Youth Development in the PhilippinesThe Philippines has an opportunity for rapid economic growth and the potential to greatly innovate industry across the country. This opportunity comes from the number of young people in the country. Young people account for 50% of the entire population of the nation, leaving it with immense potential for economic growth as these young people begin to enter the workforce. Youth development in the Philippines is crucial for the country’s transformation into a resilient nation.

The Education Problem

Unfortunately for the Philippines, an alarming portion of these young people are currently not in any form of education or employment. One-fifth of all youth in the Philippines are either jobless or not attending school or employment training.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Philippines was facing an education crisis. The country placed last in reading comprehension and second to last in both science and mathematics in an international student assessment.

USAID: Youth Development in the Philippines

USAID has committed to help improve and promote public education and other forms of education in the Philippines. Starting in 2018, USAID began a five-year effort to create a series of programs aimed at uplifting economically disenfranchised Filipino youth who are at the most risk of poverty.

One program, in particular, YouthWorks PH is a five-year partnership between USAID and the Philippine Business for Education that engages the private sector to address the education needs of youth as well as the skill requirements of employers. This partnership will improve access to training and employment opportunities for at least 40,000 youth through an innovative work-based training approach. Young people are able to earn a competency certificate from a university or training institute while working in partner companies.

More than 5,000 young Filipinos will have access to free technical and vocational training as a result of this initiative partnering with Aboitiz Construction and D.M. Consunji, Inc. (DMCI), two of the biggest construction companies in the country.

This type of on-site vocational training will help prepare youth for well-paid employment opportunities and will create more skilled workers in the Philippines.

There are also other programs created by USAID specifically to increase the quality and accessibility of education in the Philippines. All Children Reading (ACR), is a program to increase the reading skills of Filipino children. ABC+ aims to address the interconnected factors that contribute to low education outcomes in the poorest performing areas of the Philippines.

Youth Development Potential

Young Filipino people could potentially bring about massive economic growth in the country. In order to fully capitalize on this opportunity, resources and development opportunities must be provided to the youth so that they can fully integrate into the workforce as skilled workers. For this reason, the youth development work of USAID is integral. Not only will it lift thousands of poor Filipino youth out of poverty but it will help create a stronger economy for the Philippines.

– Christopher McLean
Photo: Flickr

 Refugees in Iran
There are more refugees and displaced people now than ever before in history. An estimated 65.3 million people are displaced, with 21.3 million of those being refugees. Here are 10 facts about refugees in Iran.

  1. As of October 2016, the Islamic Republic of Iran was the fifth top refugee-hosting country in the world. The number of refugees in Iran come in after Jordan, Turkey, Pakistan and Lebanon.
  2. Iran only has a small number of refugees that flee to find resettlement elsewhere. Iran has taken on a significant role in the refugee crisis, taking in around 979,400 refugees, most of which have fled from Afghanistan and Iraq.
  3. At the end of 2015, Iran constructed and renovated three schools for the benefit of refugee and host communities. In 2016, UNHCR supported Iran in building four more additional schools and providing literacy classes for approximately 3,000 refugees, both children and adults.
  4. The Supreme Leader of Iran declared, in 2015, that every child in Iran is required to attend school, no matter their documentation status. This allowed around 48,000 undocumented Afghans to enroll in the education system. Over 350,000 Afghan and Iraqi students enrolled for the 2015–2016 school year and that number is only expected to grow.
  5. UNHCR has worked together with Iran’s Ministry of Health to provide Primary Health Care (PHC) to all refugees. PHC includes vaccines, family planning, and care specifically for mothers and children. There were 83,000 refugees enrolled in Iran’s national health insurance program in 2015.
  6. The Iranian government and UNHCR are working together to provide prevention and rehabilitation to those who have been victims of violence. Assistance is given to sexual and gender-based violence victims as well as those victims to substance abuse.
  7. Around 6,000 refugees were set to receive legal assistance from the Iranian government in 2016. UNHCR also invests in infrastructure in areas of Iran that have the largest refugee populations.
  8. Iran’s government has recently shifted its view on formal skills training for refugees. Skills learned in this training will assist in providing the refugees with self-reliance tools. This will not only be valuable for them during their time in Iran, but also if they choose to return to their home country. Around 3,500 refugees were to be enrolled in formal skills training in 2016.
  9. There were 157 health centers and 24 educational facilities planned to be constructed, rehabilitated, or adequately equipped in Iran in 2016.
  10. Iran and nine other developing countries host more of the world’s refugees than any of the world’s wealthiest nations. These 10 countries account for only 2.5% of the world’s economy. Amnesty International said that the wealthiest nations do the least in providing host communities and resources.

