Today, 87% of young women and men living in developing countries face challenges brought about by limited access to resources, healthcare, education, training, employment and economic opportunities.1They often have little to no opportunity for education, few possibilities to improve their living conditions, face poverty or multiple forms of discrimination. At the same time, as we consider innovations and global historic events inspired by youth, we recognize the energy, vision and potential for transformative change that youth bring to the table.
Being part of the largest generation of young people in the history of humanity that in some countries represents up to 80% of its inhabitants has not been accompanied by adequate involvement of, support to and investment in this very diverse population. Globally, in 2010, 74 million women, between the ages of 15 and 24, and 48 million men were illiterate2. Also, 56.3% of young men compared to 40.8% of young women participated in the labour force this is compounded by the fact that women are more likely to be engaged in vulnerable employment which impact access to a steady income and services.
Globally, there is a realization that the involvement of youth is key to achieving growth and development, and therefore there is a need to discuss how development actors can engage with youth and translate priority areas into development programming and policies. We shall address some of the persistent challenges and positive experiences and lessons that can be learned from countries that have empowered and engaged youth in finding sustainable development solutions, In our vision we will take capacity development approach so that youth are equipped with the technical skills and leadership qualities to respond effectively to the development challenges in their communities.