Summary Report on the United Nations System-wide Action Plan on Youth (SWAP) Survey
Why a SWAP Survey?
Amongst the three actions outlined by the Secretary-General for youth development is the preparation of a United Nations system wide action plan on youth to deepen the youth focus of existing United Nations system programmes. To seek inputs from youth and other relevant stakeholders for the development of the System-wide Action Plan on Youth, The Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development conducted an on-line survey in July-August 2012.
The survey was conducted in French, Arabic, Spanish, Russian, Chinese and English. The survey contained questions on each of the five priority areas of the action plan, as identified by the Secretary-General. The five priority areas are: Employment, Entrepreneurship, Education including education on sexual and reproductive health, Political inclusion, Citizenship and protection of rights. The survey asks the respondents to identify major challenges for each priority theme and then asks them to suggest possible solutions.
Profile of the respondents
In total, 13,500 people have participated in the survey, of these 69% used the English version; 6% used the French version; 11% used the Spanish version; 3% used the Arabic version; 9% used the Chinese version and 2% used the Russian version. In total 53% of the contributors were female whereas 46% were male (other 1%). About two-thirds of the respondents were under 30. (1.2% was under 15; 11.3% were between 15 and 18; 37.4% were between 19 and 24; 26.3% were between 25 and 29; 12.2% were between 30 and 35; 11.7% were older than 36).
Entrepreneurship: Challenges and Suggested Solutions
Respondents identified lack of financial literacy and business skills (50.2%) and lack of access to financial services, including loans, savings, and equity and youth friendly financial products (49.9%) as the most important challenges for youth entrepreneurship. They suggested the establishment/ improvement of entrepreneurship training, including through the development of entrepreneurship education curricula in schools (53.2%) and provisions for easier access to financial services, including loans, savings, and other youth friendly financial products (52,1%) as the most important steps to overcome those challenges.
Employment: Challenges and Suggested Solutions
Respondents identified lack of job opportunities (62.2%) and the miss-match between education/training and labour market need (58.8%) as the most important challenges for youth employment. They suggested the provision/improvement of training and vocational education in the classroom and the workplace, such as internships, volunteering and on the job training schemes (64.3%), and development, implementation and evaluation of specific policies and strategies on decent work for youth, including in the green economy (49.6%) as the most important steps to promote youth employment.
Education, including sexual and reproductive health education: Challenges and Suggested Solutions
Respondents identified the poor quality and availability of education, especially for those from the poorest households or households with the lowest socioeconomic status (59.2%), and poorly linked curriculum to the knowledge and skills needed for work (57.1%) as the most important challenge for youth education. They suggested supporting initiatives enabling a smooth transition from education to the labour market, including workplace training (i.e. mentorships, apprenticeships) as elements of formal education (55.2%), and incorporating peace, human rights, gender equality, global citizenship and cross-cultural awareness into curricula of formal and non-formal education (48.9%) as the most important steps to ensure education for youth. .
In regards to education on sexual and reproductive health, participants underlined that the lack of effective curricula and learning/teaching materials for comprehensive sexuality education (59.6%), and inadequate training of the teachers and health-care workers to deliver comprehensive sexuality education towards youth (56%) as the main challenges to be tackled. They put forward suggestions to strengthen content, quality and coverage of comprehensive sexuality education, including information on family planning and contraception (58,7%), and identified making comprehensive sexuality education a mandatory part of primary and secondary school curricula (51,3%) as the most important actions to ensure effective sexual and reproductive health education for youth.
Citizenship: Challenges and Suggested Solutions
Respondents highlighted limited opportunities for the effective participation of youth in decision making, including lack of youth participation structures at the community and national level (70.2%), and the lack of trust between youth and government institutions and political parties (61.6%) as the main challenges for young people in the area of citizenship. They recommended promoting and improving the quality of global citizenship through civic education on human rights, civic engagement, gender equality, peace and sustainable development, in both formal and non-formal education systems (70.1%), and promoting global, regional, and national youth volunteering schemes to engage youth (59.5%), as the most important actions to be taken to tackle these challenges.
Protection of Rights: Challenges and Suggested Solutions
Poverty (58.1%) and lack of awareness about human rights (57.2%) were identified as top challenges to protect young people’s rights. Participants proposed to increase awareness and implement programmes about human rights, and improve access to youth-friendly information about rights and how to exercise them (72.3%), and increase support for mechanisms and programmes that promote human rights and prevent human rights violations, such as national human rights institutions (59.1%) as the key interventions for the protection of youth rights.
