It has been referred to as a global crisis. The International Labor Organization is calling it "A Generation at Risk," and there has been talk about a second "Lost Generation." (An expression made popular by Ernest Hemingway about the first young people growing up following the World War I).
- In 2012 75 million of the world's youth were unemployed, which is the highest youth unemployment rate on record.
- In 2013 it is estimated that the number will stay at this alarmingly high level, with 73 million youth unemployed.
- With these numbers it means that youth currently make up 40 percent of the worlds unemployed.
- And as a young person your risk of being unemployed is three times higher than that of an adult.
And it is not only affecting the young people themselves -- but also the society and community they live in. As the population grows younger and more young people are unemployed, the burden on the tax payers of the country and community they are living in also increases. But, the core of the matter is that young people are now standing at risk from being left out of the job market. And with this being left with feelings of inadequacy, stress and alienation.
However, governments and experts alone cannot solve the problem of youth unemployment. We also need to include the persons who are facing the problem themselves -- youth. Not only can they be a part of the solution, they will also likely come up with new and innovative ideas to solve the problem.
There is a need for widespread policy changes and global initiatives to tackle this problem. And the Child and Youth Finance Movement is trying to be a part of this and contribute to a long-term and positive solution. Through the extensive global network that make of the Child and Youth Finance Movement we want to promote solutions to the high youth unemployment rate and create new ways for youth to get employed -- via entrepreneurship. We want to start sparking youth entrepreneurial spirits and empower them to be confident young adults that believe in their own abilities and are able to utilize these to create their own job opportunities.
The World Bank Group Youth Entrepreneurship Summit
In connection to this initiative CYFI was proud take part in the World Bank Group's (WBG) first Youth Summit on October 23rd in Washington DC. The theme for the event was "Youth Entrepreneurship: Cultivating an Innovative Spirit to Alleviate Global Youth Unemployment." The summit featured notable panelists of the development community, and provided a forum for young people from around the globe to share innovative ideas and solutions to current development challenges to create opportunities for youth employment and job creation.
In order to help youth become a part of their own solution we need to empower and inspire them to believe in themselves, even though times are difficult, and see the opportunities of the situation they are in. One way is through entrepreneurship. Coming up with new innovative solutions to the problems they are facing, and generate their own business opportunities and work opportunities, can potentially be a great way for youth to be a part of creating employment.
During the World Bank Group Summit the need for education and empowerment of youth to get the basic skills to manage their own business as well as believe in themselves and their skills could not be over emphasized. We also strongly believe in the connection between education and inclusion and the need for empowerment and confidence to fuel both into successful outcomes for youth.
The youth involvement of this Summit is also one of the core pillars of the movement. We always want to keep the young people we are here to help involved. We want to hear what they have to say and what their opinion and thoughts are on solutions to the problems they are facing.
Listening to the Voice of Youth
Another part of the youth involvement in the Movement is the CYFI Global Youth Survey, where we ask youth all over the world for their opinions on three topics: my education, my money and my future. The survey is based on the financial issues raised by the children and youth who attended our Youth Summit in May in Istanbul.
The survey results are still in the process of being completed, and so far the results of the Africa region have been done. Despite alarmingly high rates of unemployment, 66.7 percent of the African youth taking part in the survey expressed interest in having their own business. This high percentage alone represents the potential and desire children and youth have to improve their futures by creating their own work opportunities.
The Child and Youth Finance Movement is ready to support this desire and make youth a part of their own solution through increasing the financial education, financial access, employability and entrepreneurship skills of children and youth. After all, they are tomorrow's leaders, entrepreneurs and economic actors.
Right now CYFI is participating in the Skoll Social Entrepreneur Fundraising Challenge, and we need your support to advance in the challenge. Every contribution matters!