A new report released by a youth-led research group says unemployment is the major challenge hampering youth growth and development.
The report by The MasterCard Foundation Youth Think Tank released in June in Kampala, says the East African youth are seeking a greater voice in their future. The findings indicate that young people in East Africa are optimistic about developing their skills, pursuing self-employment and are eager to participate in the policy decisions that impact their lives.
Ms Hilda Namakula, a youth researcher from Uganda, said she has observed first-hand the sense of disempowerment that comes with youth unemployment. “Through this research, I can be part of the solution by gaining an in-depth understanding of this problem and being a voice for youth,” she says.
The research, carried out across the five east African countries, shows that young people are committed to improving their skills set.
“(The) youth recognise the gap between the types of skills they gain within formal education systems and the types of skills employers seek,” Greg Lavendar, Rest Development country director, said.
At the launch organised by youth-led international development agency, Restless Development, in partnership with The MasterCard Foundation (TMCF), the 15 members of the Youth Think Tank revealed findings from their peer-to-peer research report, providing key insights into youth employment and entrepreneurship trends in East Africa.
The report includes data from more than 400 interviews with youth, government representatives and other stakeholders across the region.
Ms Ann Miles, director youth livelihoods at TMCF, said the Think Tank demonstrates the dedication and energy of young people to seek positive change within their communities, adding research is an important piece of work that will help to inform TMCF’s strategy for expanding youth economic opportunities, and governments and policy makers in the youth development space.”