Give Us Something to Work For


So far in these blog posts I’ve talked about how sports and education can be used as tools to empower youth and help break down violent and nonviolent conflict from building up. The next topic I want to talk about is employment and youth involvement. For those who don’t have an education its hard to find high paying jobs, especially for those in developing countries who drop out at a young age to join the labor market and find that their prospects in moving up are immensely small. Instead just as talked about in my last post they are more much more likely to be recruited into gangs.

Researchers have begun to study the interaction between youth engagement and positive development. The engagement that we are referring to is defined as “meaningful participation and sustained involvement of a young person in and activity, with a focus outside of him of herself.” According to youth development theory, young people need to be surrounded by adult support. This means instead of being looked down upon for their age and inexperience, they instead need to be mentored and supported, valued for their worth because ultimately they will one day be the ones in charge. Those who are brought up in resilient communities are more likely to adapt and overcome adversities and challenge as well as formulate and develop better relationships.  This stems from the second theory which is the theory of attachment. Empowered youth who are allowed to participate in their communities are much more likely to become engaged in community activities and develop skills required to be effective leaders in life. They are more likely to show better problem-solving and decision-making skills when compared to youth who are not engaged. When youth are able to engage in their community it becomes a place where they feel safe. One of the most important things to take away is that youth who are being empowered and engaged in a community are less likely to to use drugs and alcohol, less likely to drop out of school, and less likely to be involved in criminal behavior. Nothing benefits a community more then incorporating young adults into it! (Texas State)

A report released by the Global Partnership for Children & Youth in Peacebuilding last Spring presented research that reveled just how important the role that children can play in peacebuilding. This report found that the involvement of youth in peacebuilding increases peaceful cohabitation, reduces discrimination and violence, and increases support to vulnerable groups. So what does it take to do this?  3 easy steps. First, engage children as peace builders from a young age. Empower them and show that they are worth something and can do anything they put their minds to. Secondly, encourage multi-pronged and multi-stakeholder efforts to support children as peace builders. Lastly, we need to engage children and youth as partners, we can’t look at them as just children to be encouraged and mentored, we have to actually get them working at the forefront of these problems. (GPCYP 2015)

An article published by Al Jazeera showcased two two university graduated who have been placing pigs painted yellow in the streets as a political statement to show the greed of their government, telling their brothers and sisters that it is up to them to solve their problems because their government is full of greed and will not save them. According to the article Uganda has one of the highest proportions of young people in the world. This followed some statistics that I have quoted below.

     “A  joint study done by the International Labor Organization and the Uganda Bureau of Statistics puts the youth unemployment rate at 5 percent, with the number rising to more than 13 percent when taking into account “youth who are without work and available to work but not actively seeking work.” But independent studies put the number much, much higher. ActionAid surveyed more than 1,000 people and pegged youth unemployment at more than 60 percent while the African Development Bank has a study finding that unemployment for people 15-24 in Uganda is 83 percent.” Another study posted in the article showcased how  Over the past decade, Uganda’s economy, bolstered by generous foreign direct investment, grew faster than the median growth rate in sub-Saharan Africa, but somehow less than 10 percent of its youth have found work in this new bustling economy. “

While some say the lack of youth employed stems from the youth turning their nose to the less desirable jobs, the young adults seeking employment blames it on the corruption, nepotism, lack of reforms that their government has left them with. (Choksi 2015) This instance highlights just how important is is to include and empower youth within a community, without this you only see a community dividing itself.

We talked about education in my last post, and above we are still talking about those with college degrees that are seeking better employment. I wanted to finish my post off by stressing an alternative for those without a means for college education, or even one at all. The New York Times posted an article about bringing back the concept of apprenticeships and how it can be used to reduce youth unemployment rates. With an aging population and trade and skilled jobs once being seen as a thing of the past, they now more then ever are in need. (Bray 2014) This career rout could potentially be a way out for those who lack an education to pursue certain careers while still benefiting a community and economy in the long run. So maybe instead of going on our mission trips or service trips and building houses and wells for those in need, we instead teach them skills that allow them to learn how to do these things for themselves so they are better able to pass these skills onto their community and are better able to sustain themselves.


Work Cited:

Bray, Chad. “Apprenticeships Could Help Reduce Youth Unemployment, Business Leaders Say.” DealBook. New York Times, 23 Jan. 2014. Web. 17 July 2016.

Choksi, Mansi. “Yellow Pigs Make a Political Point about Youth Unemployment in Uganda.” Yellow Pigs Highlight Youth Unemployment In Uganda. Al Jazeera, 8 Apr. 2015. Web. 17 July 2016.

State, Texas. “The Positive Effects of Youth Community Engagement.” Texas State. Texas School Safety Center, Fall 2013. Web.

McGill, Michael, and Claire O’Kane. “The Positive Contributions of Youth to Peacebuilding.” Global Partnership for Children & Youth in Peacebuilding. Global Partnership for Children & Youth in Peacebuilding, July 2015. Web.