentor. Now, this same model has spread to different parts of the country and is an ingrained part of the culture. The modern version of this system is different from before because it is not a strictly patrilineal arrangement. Today, apprentices do not have to be male or of relation to the master craftsman as in earlier times.

Benefits of Youth Apprenticeships in Nigeria

Nigerian apprenticeships are mindful of students’ school commitments. The apprenticeship system does not discourage academics but rather works in harmony with it. Hours are flexible and tend to be after school and on the weekends. In addition, many young people find that having a commitment apart from school keeps them busy and out of trouble. A typical age range for these child apprentices is between 10 and 15. In order to avoid malpractice or exploitation, the Nigerian Child Rights Act serves as protection, “but does not rule out children working altogether.” This specification is in place because working can be very advantageous to Nigerian children and restricting work could actually add to their economic difficulties and prevent their career development and economic progression.

Specialty trades for apprenticeships include farming, weaving, pottery, carving, bricklaying, mechanics, hairdressing and operating market stands. For children who are unable to complete their formal school education, being a skilled tradesman or artisan provides a steady alternative career track. Apprenticeships are generally unpaid, but some do provide small cash payments for children to afford basic necessities such as food and clothing. Even little contributions are extremely beneficial for the well-being of Nigerian families in poverty.

Reducing Rates of Poverty

Nigerian apprenticeships can help to ease pre-existing pressures that stem from high unemployment rates and increasing rates of poverty. On top of the potential money generated from apprenticing, the pupil may have the opportunity to take over the mentor’s position in the future with the knowledge of the inner workings of the operation.

Apprenticeships allow more people to have access to financial freedom and present an antidote to global poverty. Overall, Nigerian youth apprenticeships are bringing positive benefits to the country. The likelihood of youth falling further into poverty sees a drastic reduction and personal development becomes a reality.

– Lucy Gentry
Photo: Flickr

Job Shortage in IraqGetting a college degree in Iraq doesn’t mean that you have a guaranteed job in your field after graduating, let alone a job in any field. The job shortage in Iraq has led to an increase in poverty and has destroyed the dreams of many graduates. This job shortage is an ongoing conflict that impacts the goals of the young generations in Iraq. According to the World Bank, 22% of men and almost 64% of women between 15-24 years are unemployed in Iraq.

Iraq’s Economy

With billions going yearly to its public service, the nation is in an economic vise. It has been estimated that public employees get about 17 minutes of work done every day. Currently, Iraq is the seventh-largest country producing oil, but oil revenue has been decreasing. The nation spends little of the income it generates on potential economic development of the implementation of projects. Iraq is unable to pay its bills due to a lack of funds. This led to a financial meltdown, which resulted in the fall of the government after widespread movements against corruption and unemployment. The marches were centered against high state officials in a community where unemployment hovers about 15% and one in every four people lives in poverty, earning as little as $2.20 per day.

Youth Unemployment

Approximately 700,000 young Iraqis join the employment market every year. A primer published for the World Bank on job development in Iraq listed the youth unemployment rate at 36%. There is no noticeable difference in the rate of unemployment between young people with primary education and those with higher degrees. Because of this, Iraqi youth have been at the frontline of occupation riots in Iraq. Similar to Iran, the country’s poor budget management and corruption have been central to their outrage.

Iraq’s prosperity is largely dependent on its ability to build employment for the young population. This is particularly true of university-educated young people. A study by the World Bank estimates that Iraq needs to increase the number of jobs by 100 to 180% to address its workforce needs sufficiently.

Decent Work Country Programmes (DWCPs)

The International Labor Organization (ILO), together with the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs of Iraq (MOLSA), is implementing DWCPs in Iraq. DWCPs are systems for financial guidance that focus on creating jobs through the growth of the private sector. They also assist with the expansion of social security coverage, freedom of association and National Employment Policy design and implementation. In March 2020, in response to a request by MOLSA, the ILO formed the first cooperation department for Iraqi counties in the city of Baghdad. With a budget of $17.5 million, the program is implementing five projects to encourage quality work and increase job opportunities. These projects will help Iraq’s government, employees and employers.

Overall, there are high hopes for the country’s future. The youth are not going to stop demanding change until they get it. With big changes the government is hoping to make in the next decade, there could be a possible decrease in the rate of unemployment.

– Rand Lateef
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