Decent jobs and income are essential if young people are to participate fully in their societies. RNW Media is, therefore, proud to launch its new economic inclusion programme called, “In the Works”. The programme aims to ensure young people have equal opportunities to participate in the economic life of their country as employers, employees, entrepreneurs, consumers and citizens and have the necessary skills to flourish economically.
The importance of young people’s economic inclusion as a pre-condition for peaceful and resilient societies is clearly stated in the United Nations Youth Strategy, Youth 2030, and also in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The problem is urgent—the global youth unemployment rate is estimated at 13.6% but rises to as high as 30% in some parts of the world. Globally, 20% of young people are not in employment, education or training, and young women are twice as likely as young men to face that situation. The problem is also a growing one, with some 40 million young people (15 -24) entering the labour market every year. Even when young people can find work it is often unsatisfactory—of the 429 million young workers worldwide, around 126 million, or 30%, are working in poverty.
A holistic approach
The In the Works programme takes a comprehensive, holistic approach, looking at the whole young person and their potential. The four pillars of the programme are: skills development for employment (technical and soft skills); youth entrepreneurship; connecting young people to opportunities (matching supply and demand); advocacy on social norms and labour laws. Cutting across these programme pillars is a robust gender-responsive approach that addresses the specific experiences, needs and concerns of girls and young women and seeks to contribute towards SDG5, gender equality.
Power of digital
In the Works takes digitalisation at its word. Social media platforms provide young people with a range of benefits and opportunities to empower themselves in a variety of ways: they open the door to unprecedented information, present employment and financial opportunities for billions of people worldwide and enable young people to maintain social connections and support networks that otherwise wouldn’t be possible. Our In the Works programme harnesses the power of digital media to promote economic opportunities for young people.
The Masaraat platform which was launched as part of our Citizens’ Voice programme in 2019 to support young people’s economic inclusion in Egypt has now been brought under the In the Works umbrella. We are also planning to launch a new platform in Nigeria with the engagement of Microsoft Nigeria.