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



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.


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.


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.


“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.


“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.


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.

We are the future, and the future are the youth

By International Cooperation

The term youth is often associated with vibrancy, joyfulness, enthusiasm and passion. The youth and the future will always be linked, because none can exist in the absence of another. A nation that fails to invest in the future of its youth is a doomed nation. The youth is a significant symbol of strength and persistence. Youth are the building blocks of a nation. It is a fact that the stronger the youth, the more developed the nation is. The role of the youth in the nation-building occupies the central place. The countries which utilize their youth in as right direction are more developed. The energy and brightness of minds of youth act as torch-bearer for a nation. On the contrary, the countries which fail to realize the importance of the youth lag behind in every department of life. If youth is not in the right direction and is unconcerned about the future of the nation, it will become a burden for the nation.

The youth hopes for a world free of poverty, unemployment, inequality and exploitation of man by man. They want a world free of discrimination on the grounds of race, color, language and gender.

The countries where the youth are agile and pay their proper contributions towards their nation are more developed. The entire success of a nation depends on the youth. It is the duty of the government to provide the youth with ample opportunities to play their role in an effective manner. Parents also have a major responsibility to fulfill. They must induce patriotic feelings in their young ones. The youth fraught with patriotism would lead the nation to the front.

The youth have following role and responsibilities towards their nation.

  • They must get proper and complete education.
  • Take part in welfare activities.Spread awareness and education among the masses about their rights and responsibilities.
  • Help other youths in building confidence and pursuing the field of interest.
  • Guide newcomers in every field on right lines.
  • Promotes the fair image of the country before the world.
  • Serve the country with their skills and talent in various fields.
  • To nip in the bud all the evils that are polluting our society.
  • To reinvigorate the culture, trend and traditions of the society.
  • Help the government in the implementation of policies.
  • They can play a vital role in the elimination of terrorism.
  • The young people are full of vibrant ideas. Their ideas can show the country a new path towards prosperity.
  • Young people have energy to try out things and the patience to learn from mistakes. Giving them opportunities to plan, to decide and to work prepares them to face harsher realities in life.
  • Young participation is important because youth are the country’s power. Youth recognize problems and can solve them. Youth are strong force in social movements.

Factors that Promote Crime among Youth

There are several factors that push the younger generation to commit crime. Here is a look at some of these:

  • Lack of Education
  • Unemployment
  • Power Play
  • General Dissatisfaction towards life
  • Growing Competition

Despite the multiplicity of problems, it is still a right time for government to take some pragmatic steps. Government should not regard the young population as a burden but an asset. We need to bear in mind that “the destiny of nations is in the hands of youth”.

Keeping in view this fact, here are some suggestions to make good use of our youth.

  • Competitive teachers must be recruited who could encourage and guide our youth to right lines.
  • Politics must be prevented in the educational institutions.
  • Campaign be started by the media that it is only education which can make our country more prosperous. We must have 100% literacy.
  • It has become a common psyche among the well-educated people that after the completion of the education they would leave their country in the lurch. Government must prevent brain-drain in our country by providing full employment and act as a magnet for bright minds.
  • Parents should teach youngsters patience to face the difficulties and be steadfast.
  • Youth be given ample opportunities to prove and cash their skill in every field.
  • Right men be placed on right places.
  • Youth should be clear about their future.
  • Youth should be at arm’s length from the bad company.

To conclude, the youth of today can do a marvelous job for the nation. With all the modern means of this computer age, where everything seems to be possible, why can’t the youth override the things done by the people in the past? We always consider the heroes of the past to be the evergreen characters. But today the youth with the proper use of the modern facilities should be evergreen characters for the times to come.

This article was first published at

Libya, UN discuss support of Libyan youth

By Xinhua

Officials of the Libyan office of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) on Wednesday said it will boost plans to empower and support young women and men across Libya.

“We met on Monday with the Head of the Youth and Sports Authority Bashir Al-Qantari to agree on strategic plans for 2019 to empower and support young women and men across Libya,” UNFPA said in a statement.

UNFPA will soon launch a UN Youth Working Group in cooperation with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), with the aim of creating a more effective youth programming, the statement said.

Due to years of armed conflict and political instability, Libyan authorities have been struggling to meet the needs of the young people, mainly by providing employment opportunities and proper education.

According to UNICEF, unemployment currently stands at 48 percent among youth in Libya.

Source Xinhua

Report: 36 Million Poverty Hit Children In Ethiopia

An estimated 36 million of a total population of 41 million children under the age of 18 in Ethiopia are multi-dimensionally poor, says a new report by a government agency and the UN agency for UN children.
The report indicated that the children are deprived of basic goods and services in at least three dimensions. The report studied child poverty in nine dimensions – development/stunting, nutrition, health, water, sanitation, and housing. Other dimensions included education, health related knowledge, and information and participation, according to the study conducted by the Central Statistics Agency and UNICEF.

