AfricaAfrican Youth Leaders Tell UN: We Are Force for Change

AAYP Press Release

African youth activists called on the international community Wednesday to view the 220 million young people on their continent as a positive force for change, not a problem requiring solutions.

“We must change the narrative about African youth to become a narrative of collective, positive actors, among the most informed, the most resilient generation of Africa,” said Aya Chebbi, the African Union’s special envoy on youth.

The growing youth population is often viewed as a potential time bomb for the continent, as governments struggle to provide education and good jobs to the millions of young people seeking a better life. Recruitment by armed groups and migration away from the continent have increased, as the root causes of hopelessness are not adequately addressed.

Youth envoy Chebbi, a Tunisian national who had large cutouts of African continents dangling from her earlobes, told the U.N. Security Council that negative narratives can be dangerous.

“It is disempowering,” Chebbi said. “Many young people have internalized the idea that they are marginalized and now see these violent groups as legitimate fighters, not perpetrators of violence. So we have to value our youth and their contribution to society; they will look for recognition elsewhere if we don’t.”

“If the right investments in youth are made, and their social, political and economic engagement recognized and nurtured, societies may reap a peace dividend,” said the U.N. Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Africa Bience Gawanas.

She noted that across the continent the youth are demanding urgent action and are making their voices heard.

“From Algeria, Burkina Faso, Sudan, Tunisia and Zimbabwe, young people are at the center of pro-democracy movements, effectively mobilizing, organizing, leading and clamoring for inclusive and accountable governance, youth participation and economic opportunities for all,” she said.

Wednesday’s Security Council debate was convened around the African Union initiative to ‘silence the guns by 2020’ and end conflict on the continent. It coincided with the International Day for Non-violence.

“We want youth to give up the guns, but can we answer the big question in the mind of a 19 or 20 year-old: Who am I? What are we offering them?” Youth envoy Chebbi asked.

Hafsa Ahmed, 27, joined the meeting via a video link from Nairobi, Kenya, where she is a co-founder of the NGO Naweza.

She said African youth face “deep rooted obstacles” to meaningful participation in peacebuilding efforts, which are traditionally the domain of the older generation.

“When young people are involved and brought to the table, it is often tokenistic and our needs and interests are often reduced to issues of education and employment, when we actually have diverse needs as youth — and the capacity to contribute to the biggest challenges facing our communities and our world,” Ahmed said.

Ugandan activist Victor Ochen recounted how many of his dreams were ruined because his childhood was spent in an internally-displaced persons camp. He told council members via video from Kampala that he made the conscious decision not to be recruited at a time when young boys around him were targeted.

“I was pondering whether picking up the gun to fight was the way to go, but something in me kept on telling me war is not option, you need an end to suffering, picking up the gun will only escalate suffering,” Ochen said. “I chose peace.”

At the age of 13 he started a peace club in the IDP camp to discourage recruitment of child soldiers. He later went on to found the African Youth Initiative Network to transform trauma into an opportunity for leadership and build peace.

“I can say it is very difficult for something good to come out of a life of conflict,” he said.

He urged governments to improve the quality of life for their citizens, address inter-ethnic issues and called on the international community to abandon sanctions, saying they do not work against the state as intended, but affect ordinary people.

Source VOA

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Nigeria: Ekiti to Support Young Entrepreneurs in Expanding their Business

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AAYP Press Release

The Ekiti State government has promised to provide the needed support for young entrepreneurs who are willing to expand their scope of business, in line with the government’s vision of igniting entrepreneurship spirit among its citizens.

The wife of the state governor, Mrs Bisi Fayemi, disclosed this at the closing session of the Ekiti Entrepreneurship Week 2019 in Ado Ekiti on Saturday.

The support, according to her, includes providing them more opportunities to showcase their talents, assisting them with funds for expansion and linking them with mentors.

No fewer than 5,000 participants drawn from the 16 local government areas of the state participated in the three-day programme which was tagged “Enterprise and creativity meet opportunity.”

