For me, getting the numbers right—particularly when they are measuring young people’s wellbeing—is critically important to how we shape meaningful youth development programs and strategies. Unfortunately, statistics around youth employment, perhaps the most significant indicator of whether a young person will lead a productive and successful life, may not paint an accurate or complete picture.
What always amazes me when I’m there is the remarkable resilience and stubborn sense of hope that so many young Palestinians share.
Even 25 years ago young people in Sub-Saharan Africa had started turning their backs on their parents’ traditional agriculture-based work and lives for what they saw as more exciting and lucrative opportunities in the big city.
I am talking human resources with Deddy Dermawanto in the young business owner’s office in Bekasi, a densely populated suburb of Jakarta. In here, away from the city’s noise and traffic, the walls are covered in certificates; a few awards stand on a shelf in the corner. Deddy, a successful past participant in IYF’s Young Entrepreneurs Start-Up (YES) initiative, points out a few.
Our collective efforts have yet to open fully the doors of opportunity to millions of young women who every day seek the dignity and independence that comes only with a decent and stable job.
One approach to Africa’s youth unemployment crisis is engaging more young people in the agricultural sector. After all, Africa holds half of the world’s uncultivated arable land, with agriculture set to create stable employment for eight million people by 2020. Greater investments in the agriculture value chain could potentially add an additional six million jobs.
When she was a young girl, Pratibha Shrivastav and her family moved to Delhi from their home in rural India. Living in the city gave her the opportunity to become the first member of her family to graduate from secondary school, but it took a toll on the family's source of income, her father's leather crafting business.
Young people are at the heart of IYF initiatives, a point made powerfully clear during a recent visit to Zimbabwe by IYF President and CEO Bill Reese. It was my first time meeting Bill, who, despite a packed itinerary, placed a priority on meeting and interacting with youth who have benefited from IYF’s work here.
With support from Young Entrepreneurs—an initiative of IYF and The MasterCard Center for Inclusive Growth—Pratibha, 23, succeeded in reviving her family's struggling business.
Manal Abu Ali graduated from the Arab American University of Jenin with a major in Management Information Systems; yet like thousands of her peers, she realized that her years of study offered no guarantee of a job. Roughly 44 percent of young Palestinians are unemployed, half of whom hold university degrees.