10 ways youth can make an impact

11 Aug 2015 by Giovanna Lucignano, Social Media intern, Bureau for External Relations and Advocacy, UNDP

youth walkingActors participate in the Loy9 Drama in Romdoul Village, Cambodia. Television dramas, TV and radio talk shows, and online platforms encourage young Cambodians to learn, debate and share experiences on civic participation in an initiative funded by UNDP and produced by BBC Media Action. Photo: BBC Media Action
“We are addressing youth today, because youth have placed themselves on the top of the agenda.”–Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon Youth activism and engagement can bring about important social changes that are sometimes left behind. You don’t have to wait to be an adult to be an active member of your community. Your opinion matters and it should be heard. Here’s a list of ideas of how you can participate locally and globally: 1. Know your rights: You might not be able to vote yet, but all children and youth hold national and international rights. These rights are only of use to you if you are informed about them, so read up! … Read more

Youth as allies of democracy

10 Aug 2015 by Gabriela Benazar, Social Media intern, Bureau for External Relations and Advocacy, UNDP

students protestingStudents and civil society march against the government of Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela in February 2014. Photo: Gabriela Benazar
I was born in 1990. When I could barely walk, a former military staged a coup against the government. Six years later, in 1998, the people of my country elected him as president and he remained so until the day he died, when I was 23. He was elected for president every single time he ran. Despite these numerous electoral processes, however, I cannot say I grew up in a democracy. In his book, The inner enemies of democracy, Bulgarian philosopher Tzvetan Todorov states that democracy is not only characterized by how it is established in power and for the purpose of its action, but also by how it is executed. … Read more

Calling all superheroes for civic engagement

08 Aug 2015 by Guergana Botchoukova-Farkova, Social Media intern, Bureau for External Relations and Advocacy, UNDP

kids in BurundiYouth in Burundi frame themselves. Get involved in #YouthDay like them by sending in a photo of yourself and civic engagement. Photo: UNDP Burundi/Rossignol
“Civic engagement.” The superhero term of our time is facing a big problem. It is virtually meaningless to the exact group of people (those between the ages of 14 and 25) which it is supposed to inspire and engage. Walking the halls of UNDP, you often hear the sentiment that if we could just get more youth to engage in their communities, the world would be a much better place to live. Yes, civic engagement is how modern day superheroes are born and you could be one of them. But what exactly is “civic engagement”? What does it entail? What is it not? And how can youth really take part in it? … Read more

A sidelined youth: The soft underbelly of ‘Africa rising’

16 Jul 2015 by Mohamed Yahya, Regional Programme Coordinator, UNDP Africa

youth innovationYouth learn IT skills at a training centre in Makeni, northern Sierra Leone. Photo: Natsuko Kaneyama/UNDP
Africa is experiencing a period of exceptional economic performance, but impressive growth rates are not yet translating into higher human development for all. Put simply, the growth is not inclusive. A key obstacle to Africa's long-term prosperity, productivity and stability is the crisis facing the continent’s youth. Young people in Africa are economically, socially and politically marginalized. This failure to deliver for a growing and restless youth is the soft underbelly of the “Africa rising” narrative. … Read more

Eleven countries, one commitment:
Youth inclusion

10 Jul 2015 by Pablo Gago,Specialist, Youth and Civic Engagement, UNDP Regional Centre in Panama

YouthMore than 160 million Latin American and Caribbean youth are fighting against the inequality between different generations in public policy. Photo: UNDP El Salvador
In Latin America and the Caribbean, there is approximately a 50 percent deficit in the share of public spending on youth in relation to other age groups, considering their demographic weight and the concept of evenly distributed spending. This is not consistent with the fact that one in four people in the region is between 15 and 29 years old. More than 160 million youth are struggling to end the inequality between different generations in public policy. In order to boost investment in youth and their political participation and inclusion, last month we launched the Iber-American Programme, IberJóvenes, which will initially be implemented in 11 countries. … Read more

Unlocking the potential of Mali’s youth

08 Jul 2015 by Jean-Luc Stalon, Deputy Country Director of UNDP in Mali

Youth in Mali. Credit: Harandane Dicko / UNDP in Mali
With its youthful population and track record of civil crises, Mali is the perfect case study on the relationship between youth and stability. Mali’s fertility rate is second only to Niger’s. Yet in a country that doesn’t provide jobs, opportunities for decision-making and a sense of purpose, this youth bulge is more likely to be a powerful demographic time bomb rather than a driver of economic growth. … Read more

Let's make 2015 a turning point for youth participation!

27 May 2015 by Noella Richard, Youth Policy Specialist, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, UNDP

2015 has a special significance for all of us. We look beyond the Millennium Development Goals and feel more and more excited about the bold, ambitious and inclusive development agenda that is shaping up. It is vital to ensure that 2015 is also a turning point for youth participation. Youth are eager and ready to contribute. … Read more

Indigenous youth and the post-2015 development agenda

28 Apr 2015 by Laurence Klein, Programme Specialist for Indigenous Participation, UNDP Latin America and the Caribbean

Indigenous women in ColombiaAccording to figures from ECLAC, there are more than 800 indigenous peoples in Latin America, with a total population of about 45 million. Photo: UNDP Colombia
Imagine that instead of excluding marginalized groups, we include them in the new international post-2015 development agenda. Now, imagine the future development agenda built on the enormous potential of indigenous peoples with their ancestral knowledge. Now combine this knowledge with the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit and the mobilizing and transforming capacity of indigenous youth. Wouldn’t you listen to these voices? … Read more

The need to boost youth participation and inclusion in Latin America and the Caribbean

09 Apr 2015 by Jessica Faieta, Assistant Administrator and Director of the Regional Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean

 The region has more than 150 million young people between 15 and 29 years but a closer look into LAC parliaments reveals that young people are scarcely represented. Photo: UNDP/El Salvador
Young people in the region have been playing a key role in recent peaceful demonstrations that demand more effective and transparent governments. And they do so not only by taking to the streets but also by playing a role in their own communities and — increasingly — on social networks. … Read more

Finding durable solutions for urban settings in Haiti

31 Oct 2014 by Jessica Faieta, United Nations Assistant Secretary General and UNDP Director, Latin America and the Caribbean

A woman standing next to her door. The government of Haiti and its people have made extraordinary efforts to recover from their traumatic experience. Photo: UNDP in Haiti.
For those who arrived in Haiti in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake, the images of destruction in the capital city will be probably remain in our minds forever. They are in mine: at least 200,000 people dead and over a million displaced, thousands of buildings collapsed, houses damaged everywhere, economies disrupted, basic services interrupted, and tents and camps mushrooming in every small plaza or area where rubble had barely been removed. The earthquake took place in a very specific context, aggravated by pre-existing conditions:  lack of adequate housing, land tenure issues, and disorganized rural-urban migration patterns. Unfortunately, there are no easy fixes for durable solutions in urban settings. One time initiatives may be effective – such as emptying the internally displaced persons (IDP) camps - but affected families need sustainable solutions. Affordable housing, basic services and income generating activities are some of the key components of any programme promoting the return from IDP camps. The government of Haiti and its people, men and women, have made extraordinary efforts to recover from such a traumatic experience. From the 1.5 million displaced after the earthquake, only 80,000 remain.  The country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rose from $1,548 to $1,602 per capita between … Read more