Archive for August, 2009
One of Nepal’s greatest post conflict challenges is how to provide for and engage with its young labour force. In a country where 46% of young people aged 20-24 are ‘highly underutilized’ (according to the Nepal Labour Force Survey, 2008) much more needs to be done by the government and all development partners to halt a growing number of disaffected youth.
As a young Nepali, I believe one of the major obstacles to creating & maintaining jobs is the numerous numbers of bandhs (strikes) that threaten industries and the economy in Nepal. Every year it is estimated that 300,000 people enter the job market, and yet many questions remain: Are these youth ready to face the challenges that the market will be imposing on them? Are educated youth capable of writing a CV and confident in facing an interview? Are the less educated young people equipped with vocational skills?
The DFID-CSO Youth Guidance Project, in a small way aimed to unpack some of these difficult questions surrounding youth, and the lack of their participation towards employment policy and programming. The second ‘Sharing & Learning Network’ (SLN) session was hosted by DFID Nepal on 20 August and the participants (from a range of donor organizations and CSOs) focused on garnering information on these three questions:
- Do employment policies in Nepal make specific reference to youth and were they involved in the process?
- What initiatives (programmes) have government Ministries, donors and CSOs been implementing in order to engage youth in improving their employment opportunities and what can we learn from them?
- How has engaging youth improved policy/practice outcomes and influenced decision makers?
Yet, there are windows of opportunity. One of the participants at the SLN II, Basanti Pariyar (an intern at DFID) informed me that her internship has helped her understand how policies affect development, and how she is also learning office skills for her future employment. Basanti comes from Chitwan and she recently joined DFID Nepal at the beginning of August, and she is eager to learn more. With hundreds of youth leaving their homes in search for jobs Basanti feels privileged to find herself at DFID Nepal. She believes that the experience will help her future career, and encourages more organizations to offer such opportunities.
Basanti shared with me that “before the ‘Sharing and Learning Network’ I didn’t understand the youth employment scenario in Nepal, I now have a good insight into their situation through the experiences shared by development organizations trying to improve the situation of youth in Nepal”. She also wonders what the youth themselves think of the employment scenario that affects them, and encourages a national study to be undertaken.
So, the SLN enabled us to begin to examine the challenges and potential solutions regarding youth and employment. Key lessons learnt form the SLN included:
- The need to reinvigorate values of dignity and pride relating to types of labor among youth.
- The importance of designing comprehensive interventions that provide not just vocational skill training, but also life skills, and business and marketing skills.
- Designing employment programmes in a way that does not cause conflict is crucial. For example through the involvement of youth themselves in designing the projects and reviewing them.
- Employment policy should directly acknowledge the youth cohort and directly address their needs through a sector wide approach.
- Focusing on specific youth target groups, such as conflict affected youth or internally displaced young people.
These were some of the common lessons that the participants felt could improve the youth employment scenario in Nepal. Definitely, there is a lot still to do on creating youth employment opportunities and employability in order to sustain peace in Nepal. It’s up to us as to whether we make a mountain of it – or a mole hill.
For the report please click here: Draft SLN 2 Nepal Report (Updated 04/09/09)
Nepal Youth Participation OfficerRead Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
This is comprehensive toolkit produced by the Commission for Refugee Women and Children geared to supporting organisations to plan and execute appropriate interventions to promote sustainable livelihoods. Our team has used it for a study under the ‘Post Conflict Transitions..’ theme of the project.
As ever, comments are welcome.
DerekRead Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
1) ‘Participatory Budgeting with Youth’ Josh Lerner (Unpublished, 2006) http://blog.ygproject.org/2009/08/17/participatory budgeting-with-youth-powerpoint-presentation/
2) ‘Learning Citizenship and Democracy Through Participatory Budgeting: The Case of Rosario, Argentina’ Josh Lerner, Daniel Schugurensky:
3) ‘72 Frequently Asked Questions about Participatory Budgeting’ (UN Habitat) www.internationalbudget.org/themes/PB/72QuestionsaboutPB.pdfRead Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
Nepal is a young country. A country where 26.5% of its population is young, where every year about 300,000 youth are ready to work. In order for this young country to prosper it is necessary that the youth population is provided with a meaningful space.
No doubt, there are actions being taken to increase youth participation by the government, civil society organizations as well the donors. But, actions will never be effective if they are done in isolation – without the understanding of the ‘whole’. In order to bring many key stakeholders who are involved with youth in one or the other way, the Youth Guidance Project has started the Sharing and Learning Network (SLN).
The first SLN analyzed the extent of efforts around youth participation in relation to reaching out to socially excluded and marginalized young people in Nepal. The participants ranged from a diverse group: from donors to civil society organizations, and to youth from marginalized communities.
At the beginning of the session, for me it’s was difficult to try to pull out a sub-group from the wider group of ‘youth’ that is already marginalized. Important sharing like the necessity to define parameters on who are the marginalized youth made many of the participants and I realize that ‘marginalization’ can no more be defined solely on the basis of caste, ethnicity and gender.
Marginalization means poverty; lack of access to basic health, education, communication infrastructure; disability; unemployment and lack of skill for employment which can go far beyond the basis on which marginalization is today being defined in Nepal. Surprisingly, during the mapping session on who were the different agencies involved with marginalized youth, we, who were all working on youth couldn’t significantly define the programs being targeted to the marginalized youth. This made me believe that learning and sharing platforms were missing, and the one we were initiating would be helpful in increasing the focus of organizations working for youth. I hope the SLNs will lead to a lot of collaborations in the coming days and help us better deliver the programs targeted to the marginalized youth.
Nepal Youth Participation Officer
For the workshop report, please download the sharing and learning network report from nepal and for the Nepal Youth Participation database please click hereRead Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
The Uganda Sharing and Learning Network (SLN) on “How to reach out to Marginalised Youth” was the first out of four sessions (to be held by the end of November 2009) by the DFID – CSO Youth Guidance Project Team. SLN 1 was held on the 30th July 2009 at the World Bank offices in Kampala, during which we had a number of representatives from different organisations (both Institutional donors and CSOs) who reflected upon and shared their expertise and experience on the topic at hand.
During this session we began the process of unpacking how marginalised youth are defined in Uganda, as well as listing challenges encountered whilst working with marginalised youth, and how they can be solved or proposed solutions. After a key note presentation aimed at getting the participants reflective powers engaged, we then broke up into three smaller groups to discuss 3 key areas:
1) How to define marginalised youth in the Ugandan context
2) An overview of organisations work which reaches out to marginalised youth groups
3) A discussion of challenges and solutions to improve outreach to marginalised youth sub groups
Each group presented back on one of the topics above, which was then wrapped up with key learning’s, such as the importance of involving young marginalised people in the design of programmes and interventions aimed at them. My personal learning’s from the session were:
- That outreach to marginalised youth groups can be improved, particularly in relation to groups of young people in the North of Uganda in the Karamoja region who are unemployed or out of school.
- It also became clear to me that amongst this new working group or ‘community of practice’ that there are solutions amongst us all towards the challenges we face working with youth: one clear solution is to make sure that we engage with local communities when working with youth. Youth should not be treated as an isolated target group, otherwise we may continue to reinforce stigma for the groups we are trying to support!
Finally, by bringing different organisations together who have expertise in working with youth I was inspired. It gave me increased confidence in taking forward and leading the remaining sessions.
Uganda Youth Participation OfficerRead Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )