© Helvetas

More Than Just Getting By: Amplifying Young People's Voices

FROM: Lisar Morina – 11. August 2020
© Helvetas

Every year, August 12 marks the International Youth Day. It’s a time to reflect on the challenges that people around the world face growing up and consider whether we are doing enough to ensure that every young person can live in dignity, security, and able to reach full potential.

The International Youth Day is a chance to celebrate young people’s voices, actions, and initiatives, and advocate for the need to do more to engage and include them in decision-making. This year’s International Youth Day seeks to put the spotlight on youth engagement in three interconnected streams:

  • Engagement at the local/community level;
  • Engagement at the national level (formulation of laws, policies, and their implementation); and
  • Engagement at the global level.

With 10 years remaining to fulfill the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we find ourselves in an increasingly polarized world. Social inequality and lack of social inclusion are eroding the trust in institutions and the international system, giving way to fragmentation and isolationism.

To make matters worse, the Covid-19 crisis has triggered major disruptions in the economy and labor market. This has been particularly disruptive for young people, as the public health crisis has created the largest disruption of education systems ever, affecting 1.6 billion learners in more than 190 countries.

In Kosovo, being young is hard. The data paints a grim picture: half of the Kosovar youth are unemployed. Over 32% of young people are unemployed and don’t attend school or training either. Only 21% of young people are very satisfied with the quality of education. And perhaps the most striking finding of a study by the Friedrich-Ebert Stiftung is that 59% of young people will leave the country if given the opportunity.

So many of the challenges that the world faces today—from climate change to political instability to inclusive education—will be inherited by the next generations. It’s therefore important that we do everything to empower young people now.

The Enhancing Youth Employment (EYE) project of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) implemented by Helvetas and MDA, we’re supporting young people in three core areas:

1) We’re fostering inclusive skills development initiatives to upskill young women and men to develop the right skills;

2) We are improving young peoples’ access to labor market information, career choices, and jobs, helping match supply and demand; and

3) We are investing in the economy to create more jobs for young people, particularly in VET professions, working with the private sector to create opportunities that generate employment.

While the efforts of the international community in Kosovo together with local NGOs and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) have made great strides in creating a Kosovo that is more inclusive and provides more opportunities for young people, our work is far from finished.

This is why the International Youth Day 2020 is important for Kosovo. Let’s join the world and use this day to raise awareness about the to do more to engage youth in decision-making, and make local, national, and global institutions more inclusive as they work to achieve global goals.

To commemorate the day, we’ve partnered with BONEVET, a non-profit and non-formal educational institution established in 2014 by the private Foundation UNE E DU KOSOVEN based in Prishtina,  to host an online workshop for young people to learn about coding, data collection using Python, as well as gain 3D design skills to create printable and functional designs. Join us here.

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Lisar Morina is a media and communications professional working at the nexus of development and communication. He is currently engaged with Helvetas Kosovo in the Enhancing Youth Employment (EYE) project.