The study, “Multi-dimensional Child Deprivation in Ethiopia – First National Estimates,” finds that 88 per cent of children in Ethiopia under the age of 18 (36 million) lack access to basic services in at least three basic dimensions of the nine studied, with lack of access to housing and sanitation being the most acute.

Given their large population sizes, Oromia, Amhara, and Southern regions are the largest contributors to multi-dimensional child deprivation in Ethiopia.

These three regions jointly account for 34 of the 36 million deprived children in Ethiopia, with Oromia having the highest number at 16.7 million, SNNPR at 8.8 million, and Amhara at 8.5 million. Regions with the lowest number of poor children are Harar at 90,000, Dire Dawa at 156,000, and Gambella at 170,000.

“We need to frequently measure the rates of child poverty as part of the general poverty measures and use different approaches for measuring poverty. This requires all stakeholders from government, international development partners and academic institutions to work together to measure, design policies and programmes to reduce child poverty in Ethiopia,’’ said Mr Biratu Yigezu, Director General of Central Statistics Agency.

The report adapted the global Multi-Dimensional Overlapping Deprivation Analysis (MODA) methodology and used information available from national data sets such as the Ethiopian Demographic and Health Surveys of 2011 and 2016. MODA has been widely used by 32 countries in Africa to analyze child well-being.

The methodology defines multi-dimensional child poverty as non-fulfilment of basic rights contained in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and concludes that a child is poor if he or she is deprived in three to six age-specific dimensions.

The report’s findings have been validated through an extensive consultative process involving the Ministry of Women, Children and Youth, National Planning Commission, the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs together with the Economic Policy Research Institute, among others.

“Children in Ethiopia are more likely to experience poverty than adults, with distressing and lifelong effects which cannot easily be reversed,” said Gillian Mellsop, UNICEF Representative in Ethiopia.

“Ethiopia’s future economic prosperity and social development, and its aspirations for middle income status, depend heavily on continued investments in children’s physical, cognitive and social development.”

The study reveals that there are large geographical inequalities: 94 per cent children in rural areas are multi-dimensionally deprived compared to 42 per cent of children in urban areas.

Across Ethiopia’s regions, rates of child poverty range from 18 per cent in Addis Ababa to 91 per cent in Afar, Amhara, and SNNPR. Poverty rates are equally high in Oromia and Somali (90 per cent each) and Benishangul-Gumuz (89 per cent).

Additional key findings from the report indicate:

High disparities across areas and regions of residence in terms of average number deprivations in basic rights or services.

For example, the differences in deprivation intensity (average number of deprivations in basic rights and services that each child is experiencing) between rural and urban areas are significant; multi-dimensionally deprived children residing in rural areas experienced 4.5 deprivations in accessing basic rights and needs on average compared to 3.2 among their peers in urban areas;

Although there has been progress in reducing child deprivation, much more remains to be done. The percentage of children deprived in three to six dimensions decreased from 90 per cent to 88 per cent between 2011 and 2016 and the average number of deprivations that each child is experiencing decreased from 4.7 to 4.5 dimensions during the same period.

Most children in Ethiopia face multiple and overlapping deprivations. Ninety-five per cent of children in Ethiopia are deprived of two to six basic needs and services, while only one per cent have access to all services. Deprivation overlaps between dimensions are very high in rural areas and among children in the poorest wealth quintiles.

The report makes the following recommendations:

  • Speed up investments to reduce child poverty by four per cent each year for the next decade if Ethiopia is to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal on poverty reduction;
  • Accelerate investments in social sectors prioritizing child-sensitive budgeting at the national and regional levels to enhance equality and equity; and
  • Improve collaboration among different social sectors to ensure that the multiple needs of children are met.

Source Newbusinessethiopia

Cameroonian youth tasked to be Ambassadors of peace

Some 200 young men and women drawn from across the ten regions of Cameroon have been called upon to be ambassadors of peace in their various localities.

The call was made during a conference organised by the Universal Peace Federation in Yaounde aimed at sensitizing young people on the importance of promoting the virtues of peace and Nation building.

According to the Country Director of Universal Peace Federation, Edwin Ondoa, the forum is geared towards inspiring youth positively so they can make a difference in their localities. Selected from various schools, homes and private sector, the forum gave the youth the opportunity to better understand and appreciate the need to live in unity and harmony, as they exchanged ideas and showed their unity in diversity.

The workshop is taking place at a time when administrative officials are kick starting preparations towards the celebration of the youth day on February 11.


