To respond to these challenges, UNV's adoption and implementation of youth initiatives, including providing young people with the opportunity to contribute to peace and development through UN Youth Volunteer assignment, has been successful in many parts of the world, such as in West and Central Africa.
In this region, UNV continues its efforts to provide more young people with opportunities to advance peace and development and build their capacity through volunteering.
What inspired you to write this book?
Hyeon-Soo Jeon, from South Korea, was interested in starting a career in international development, and just after graduation was selected for an international UN Youth Volunteer assignment, fully funded by the Republic of Korea, with the United Nations Development Programme in Kosovo (as per UN Security Council Resolution 1244).
The Guatemala Peace Accords were signed in 1996, ending a 36-year-long civil war, but some challenges remain in the construction of a peaceful and inclusive society. During the last years, Guatemala has witnessed an increase in social conflicts related to land disputes, lack of access to public services and natural resource management, among others.
It was in this context that I initiated my UN Volunteer assignment as a Conflict Resolution Officer with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The “Support Programme for Palestinian University Students Under Conditions of Severe Poverty” was started by the UNESCO Ramallah Office, funded by the Saudi Committee for the Relief of the Palestinian people, implemented by the Health, Development, Information and Policy Institute (HDIP), a Palestinian NGO, and supported by Sarah El Attar, from Belgium, an international UN Volunteer with UNESCO who spent almost three years working on the project through UNESCO’s Education Unit.
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.
Women in South Africa give birth to 2.3 children on average translating to a population growth of 1.6 per cent. While South Africa’s fertility rate is substantially lower than those of other African countries (in Ethiopia, for example, women have an average of 4.2 children), it is also considerably higher than in countries of the Global North where most countries show rates of below two children. At the same time, teenage pregnancies are prevalent with nearly 7 per cent of 15 to 19-year old girls giving birth (in comparison, the UK rate is at just over 2 per cent).
EDUCATION AND EMPOWERMENT KEY IN CONFLICT SITUATIONS
Hassane Abdoulsalamou has been serving as a national UN Volunteer with IOM since November 2016. He supports a project for the empowerment of youth in Niger (AJPANI), which offers youth at risk of conflict opportunities to develop through socio-economic participation and mechanisms faciliting participation in decision-making and peacebuilding