Political Inclusion: Challenges and Solutions
The biggest challenges identified, for political inclusion, were the ignorance/ indifference of people in positions of authority (50%), and the lack of support and commitment towards young people including support to youth branches of political organizations (49.8%). Respondents suggested to promote youth leadership, capacities and skills, including through strengthening support of youth-led organizations (70%), and to establish/strengthen institutions that promote youth participation (52.5%) as the most important undertakings to improve the situation.
LInk for the Report
Youth Empowerment through Cooperatives – Have your say!
As the International Year of Cooperatives is coming to an end, an International Cooperatives Youth Statement will outline how cooperatives can empower young people and inform international policy dialogues. Please provide your insights, ideas and input to the development of the statement through the following survey by Wednesday, 24 October 2012: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/CQVFGXF.
For more information on the UN's work on cooperatives and the International Year of Cooperatives please visit http://social.un.org/coopsyear.
Secretary-General launches “Education First” initiative
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has launched a new initiative to increase access to, and the quality of, education for children worldwide. Called “Education First,” the initiative will focus on three priorities over the next five years: putting every child in school, improving the quality of learning and fostering global citizenship through education “Every one of us stands on the shoulders of our teachers, our communities, our families who believed in us and invested in our education,” Mr. Ban said at the launch of the initiative, on the margins of the 67th session of the General Assembly in New York on 26 September. “We are here today because we know every child everywhere deserves that same chance.”
In an op-ed article in the Huffington Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ban-kimoon/educationfirst_b_1903654.html), the Secretary-General said education was not simply a moral imperative; it was the smart choice. “Every dollar invested generates $10 to $15 in returns. Yet worldwide, some 61 million children are still not in school. Our shared ideals are simple. We want all children to attend primary school and to progress to secondary school and relevant higher education. We want them to acquire the literacy, numeracy and critical-thinking skills that will help them to succeed in life and live as engaged and productive global citizens,” the Secretary-General said.
"Education First” has already attracted commitments totalling $1.5 billion. Among the countries that pledged to intensify their support for Education First are Australia, Bangladesh, South Africa, Timor-Leste and Denmark. From the private sector, the Western Union Foundation and the MasterCard Foundation pledged to give grants for economically disadvantaged students from the African continent so they can complete their education.
Reduction of maternal and childhood mortality and morbidity requires the provision of a continuum of care that spans pregnancy, childbirth, infancy, childhood and adolescence. Interventions before pregnancy occur can increase the health and well-being of adolescents, adult women and men, and improve subsequent pregnancy and child health outcomes.
Pre-pregnancy care is the provision of biomedical, behavioural, environmental and social interventions before pregnancy occurs. The interventions fall within various domains of public health such as nutrition, immunization, sexual and reproductive health, as well as tobacco, alcohol, violence and environmental health*.
Adolescence is an important phase in the life course, and is a particular relevant time for providing pre-pregnancy care. The interventions can be delivered in a variety of ways, such as through health facilities, school health services, youth development programmes and work place programmes.
*The full list is available in “Meeting to Develop a Global Consensus on Preconception Care to Reduce Maternal and Childhood Mortality and Morbidity”. World Health Organization, 2012. (To be published later this month).
1. UN-Habitat’s Urban Youth Fund Supports Youth to Become City Changers
UN-Habitat on 1 October 2012 announced its fourth round of Urban Youth Fund grantees. The forty-one youth-led projects from thirty-six countries will be awarded grants up to 25,000 USD totalling 750,000 USD. The selected projects will contribute to the I am a City Changer campaign through the impact of their work on sustainable development in cities. Many of the selected projects will tackle combined development issues and will actively engage local governments and other actors to ensure sustainability and a greater impact. UN-Habitat believes that these projects will help create opportunities for young people, and will provide them with the means to become actors of change in society.
The UN-Habitat Urban Youth Fund, supported by the Government of Norway, grants funding to projects led by youth who are piloting innovative approaches to employment and good urban governance. This year the Urban Youth Fund received over 5000 applications from all over the world, with an increased number of applications from the Middle East and North Africa region, as well as Latin America. Most importantly, these projects show the desire of young people to become agents of change within their communities and countries.