Rwanda: Save children from having children

My country is overwhelmed with teen pregnancies. In 2013, the United Nations Population Fund estimated that Guyana had the second-highest rate of adolescent pregnancy in South America and the Caribbean, with 97 of every 1,000 girls between the ages of 15 and 19 giving birth. Five years later, little has changed.

Today, some 42 per cent of Guyanese young people are sexually active, 29 per cent do not use condoms during sex, only 15 per cent say they are familiar with birth-control methods, and 56 per cent of sexually active young people have contracted a sexually transmitted infection. Furthermore, 12 per cent of Guyanese girls have sex before their 15th birthday, and 62 per cent say they have an unmet need for contraception.

When adolescents cannot obtain condoms and other forms of birth control, the rate of unplanned pregnancies increases, health outcomes suffer, and young people are unable to reach their full potential. To avoid these trends, and to reverse them where they exist, countries must strengthen their health-care systems and ensure that every teenager has access to sexual and reproductive-health services.

One of the biggest obstacles to reducing the rate of unplanned pregnancies is the lack of sex education in schools. In Guyana, the government’s Health and Family Life Education program was meant to address this shortcoming. But only a handful of secondary schools offer the curriculum, and those that do typically avoid topics that would contradict the Ministry of Education’s abstinence-only policy. As a result, most teachers fail to educate students properly about safe sex.

Another challenge in Guyana is the services gap between coastal regions and the country’s interior. The country’s hinterlands suffer from a lack of health facilities, which further limits adolescents’ access to information about safe sex, contraception, and neonatal care. Not surprisingly, rates of teenage pregnancies and maternal mortality are highest in the interior.

The shortage of rural clinics partly reflects a dearth of qualified health-care workers. To maintain basic care for a country’s population, the World Health Organisation recommends a minimum of 22.8 skilled health professionals for every 10,000 people; universal coverage requires at least 34.5 workers per 10,000 people. In Guyana, however, there are only 11.4 health workers per 10,000 people, a staffing shortfall that affects every aspect of the health-care system.

Finally, Guyana is a socially conservative country, and biases about young people’s sexual activity pervade health care and domestic life. Some nurses prefer not to provide girls with contraceptives, while many parents believe that talking about sex will only encourage sexual behavior. This, together with the lack of sex education in schools, leaves Guyanese teens with few places to turn for advice before becoming sexually active, or to find help when they become pregnant.

These obstacles can be surmounted, and Guyana can lower its rate of teen pregnancy. But it will require significant changes in how Guyanese think about and address the issue of adolescent sexual activity.

For starters, Guyana must implement comprehensive sex education and work to ensure that teachers have been trained to provide unbiased data and information. Adolescents must be made aware of what services are available, and parents and community members must be encouraged to support the provision and expansion of these programs.

Moreover, communities need to increase access to contraceptives and other sexual-health services; one way to do this would be to revive or establish youth-friendly spaces and centers where information can be shared. These spaces should be open after school and on weekends, staffed by knowledgeable, sympathetic adults. Special attention must be devoted to rural regions and people with special needs, an often-overlooked segment of the youth population.

These reforms are essential to improve the life prospects of Guyana’s young people. If more teenagers had access to sex education and contraception, fewer girls would have their lives interrupted by pregnancy. Only by empowering women and girls with the resources to control their reproduction will the grim statistics that have long burdened Guyana – and many other countries – begin to change for the better.

The writer is a medical doctor, a recipient of the 120 Under 40 award for leadership in family planning, and a member of Women Across Differences, a Guyanese non-profit organisation that works to empower women and girls.

Copyright: Project Syndicate.

Source The New Times

3 ways Africa can unleash the potential of its women and youth

By Vanessa Moungar

Everyone deserves a fair chance at life. That’s a fact and a right. However, the reality is it depends on your context.

Across Africa, millions of boys and girls are still out of school, which dramatically reduces their chance at realizing their potential in increasingly urbanizing and formalizing economies. Some of these girls are married off at a young age, and lack access to their legal sexual and reproductive health and rights, resulting in their having more children than they would have wanted and can actually support. Simultaneously, millions of young people come of working age each year, with low prospects of finding employment.

African leaders have recognized the urgency of investing in Africa’s women and youth to ensure they are productive agents of their growing economies, and have articulated the African Union 2017 Roadmap around that theme. But beyond policy, governments will need to work closely with the private sector, multilateral organizations and civil society to scale up the things that work, and make that agenda a reality.


