BlessWorld Foundation International

Affecting the World Through Health
A Global Health Initiative

Youth Empowerment, Education and Employment: The Key To Future Development



Youths are the most populous group of individuals in the world today; even more so when considering the fluid and often broad definition of the word, youths. Consequently, this group possesses the power to shape the future of every society where they exist as well as the world at large. The UN projects that the economic growth following youth empowerment, education and employment will be unprecedented as seen in some Asian countries.
To experience the dividends and benefits of youths through empowerment, education and employment, countries must invest in empowering programs, affordable education and employment opportunities to the advantage of their young people. According to the UN, there are approximately 1.8 billion young people in the world today, representing a bewildering amount of human potential. Unfortunately, too many of them are trapped in poverty, with limited opportunities to go to school, work or learn a skill to earn a decent living. It is deeply disheartening that the group with the highest potential, given their age, strength, brains, population and willingness is often presented with the least opportunities for personal growth and development. A fact to buttress this point is that over 74 million young people worldwide cannot find work.
Given the many benefits of investing in youths, every country needs to make it a national priority.

Youth empowerment is defined as the outcome by which youths- seen as change agents, acquire the skills to impact their own lives, the lives of other individuals as well as their communities or environment. An example of a youth empowerment program is the YES program which uses a three-pronged approach that effectively engages youth in work that challenges them to develop skills, gain critical awareness, and participate in opportunities that enable them to create change. In the context of YES, skill development is the process of strengthening youths so that they know how to effectively make decisions, positively interact with their peers, and act as community advocates or change agents. Critical awareness involves providing resources such as training and information that equip youths to better analyze issues that affect their lives and communities as well as strategize on ways to change them to their advantage. Opportunity means availing youth with platforms for engagement, decision-making and encouraging their active participation in creating community change

Youths desire and deserve better options and opportunities in life. To express this, many of them take risks by migrating, engaging in illegal businesses, sex trade or robbery in order to afford a decent life. The means by which youths are engaged today determines the prospects for future sustainable development. Taking advantage of the potential of youths as change agents requires involving and empowering them in development, education, employment, policies as well as supporting their participation at all levels. If youths in developing countries such as Nigeria are given the opportunity to realize their full potential, there would be significant economic gains. The more young people grow into well-educated adults, the more they are able to accelerate economic growth and development. It is estimated the African continent in general would add up to about $500 billion per year to its economy for as many as 30 years, if youths are given their rightful place.

Comments are closed.