For more information http://www.unhabitat.org/categories.asp?catid=637
The contact person for the Urban Youth Fund is Jon-Andreas Solberg (email@example.com)
2. UN-Habitat Youth Advisory Board
The 14 members of UN-Habitat’s Youth Advisory Board have started their new two-year term of office giving UN-Habitat and their home regions a much-needed boost of new ideas on urban youth perspectives around the world. The Board members will serve as advisors in their regions and participate in various urban youth platforms. They will provide advice to UN-Habitat on urban youth development and promote the inclusion of young people at various levels in UN-Habitat’s decision-making process.
The elected board is made up of 12 Youth Advisors representing Africa, Asia pacific, Europe, North America, West Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and two observers representing the interests of informal settlements, and the other appointed by UN-Habitat.
For more information, please visit http://www.unhabitat.org/categories.asp?catid=531
3. World Urban Youth Assembly
More than 300 youth activists from around the world recently gathered in Naples, Italy, for the UN-Habitat World Urban Youth Assembly. The one day assembly, hosted by the Government of Italy, the Campania Region and the City of Naples is the fourth biennial session of its kind. The Assembly that takes place traditionally on the eve of the World Urban Forum serves as a platform for youth to engage in dialogue and exchange experiences about youth empowerment. At the assembly, youth delegates discussed the theme, “The role of Young people in the Urban Future” providing them the opportunity to examine their role in the prosperity of cities and the potential areas for them to contribute in creating a sustainable urban future.
The assembly highlighted the important contributions of young people in education, climate change, governance, information communication technology, sports and recreation, sustainable urban mobility, water and sanitation, employment and land issues in urban areas.
YouthStart, a UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) programme in partnership with The MasterCard Foundation aims to reach 200,000 youth in Sub-Saharan Africa with demand-driven financial services and non-financial services, in particular savings and financial education, by 2014. As of October 2012, US$7.8 million has been awarded to 11 Financial Service Providers (FSPs) in eight different countries. Of that amount, US$3.2 million has so far been disbursed to design, deliver and scale up demand-driven youth financial services and youth-centric programmes in partnership with youth serving organizations.
During the third quarter of 2012, UNCDF published its paper “Assessing new youth focused products: Pilot testing financial and non-financial services for youth in Sub-Saharan Africa” where YouthStart presents the lessons learned from the pilot tests conducted by 10 of its partners, and released it at the Making Cents International’s 2012 Global Youth Economic Opportunities Conference in Washington.
Back to school for young Palestine refugees
Last month saw the start of a new school year for thousands of Palestine refugee children and youth across the Middle East. UNRWA operates one of the largest school systems in the region, with nearly 700 schools attended by half a million Palestine refugee children and youth across its five fields of operation. All children registered with the Agency are eligible for free primary education, which is UNRWA’s largest programme.
UNRWA’s school programme faces a number of significant challenges. Almost three-quarters of Agency schools run on a double-shift system; which means cramped classrooms, evening classes and a one day weekend.
The obstacles do not end when students finish school. In Gaza, twenty-year-old Do’a has recently graduated from an UNRWA vocational training centre, and is now trying to find work. She would like to open her own fashion business, but the realities on the ground mean that her employment opportunities in the territory are limited. To mark back-to-school week, UNRWA has launched a series of articles for Palestine refugees like Do’a to share their stories. You can read similar articles about Palestine refugee youth on UNRWA’s website and see photos of back-to-school week on UNRWA’s Facebook page.
For more information, please visit http://www.unrwa.org/etemplate.php?id=1427
Youth Employment Network
The Youth Employment Network (YEN), an inter-agency programme of the United Nations, International Labour Organization, and the World Bank, enables youth employment stakeholders to find or exchange innovative ideas, expertise, advice and partnership through the online platform YEN Marketplace.
- What’s Working? competition invites organizations focusing on improving youth employment opportunities to tell YEN about their project. The winning organizations will have a chance to get their project featured at the 2013 Global Youth Employment Opportunities Conference and win up to $800! This round of the What’s Working? competition is focused on rural interventions. The deadline to enter is November 30 at http://yenmarketplace.org/whats-working-competition
- Social Entrepreneurship Webinar - On October 31, join YEN for a free webinar to discuss Social Entrepreneurship as a method for NGOs to acquire a revenue stream and as an option for young entrepreneurs to start a business that has a positive social impact in your community. Register for the event here: http://yenmarketplace.org/experts-corner
Contact: For more information please visit http://yenmarketplace.org or contact at firstname.lastname@example.org