Youth Development

Photo Credit: BJC

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. They often have little to no opportunity for education, few possibilities to improve their living conditions, and face poverty or multiple forms of discrimination. At the same time, as we consider innovations and global historical events inspired by youth, we recognize the energy, vision, and potential for transformative change that young people 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 for, 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 illiterate. In addition to this challenge, 56.3% of young men compared to only 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 impacts on their 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 there is a need to discuss how development actors can engage with youth and translate their priority areas into development programming and policies. The IYF will 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. Through our vision, we will take a 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.