What pushes young people to extremism?

18 Mar 2016 by Mohamed Yahya, Regional Programme Coordinator, UNDP Africa

 Violent extremism poses the single biggest threat to Africa's steady journey to prosperity. In Kenya, a peace building and conflict resolution programme targets youth. Photo: UNDP Kenya
Last April, Mohamed, a carpenter in a fishing town along Kenya's coast, saw a photograph of Suleiman, the second of his five sons, on the evening news. The 24-year-old was among six young men declared dangerous members of al-Shabab, with a bounty on their heads. Less than a year later, Suleiman was among four al-Shabab suspects killed in a reported shootout with the police. Suleiman's father says that growing up, his son was respectful, dynamic, and refused to accept that the circumstances of his birth should condemn him to a life of poverty. The entire family saw Suleiman as their way to a better life. To meet their high expectations, Suleiman concluded he had to leave not only his town, but also Kenya. He planned to become a driver in Saudi Arabia. But to get there, he needed money to pay agents to organize his trip. … Read more

Young people are building peace in Colombia

02 Feb 2016 by Karin Andersson, Advisor, Participation and culture of peace, UNDP Colombia

UNDP has supported the actions of more than 10,000 college students from across Colombia to participate in peace talks. Photo: UNDP Colombia
Why have young people embraced the opportunity to lead and participate in the efforts to build peace in Colombia? Perhaps it is because in over sixty years, Colombians haven’t known one day of peace? At a festival for peace last year in the province of Norte de Santander, a young woman told me that “this is a unique opportunity to get to know a country that I’ve never really known, a country in which no one dies because of a war.” Colombia is a country with a unique geography and history that produced a rich cultural diversity. Each region of the country has its own unique cultural and social norms. With this in mind, the ongoing peace talks between the Colombian government and the left wing FARC guerrillas highlight the importance of peace building at the local level. … Read more

For a young Haitian, hope beyond the earthquake

12 Jan 2016 by Alejandro Pacheco, Strategic Advisor for UNDP in Latin America and the Caribbean

young manOriental was born in a slum area of Port au Prince. Before the earthquake hit, life had already hit him hard. Photo: Raul de la Fuente/Kanaki Films
Oriental Meliance was born in Haiti in 1990. When he was 10 years old, world leaders agreed on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Oriental was among the 2 billion poor worldwide classified as living on less than US$1.25 a day. By the time he turned 25 in 2015, the world had halved the number of poor. These huge numbers eclipse the real faces of people, like Oriental. … Read more

Gearing up to avoid a deeper crisis in Burundi

11 Jan 2016 by Bruno Lemarquis, Deputy Director, Crisis Response Unit, UNDP

Young people in BurundiTo overcome the crisis once and for all, we must avoid short-term solutions and focus on youth and the employment of young people. Photo: Aude Rossignol/UNDP Burundi
The situation in Burundi is extremely worrying. The political crisis comes on top of structural development problems, with repercussions in terms of humanitarian needs, social cohesion and the human rights situation, all against a familiar historical backdrop. For the most visible humanitarian manifestation of these issues, look no further than the displaced persons who have left Burundi. Internally displaced people are a lot less conspicuous because they stay in communities where they feel safe. I was in Burundi on mission at the beginning of 2015. Our delegation met with representatives of the government, civil society and development partners. We made a field visit to the south of the country where we inspected a site for displaced people, a clinic, and a food distribution centre. The mission will put the spotlight on Burundi and raise its visibility on the list of humanitarian assistance priorities in the event that the situation deteriorates even further. … Read more

Unlocking the potential of youth

07 Jan 2016 by Fadhil Bakeer Markar, Communications Team Lead and Youth Focal Point, UNDP Sri Lanka

kids jumpingYouth participants of UNDP Sri Lanka’s Twinning Schools Programme caught in action whilst doing a music video for the song 'Colours'. Photo: UNDP Sri Lanka
“Children and youth deserve a better future in their own country, not necessarily somewhere else. It is the responsibility of the adults not just to bring children to this world but contribute to creating a socio-political environment that is conducive for their advancement and well-being.” - Professor Siri Hettige, a senior sociology academic at the University of Colombo. We’ve heard the call for more opportunities for young people, the need to engage with them, and the responsibility of adults and institutions. But to me, Hettige misses a key point: the central role of youth themselves in shaping their own present and future. … Read more

Skills training is a pathway to economic growth for all

11 Nov 2015 by By Gokhan Dikmener, Technical Specialist, Istanbul International Center for Private Sector in Development, UNDP

women attend their first day of classKosovan women attend their first day of classes at the BUTGEM vocational training centre in Bursa, Turkey. Photo: Yuksel Cetin
Fatos Hasolli can’t find a job, despite having a university degree in engineering. The Kosovan young man, in his mid-20s, decided his best option is to leave Kosovo* and find a job elsewhere. His story is shared by thousands of Kosovan youth who, according to the World Bank, face a 60% unemployment rate. But Hasolli’s story is not only found in Kosovo: it has become a global trend for both developed and developing countries. … Read more

Bashi's journey may signal a bigger refugee crisis to come

28 Oct 2015 by Mohamed Yahya, Regional Programme Coordinator, UNDP Africa

Somali youthYoung Somali men participate in a vocational training and education program in Burao, Somaliland. But as Africa’s population grows, the number of people escaping conflict in countries like Somalia will continue to rise. Photo: UNDP Somalia
Bashi, a young man who fled from conflict in Somalia, is one of many Africans making the journey to Europe for a better life. … Read more

Making education the gateway in Tanzania's growth

15 Sep 2015 by Amarakoon Bandara, Economic Advisor, UNDP in Zimbabwe

kids sit in circleConsultative process in Tanzania on post-2015 with young people while filming the documentary ‘Listen to Us’. Photo: UNFPA
In this blog series, UNDP experts and practitioners share their experiences and views on working with the Millennium Development Goals. With a per capita income of just around $310 in 2000, Tanzania’s march towards achieving Millennium Development Goals (MDG) was a remarkable story – a very poor country putting so much effort into so many areas. Tanzania won’t achieve most of the goals, but the efforts it has made are noteworthy. One goal that stands out is the MDG 2: to achieve universal primary education by 2015. … Read more

Youth: not simply human beings, but human becomings

26 Aug 2015 by Jon Hall, Policy specialist, Human Development Report Office

youth in ZambiaZambian youth at a UNDP consultation. Investment in youth and their input is crucial to long-term and sustainable development. Photo: UNDP Zambia
It is important to remember that considering development from a youth perspective is not always straightforward. Even defining exactly when someone should be considered “young” can be tricky and varies between reports. Listening to the views of young people will almost certainly require an investment of time and money, so development policies that are formulated with the input of young people will cost more to develop. But those policies will almost certainly work better and last longer, as today’s youth will be tomorrow’s leaders. … Read more

If you want it done, take action

12 Aug 2015 by Lei Phyu, Communications & Social Media Analyst, Bureau for External Relations and Advocacy, UNDP

young Syrian womanYouth participate in a rubbish removal initiative in As-Salamieh, Syria. Photo: UNDP Syria
It pains me when people on social media comment that everyday civic engagement isn’t their responsibility and should be solely the work of governments and the UN. Civic engagement is defined as “individual and collective actions designed to identify and address issues of public concern.” We don’t all need to be leaders, but we should all take part in our society. If we get a cut, do we treat ourselves right away or do we wait for a leader to bring us a Band-Aid? If we want an improvement in our community done right, our way, why shouldn’t we take initiative rather wait for permission from a leader to do it for us? … Read more