SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth
According to World Bank data, half of Sub-Saharan Africa’s population is under 25 years of age and each year until 2035, there will be half a million more 15-year-olds than the year before.
While Africa’s youth bulge could present an opportunity for innovation and economic growth for the continent, many countries still struggle to provide sufficient perspectives for their youth. Youth unemployment continues to be a challenge for Sub-Sahara Africa with rates being as high as 60 per cent in some countries.
The Growth and Development Strategy III (2017-2022) recognizes the value of volunteerism in increasing the productivity of youth and unemployed Malawians. It envisages the establishment of a national volunteer service programme.
The Ministries of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development and Finance, Economic Planning and Development will work closely with the National Youth Council of Malawi to develop a legal and regulatory framework on volunteerism, as well as an effective national coordination and implementation framework.
In Burundi, more than 68 per cent of the population is under 24 years old. This demographic structure, with a majority of motivated and ambitious youth, could fuel the economy and lead to economic growth for the small African country. However, the demographic dividend is yet to be realized. Instead, Burundi faces a major challenge of providing its youth with employment opportunities and future perspectives.
The objective of this workshop was to help participants better understand both the UNV programme and their role as UN Youth Volunteers, the value of engagement and participation, and to think about ways to promote volunteerism during their assignments.
For four days (from 2 to 5 July 2018) in Saly (90 km from Dakar), 15 young and talented people received high-level training aimed at strengthening their capacities and enabling them to adopt the best professional practices before their deployment as UN Youth Volunteers with UNV partner agencies.
By signing this partnership, ISM, a leader in francophone Africa, becomes the first university in Africa to integrate the UN University Volunteer category in the academic curriculum and offer its students the opportunity to promote volunteerism as a key asset for sustainable peace and development in Africa.
ISM students will be deployed in UN agencies in Senegal as UN University Volunteers, to leverage their knowledge and skills in several areas of expertise and dedicate their creativity and energy to peace and development in their six-month assignments.
At the training held in Bangkok, the young women and men came from their duty stations in Iraq, Jordan, Nepal, Samoa, Sri Lanka, Syria, Tunisia, and Turkey. Almost 90 per cent of them are working in their countries of nationality, and for some of them, this was the first opportunity to travel outside of their countries. The participants are also working in various UN agencies, such as UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF, and WFP, with different areas of responsibilities, from field monitoring, research, engineering, communications and to data analysis.
The UN University Volunteer scheme enables young students enrolled in a University to broaden their personal and professional skills and gain experience in the field of international development and peace, while contributing to the work of the UN. In 2017, 98 UN University Volunteers served with 16 UN host entities in 34 countries, 75 per cent of them women.
In Turkey, three UN Volunteers worked together for 22 months with Kirkayak Kültür Sanat ve Doga Dernegi, and Mardin Meydanbaşı ÇATOM-Community Participation and Development Association on integrating high quality and well-supported UN Volunteers and volunteerism in their programmes to tackle challenges in social cohesion, assist in volunteer-related capacity building for non-governmental organizations, and empower Syrian women.
"This has been the most useful and fun training I have been to," says Edgar Kiliba, UN Youth Volunteer Web and Social Media Communications Associate for the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office in Tanzania. Edgar was one of 17 UN Youth Volunteers who participated in the Assignment Preparation Training in Nairobi and are being deployed to five countries on the African continent.
Women in Loja, mostly of indigenous descent, play a critical role in their economy, by managing small businesses and/or providing informal care for family members. They participate in crop production and livestock farming, and provide food and fuel for their families. However, indigenous women in Loja are disproportionally affected by poverty, gender inequalities and discrimination and do not enjoy the same rights and opportunities as men. For example, Ecuadorian’ women bear disproportionate responsibility for unpaid care work.