Turning youth’s promise into productive futures


As the world observes International Youth Day, the Millennium Development Goals Achievement Fund is working to bring hope and opportunities to young people all around the globe, helping them to secure work and embark on productive lives.

In 14 countries across five continents, joint United Nations programmes funded by the MDG-F are preparing young people to join the work force, helping governments to improve educational systems, advocating for policies that promote full employment for youth, and devising strategies to minimize the risks facing youth who migrate from rural areas.

“There are more young people in the world today than ever before, over one billion of them living in developing countries. They are full of energy and ideas, but too many of them lack education, freedom and the opportunity to make a decent living. The MDG-Fund’s aim is to turn these young people’s promise into productive, fulfilling futures,” says MDG-Fund Director Sophie de Caen.

In Nicaragua, where 70% of the population is under 30 years old and many youth are jobless or underemployed, the MDG-F has launched a programme to teach thousands of youth about their right to decent work, build much-needed technical skills, and broker partnerships with the private sector to secure concrete jobs for young people.

Poor and vulnerable youth in Paraguay are the target of MDG-F’s programme to improve the skills and opportunities of the most disadvantaged young people there, especially domestic workers, through entrepreneurship, technical and vocational training, and by promoting greater respect for their rights.

In Albania, which has one of the highest emigration rates in the world, MDG-funded projects are working in two of the country’s most disadvantaged areas to identify job vacancies and train youth at risk of migration to fill the positions. The MDG-F’s Youth Employment and Migration (YEM) programme in neighboring Serbia has trained or placed in jobs more than 2,250 underprivileged young people since January 2010.

And in China, MDG-F’s YEM programme is helping the Chinese government deal with the benefits and challenges of the largest movement of people in human history, one which has seen over two-hundred million rural people – many of them youth -- migrate to urban centers in search of work.

The Joint Programme works with 120 partners -- ministries, the UN family, local governments and civil society organizations – to advocate for policies to protect migrants and their families, provide them with health and legal services, register their children, and prepare them for the challenges of city life through vocational and life skills training.

“Young people represent our greatest resource for development and innovation. It is our responsibility to give them the tools they need to build livelihoods for themselves by keeping the Millennium Development Goal promise of full employment for all,” says Ms. de Caen.

The MDG-F Youth Employment and Migration projects, totaling $80 million, are part of the global effort to reach Millennium Development Goal # 1 of ending poverty and hunger by providing decent work for all people, including women and youth, by the year 2015.

Photo: Young people working in a shoe factory in Shkodra, Albania.

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