Following that call from the African Union and the United Nation’s Population Fund, a global partnership of stakeholders from the various sectors is being assembled to advise and provide practical solutions women and youth. Here’s what that means:


No country in the world has ever achieved the demographic dividend without making a significant investment in access to family planning. Fertility is higher in sub-Saharan Africa than anywhere in the world, and falling very slowly. There, in addition to enforcing laws to prevent child marriage and scaling up cash-transfer programmes for school attendance, governments must leverage partnerships with the pharmaceutical industry as well as logistics experts to bring family planning options to women everywhere, even in the most remote areas. They can ensure private health insurance covers family planning and education, work with media to open conversations about family planning or marriage age, and partner with community-based organizations to engage communities.


Progress has been made in school enrolment in recent decades, but it is way too slow. A radical shift is needed in the way education is financed and how those funds are used. To start, increased financing for education is needed from both international donors and domestic resources. But importantly, any increase in financing needs to be matched by country-level reforms that increase effectiveness and improve accountability around spending. In addition, public-private dialogue is needed to review and adapt curriculum and training to market needs.

New technologies open the door to much progress in both reach and quality of education, and digital literacy is quickly becoming a crucial skill. Vocational training models have proven successful in speeding up school to work transition and must be scaled up, in partnership with business. Finally, by incentivizing private sector investment through a competitive education market, governments can encourage the creation of first class regional educational institutions.


Job creation needs to dramatically accelerate on the continent, to absorb its bulging working-age population. Adequate education and skills training is crucial; it’s also the first step towards integrating into the jobs that already exist. Governments must also gives incentives to youth employment and leverage the multiple existing private-sector-led initiatives to expand internships, apprenticeships and on-the-job training. Beyond these jobs, youth needs easier access to business capital, which can happen through microcredit and SME financing programmes in partnership with the banking sector. Overall, competitiveness must improve for markets to offer opportunities to entrepreneurs, as well as to attract larger investors in sectors with job-multiplier effects, such as manufacturing, agro industries and ICT.

These are some of the topline, priority recommendations . And the good news is that most of these laws and programmes already exist. All they need is to be scaled up.

It will require government coordination across many areas, clear and practical national plans, and optimum engagement of civil society, the private sector and the international community at large, to mobilize adequate capacity and investment.

It will be one of the most powerful investments a nation can make to spur progress for all its citizens.

This article was first published at

Youth With Entrepreneur Mindset


Countries aiming to reform the educational systems often give importance to introducing entrepreneurship in curriculums to encourage young people branch out in business when they complete their education. It is often difficult to define the elements of entrepreneurship but it generally means the ability to take business risks to make financial gains.

The EU has programmes aimed at encouraging young people to consider becoming entrepreneurs by rewarding creativity, marketing skills and ability to manage finances. But there is a wide reality gap between participating in a school-sponsored entrepreneurship programme and the tough world of business.

The challenges facing young entrepreneurs are addressed by EU studies containing clear recommendations to help young people set up their own business.

Availability of finance is often a critical success factor for any young person trying to earn a living by selling a product or service. MEP Miriam Dalli proposed the “creation of a local crowdfunding platform to help start-ups gain access to finance outside traditional channels”.

Some entrepreneurs are often misinformed about the type of finance commercial banks can provide. Venture capital and seed capital to kickstart a project are not facilities normally available.

The reason is very simple: the financing of new projects led by people with lots of enthusiasm but little experience often presents too much of a risk to banks that have a conservative lending policy. Following the bank failures of the past seven years, regulation has become tougher and it can easily discourage banks from taking high risks on their books.

Crowdfunding, whereby one can borrow money from an informal network of people who are prepared to share in the risk of a new venture in return for adequate reward, is often mentioned as the new way of obtaining finance.

One thing is certain: no one parts with his hard-earned cash if the returns are not guaranteed in some way. Crowdfunding is not built on the concepts of altruism or charity. The harsh world of business invariably links risk with reward – the higher the risk one is prepared to take with his money, the higher the reward that is demanded.

A more viable and proven source of finance for young entrepreneurs is that of the ‘business angels’ system. For many years, successful businesses have put aside part of their profits to encourage young people to come up with ideas on how to develop a creative project into a successful business venture.

Business angels often provide mentorship, business contacts, advice and seed capital to young people to help them navigate in the complex world of business. Some of these ventures turn out to be successful businesses in their own right. Sadly, many others fail and one just hopes that the young people involved in the failed projects will, at least, have gained experience that will see them become more successful in future.

The debate among educators and business leaders on whether one is born or made an entrepreneur is eternal.

It certainly helps to promote from an early age the value of self-reliance and the skill of taking risks and be compensated by adequate rewards.

A well-tailored entrepreneurship programme that involves business leaders, educators and youth organisations can help to promote an entrepreneurial mindset in our young people.

This article was first published on Saturday, August 8, 2015 by Times Of Malta.