Mrs Fayemi, who presented awards to some participants with very outstanding and innovative business ideas and projects, said she was delighted at the enthusiasm of the participants, explaining government’s plan to enhance the capacity of young entrepreneurs and make them providers of employment is being realised.

She expressed her satisfaction at the dexterity of many of the designers that showcased their designs made from locally sourced materials during the event.

She noted that the initiative would boost the state’s economic development if well explored strategically and help the fashion artists to develop themselves.

She said: “We are doing this entrepreneurship week to showcase Ekiti locally made fabrics and tailoring.

“We have seen that Ekiti people are amazing; we have all these materials produced here in Ekiti. The Aso Oke was made by the local Association of Aso-Oke Weavers and the Adire material was made by students of the Ekiti State University (EKSU).

“We want to thank Dr John Kayode Fayemi for investing in Ekiti and supporting the women folk. We are showcasing to the world what we can do. Ekiti people are not lazy, they are hard working and industrious.”

Mrs Fayemi further disclosed that a number of the participants at the programme would be invited to both Fashion Week in Lagos in December, and the African Fashion Week London in 2020.

She expressed her optimism that the programme would be a permanent feature in the state since “Ekiti people cherish hard work, dedication and commitment to excellence. I am proud of them and give kudos to Dr Kayode Fayemi for believing and showcasing the talented sons and daughters of Ekiti”.

The Secretary of the planning committee, Mr Seyi Aiyeleso, urged the participants to make good use of the opportunity given to them from the programme, adding that the programme was designed as a platform for raising and showcasing talents, which according to him, abound in the state.

The governor’s wife was presented with the Fashion Designers Association of Nigeria (FADAN) Lifetime Achievement Award at the event by the National President of FADAN, Mrs Funmi Ajila-Ladipo.

Mrs Ajila-Ladipo expressed her gratitude to God and the committee in charge of the programme and Governor Fayemi for impacting Ekiti sons and daughters through fashion entrepreneurship.

Source Thisdaylive

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Uganda: Programme To Tackle Youth Employability Challenge Launched

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Standard Chartered Bank in partnership with Challenges Uganda has launched a 6-month youth employability programme under its Futuremakers initiative valued at Ugx 300,000,000.

The “Youth-to-Work” initiative which has been unveiled at Kampala Serena Hotel to over 100 guests will benefit 40 young and enthusiastic out of university youths with an opportunity to work with Small and Medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in Kampala.

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The objective of the Youth to Work programme is to position and equip young people with skills and opportunities to create economic and employment changes across the economy for sustainable and measurable impact.

In this regard, young people will become implementers of change, rather than standalone programme beneficiaries.

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Through a 3-month training, the youth will be able to develop & refine their skills, work with inspiring entrepreneurs, acquire a Level 5 certificate from the Chartered Management Institute and help drive business performance of an SME.

For the candidates to be eligible for the Youth-to-work programme they will be required to be graduates from any academic background, be 21-30 years or 21-35 for persons with a disability, be Ugandan nationals, attend an assessment day, have some experience, skills or aptitude for business and entrepreneurship.

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Challenges Group Director Neil Fleming said during the launch that they are taking Challenges’ considerable experience of delivering development and business-growth projects, combining it with their on-the-ground knowledge and networks in Kampala and the UK to provide an initiative that will help 40 firms and young people directly, while also acting as a catalyst for wider growth within Kampala’s business community and supporting hundreds of university students.

“Each of these young adults will also be provided additional training so they can then take their knowledge, experience and new-found expertise and share it with hundreds of other ambitious young Ugandans who will be entering the labour market in the years ahead,” said Fleming.

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Uganda, like many other African countries, is facing a crisis in regards to youth unemployment. An estimated 200 million young people are either unemployed or in vulnerable employment globally.

In Uganda, about 65% of the country’s unemployed population are aged between 18 and 30. Thankfully the global community is at last moving past the failed model of hand-outs.

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Fleming said Challenges has long understood that entrepreneurship, effective management and job creation are critical to growing prosperity of individuals and communities.

The Youth at Work pilot is about building a business ecosystem where enterprises and talented young people can thrive, and where innovation and prosperity can grow. Our expertise in delivery is critical to this.

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Vivian Achan the Challenges Uganda Business Development Manager said the programme will take 40 young adults and provide them with key management consultancy training, then position them in one of 40 small and growing businesses.

Once in post, they will provide strategic business development services, with the aim of improving performance.

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For some of the SMEs, this would enable them to become investment-ready and lead to further expansion, which in turn would better enable job creation. The programme’s activities will also reach hundreds of university students and enterprise ecosystems.

“This is a fantastic partnership with Standard Chartered that has great benefits for the successful youths and the small businesses where they will be placed over the 3 months period.

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“Some of the benefits for the 40 SMEs that will register on the Challenges Website to participate in this programme will include; Enterprises will receive on-site business development and investment readiness support, the junior associates will receive accredited business management training from the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), Enterprises will be supported to grow their peer-networks and in strengthening their ecosystem.

“Furthermore, enterprise staff skills will be enhanced through training, they will receive access to senior mentors from Uganda and the UK to provide expert input into their businesses, and lastly, enterprises will receive support to their business leaders to enable them to identify personal barriers and strengths to grow their companies and help them maintain momentum and motivation to improve. We’re all looking forward to delivering this brilliant and far-reaching project on behalf of Standard Chartered,” said Achan.

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The CEO of Standard Chartered Albert Saltson said they are very excited to launch the “Futuremakers by Standard Chartered” programme, a new initiative that will tackle inequality and promote greater economic inclusion for young people in our communities.

“The programme aims to empower the next generation to learn, earn and grow through programmes focused on three pillars – education, employability and entrepreneurship.

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“Under Futuremakers, we will expand Goal, our education programme to empower girls and young women, and develop new programmes focused on employability and entrepreneurship with a continued emphasis on financial education,” said Saltson.

This post originally appeared on Busiweek

Nigeria: Too Many Nigerian Youths And Children Are Left Behind Despite Progress-UNICEF

By AAYP

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United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Nigeria has lamented that despite gains in the situation facing Nigerian children and young people, many are left behind especially when it comes to education.

UNICEF Country representative in Nigeria, Peter Hawkins stated this Monday in Abuja during the maiden edition of Naija Youth Talk, organized by the organization to mark the 2019 International Literacy Day.

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Speaking on the themed, ‘Nigeria We Want,’ Hawkins who was represented by UNICEF Chief of Basic Education, Dr Euphrates Efosie said

Nigeria’s youth bulge is one of the largest in the world, saying that out of a popultion of 200 million, more than 64 million persons are in the 15 to 35-year age bracket normally categorized as young persons.

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According to her, “It is easy to see this as a challenge to national development and it can be, if not properly managed and harnessed. Young people today live in a world of unlimited potentials. However, despite gains in the situation facing Nigerian children and young people in recent years, much remains to be done. Too many Nigerian children and young people are being left behind, especially when it comes to education. Nigeria has the world’s highest number of out of school children. More than 10.5 million Nigerian children are not in school.”

She stressed that UNICEF and partners want to build on the momentum of young people as they commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child this year and keep youth voices at the centre of the debate.

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“Today’s conversation tagged, the Naija Youth Talk, focusing on the The Nigeria We Want’, will allow young people to reflect on and celebrate the progress made by the youth to create the Nigeria we all want, as well as to build momentum and support for further action. This event is part of UNICEF’s global Youth Talks where young people come together to discuss and proffer solutions to crucial issues facing them and their peers.

“Environment that favors empowerment, entrepreneurship, employment and employability for young persons is what we need today. The Nigeria we want is a clarion call by young Nigerians who want to see a different Nigeria going forward.

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“In the education sector, which is the focus of today’s brainstorming, our young people want an education system with good learning outcomes, where a child with nine years of basic education could read and write. And have excellent numeracy skills. Young people want an education that is functional, equipping them with skills to compete in the highly technical global market place,” she added.

The Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, called on Nigerian Youth to be patriotic and love their country against all odds.

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Adesina said if we have a kind of country that we all want, no one will go outside Nigeria to become Second or third class citizens elsewhere. “I would like to stress that for us to get that form of country we must love our country but the question is do we love this country? A large number of Nigerians are happy when things does not work. Youths must begin to love this country, Nigeria even when the country is un-loveable. We want to get to a point where we can say; Nigeria with all thy faults, I love you still.

On the issue of Xenophobia, he cautioned Nigerian youths to desist from circulating fake visuals of xenophobic attacks, saying that most of the videos in circulation happened some years back.

Youth are valuable assets that need protection – //Hoebes

By Neweralive.na (Aletta Shikololo)

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Namibia’s young people, who make up the majority of the country’s population, should be regarded as human capital assets that the country has to protect, Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Christine //Hoebes has said.

Speaking at the breakfast meeting with the diplomatic community and international organisations on Wednesday, //Hoebes said the youth are regarded as the agents of change, the future and an inspiration.

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“Across the globe we are seeing the youth taking responsibility for their future and holding us accountable for the decisions we make today. Closer to home, the Namibian youth are advocating for social justice and an opportunity to make a difference. It is in this context that we’ll discuss the UN Youth Agenda and how it relates to the Namibian and African youth agendas,” she said.

“Ours is to work together (among ourselves and to work together with the youth) to present the youth with opportunities to allow them to continue to work towards enhancing sustainable development and the attainment of Vision 2030,” she said.

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The meeting was also aimed to provide an overview on the status of youth, building on the recent SADC Ministers responsible for Youth and the United Nations Partnership Framework (UNPAF), for further cooperation on the youth agenda.

In her opening remarks, United Nations Resident Coordinator Rachel Odede said the closed-door meeting would discuss issues related to the youth.

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‘The youth are our leaders of tomorrow, and they are multipliers of sustainable development,” she said.

Quoting UN Secretary General António Guterres when he launched the UN Youth Strategy last September 1, Odede said: “If we are to create a more peaceful, sustainable and prosperous world for all to fulfil the vision of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, we need young people to lead.”

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She said it is against this background that through maximising collective comparative advantages, “we hope to propose a way forward on this important agenda”. Odede expressed strong appreciation to the government and the diplomatic community for making quality time to join the UN system in Namibia to collectively deliberate on the issues at hand.

“We very much value the dedication and efforts to ensure that no one is left behind and our commitments towards achieving the Agenda 2030 are implemented in a timely, efficient and effective manner, for the benefit of our people,” she said.

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The meeting was attended by, amongst others, presidential advisor: Youth Matters & Enterprise Development, Daisry Mathias and the National Youth Council (NYC) chairperson, Mandela Kapere.

Ghana: Youth urged to challenge status quo.

By Ghanabusinessnews.com

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Rescue Mission International, a youth advocacy NGO, has urged the youth and all youth-led organisations to take up innovative and complementary training programmes to empower the youth to challenge the status quo for better transformation of the education sector.

According to the organisation, this would effectively contribute to the sustainable development of the country, for the benefit of both the current generation and those yet unborn.

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This was contained in a statement issued by Rescue Mission International signed by its Co-founder, Mr Abdul-Raheem Ibrahim Tuzee, and copied to the Ghana News Agency in Tamale.

It is in commemoration of this year’s International Youth Day, which is on the theme: “Transforming Education.”

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The International Youth Day, marked on August 12, every year, recognises the role of the youth in national development.

The statement said inclusive and accessible quality education was crucial to achieving sustainable development as it played a vital role in preventing conflicts.

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It, however, added that political instability, labour market challenges and limited space for political and civic participation have led to increasing isolation of youth and youth unemployment in society.

It, therefore, emphasised that “It is time we the youth took our destinies and those of generations unborn into our own hands and stop depending on politicians for opportunities.”

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The statement called for a collective effort from youth-led organisations, individual youths, together with various stakeholders and government, to concretely transform education for sustainable development and for the full inclusion of various social groups.