Over 20 million refugees, including refugees in Iran, are under the age of 18. Every day, nearly 34,000 people are forced to flee their home countries worldwide. Some organizations that assist Iran and other developing countries in their support of refugees are UNHCR, Amnesty International, and World Relief — among many others.

Shannon Elder

Photo: Flickr

Development in Pakistan
Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain and Governor Iqbal Zafar Jhagra announced at the National Skills Show that the Government of Pakistan would push a new emphasis on skills training for their youth. Through this initiative, they hope to boost future development in Pakistan.

Governor Jhagra asked industrialists to start training youth in vocational and technical skills, establishing institutes that will offer these programs. He noted that reducing unemployment and poverty rates greatly helps youth to succeed.

The National Skills Show, organized by the National Vocational and Technical Training Commission (NAVTCC), takes place in the U.K. annually. It features five sectors: engineering and technology, media and creative, IT and enterprise, hospitality and lifestyle as well as construction and infrastructure. The best and the brightest students of the U.K. come together to compete and demonstrate their skills in one of these sectors.

Governor Jhagra stressed that Pakistan has an agricultural economy, highlighting the importance of focusing on skills training within the industry. In addition, technical education is extremely important for keeping the unemployment rates low.

As of 2015, Pakistan holds an unemployment rate of 5.9 percent, a slight decrease from six percent the previous year. But in 2013, the World Bank noted that 29.5 percent of the nearly 190 million people living in Pakistan resided below the poverty line.

Executive Director of NAVTTC, Zulfiqar Ahmad Cheema, noted that 50,000 youth in Pakistan will take part in skills training in multiple trades. The courses that they engage in will be free of charge, and they will receive a stipend as trainees.

Governor Jhagra is determined to fully utilize the capabilities of the talented Pakistani youth population. He stated, “Our human capital is our biggest asset.” Currently, young citizens make up 60 percent of the population.

Ambassadors from Germany, the Netherlands and the European Union joined the show and congratulated the winners. They agreed with Pakistani officials in recognizing how skills training can boost the economy and decrease poverty.

This effort will provide a large majority of the Pakistani youth with employable skills, granting them financial independence, reducing the poverty rate throughout the country and helping meet the needs of local and international job markets—ultimately, improving development in Pakistan.

Kimber Kraus

Photo: Flickr

The ultimate goal of charitable aid for the poor should be to help recipients become self-reliant. Teaching self-reliance worldwide means that individuals will no longer need to depend on outside sources to live without the immediate threat of disease and starvation. Achieving self-reliance leads to stability and sustainability.

Many programs try to accomplish this vision by teaching families valuable skills such as efficient farming techniques and literacy. Evidence has shown that these methods are less costly and have a more permanent influence on the communities where they are implemented.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints teaches self-reliance worldwide.  It attempts to help struggling families achieve this goal by teaching them effective ways to seek employment, manage their time and money, start small businesses and develop leadership qualities.

Volunteers travel to countries in Latin America, Africa, Asia, and Europe to teach free classes and help their students achieve personal goals. These volunteers range from college students to elderly couples, each of them donating up to two years of their lives to support these struggling communities.

The success stories of this program are as diverse as its students. One participant from Ghana, Irene, is a single mother of four children. She uses an old hand cranked sewing machine as her primary source of income. Carrying the sewing machine on her head, Irene goes from house to house and offers to sew traditional Ghanian dresses.

Irene says the classes help her learn how to network and communicate with customers. It has also helped her learn new business strategies, such as going to a busier public place to advertise her services. Most importantly, the classes have taught her how to manage her money and set aside amounts for future growth.

Although she has not even finished the program, Irene has said that her income has already grown noticeably. The economic benefits of teaching self-reliance worldwide could be staggering.

Another student, Susy, uses a small van to transport neighborhood children to and from school. Her business is still small, but LDS’ Self-Reliance has opened her eyes to many aspects of business management, such as record keeping and improving capital. Susy now has plans to work toward buying a larger van to transport more children. She also hopes to expand her business to include day care services.

The employment techniques offered in the Self Reliance classes have also proved incredibly useful. One student, Rafael, had been unemployed for seven months before setting foot in the Self Reliance Center. Volunteers taught him the importance of accruing multiple sources of information, making as many contacts as possible and setting up interviews.

Within six days, Rafael had found a job. “It was a miracle,” he says in an interview produced by the Self Reliance program. “My wife is very happy… I can now provide for our home and our children.”

Emiliano Perez

Photo: Wikipedia