It is common knowledge that the world’s population is growing. Less so, but still well known is the fact that the majority of this growth takes place in developing countries. This fact can either increase or reduce global poverty, depending upon what actions are made in response.

Looking at the Stats

In a recent article on USAID’s blog entitled, “How to End Extreme Poverty in 3 Easy Steps,” they stated that, “The bulge in young populations seen in places like Africa offers an opportunity to bolster the economic growth of the continent and, in turn, lift more people out of poverty.”

When looking at youth statistics though, it is hard to find much that is positive. The UN’s statistics on youth in 2011 showed that unemployment rates for young people are significantly higher than adults in every region of the world.

Then, in 2012 stated, “Nearly 75 million youth are unemployed around the world, an increase of more than 4 million since 2007. By 2016, the youth unemployment rate is projected to remain at the same high level.” And remain at the same high levels it has.

That leaves around 75 million individuals that could be fighting poverty as an untapped resource.

If change is to happen, the youth need to be reached in order to reduce poverty.

According to the Global Partnership for Education organization, “If all students in low-income countries left school with basic reading skills, 171 million people could be lifted out of poverty.”

How can youth reduce poverty by this much though? And why is education so vital to success?

6 Ways Education Combats Poverty

  1. Provides knowledge and skills to provide for themselves and children
  2. Better work opportunities
  3. Creates better chances for economic growth
  4. Encourages transparency in government and fights corruption
  5. Reduces child marriages and early births
  6. Reduces spread of diseases

These are only six of the many ways that education combats and reduces poverty. By focusing on youth education programs, global poverty would be dramatically changed.

Obstacles Despite Aid

Many governments, programs and organizations such as USAID and the Global Partnership for Education are currently making improvements in this area, but much more remains to be changed.

USAID alone has trained almost 4,000 teachers and enrolled 336,000 more children in school over the last five years.

Even with this kind of success though, there are many barriers that keep the youth from educational opportunities.

These issues range from gender inequality, political unrest/war, lack of resources, disabilities, climate change and more.

The youth of the world are the hope for a better future. By investing in them, hope for poverty reduction increases. Effective, quality education is the key that brings it all together.

The USAID article on ending extreme poverty stated, “To be free of poverty is to have access to the basics in life — enough nutritious meals a day, good health and well-being, training to build skills and knowledge, and freedom and independence in a peaceful environment.”

With the youth being targeted as a resource, reducing, and possibly even ending, extreme global poverty is a goal that is within reach.

Katherine Martin

Sources: Medium, UNESCO 1, Global Partnership, UNESCO 2
Photo: Pixabay