What Are the Different Types of Youth Empowerment?
Are you a youth or related to one? Did you know that there are many types of youth empowerment? Generally, people only see it as a way to assist youth financially or through skill acquisition. Critically evaluated, however, it is far more than that.
Youth Empowerment Organizations Around the World
There are many organizations in various countries and continents that help young people. I've listed a few below.
- Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria (YouWiN!)
- Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P)
- Youth Initiative for Sustainable Agriculture in Nigeria (YISA)
- Graduate Internship Scheme (GIS)
- Giants of the Future International (GFI)
- Disaster Volunteers of Ghana (DIVOG)
- Net Organization for Youth Empowerment and Development (NOYED)
- United Global Youth Empowerment
- Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN)
- The YP Foundation (TYPF)
- Rajiv Gandhi Scheme for Empowerment of Adolescent Girls (RGSEAG) – ‘Sabla’
- Bangladesh Youth Empowerment Initiatives (BYEI)
- Young Power in Social Action (YPSA)
- National Youth Agency (NYA)
- Barclays Money Skills
- Youth Empowerment Services+ (YES+)
- Merton Youth Justice Service (YJS)
- Keighley anti-crime Youth Project
- National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI)
- Youth Work Ireland
Classifications of Youth Empowerment
People use the word 'empowerment' in their day-to-day lives. However, 'youth empowerment' is much deeper and more impactful. For this write-up, we will break it down into five categories: financial, academic, moral, agricultural, and skill acquisition.
This is likely to be the most popular category. Youth are offered cash to start a business or to solve their problems. YouWIN in Nigeria is an excellent example of this type of organization. What is YouWIN? YouWIN stands for Youth Enterprise with Innovation. It is a competition mapped out by the Federal Republic of Nigeria to support youth so they can achieve their goals financially. It is an innovative business plan competition aimed at job creation by encouraging and supporting aspiring entrepreneurial youths in Nigeria to develop and execute business ideas. This has lowered unemployment among Nigerian graduates to a certain extent. In fact, this has transformed some of their lives from rags to riches and has put a smile on many of their faces. There are many other organizations that offer financial support to young people. Additionally, wealthy individuals sometimes provide support to young people in their communities as well.
The proportion of educated people in Africa is low because many who are willing to go to school are not empowered. Illiterates commit crimes in many African nations. This bad behavior spoils the image of many nations. Education is vital for poverty reduction and nation building. In this type of empowerment, the government or individuals support young people academically with scholarships and cheques. Does the Nigerian government sponsor education? The Association Staff Union of Universities of Nigeria, ASUU, has been on strike since July 1, 2013, until the time of publication of this article. What percent of public universities in Nigeria are under ASUU? More than 80% are in this organization. What caused the strike? The ASUU strike is on because the federal government of this country does not want to sponsor the university education sector. ASUU reached an agreement with the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2009 to equip and update Nigerian universities. The agreement has not been implemented since then, which brought about the strike.
When moral empowerment is lacking or underdeveloped, it causes young people to misbehave. The youth of today do not respect their elders. "He does not feed me, so I can talk to him any way I wish," they say. Many young women terminate their pregnancies because morality was not a part of their home or surroundings. How can we succeed when we terminate the unborn babies meant to form the next generation? Nations without morals will never truly prosper. The responsibility falls on families, schools, and the community to empower our youth to make the right choices for themselves and others.
Morality in the United States of America has declined. Their young people are lost. Things that were previously considered to be evil are now normal. The number of youth found in churches decreases each day. Some of them say that going to church is outdated and engage in immoral activities. Same-sex marriage, abortion, crime and other social vices are on the rise. Illegal sexual activities, both protected and unprotected, are on the high side.
Nations still exist because of the availability of food. Remove food from the life of a man, and he will resemble a dried out tree. The Youth Initiative for Sustainable Agriculture (YISA) is an agro-knowledge based organization of young agriculture graduates and others interested in the subject. Located in Nigeria, this organization empowers young Nigerians to promote agriculture. The youth want white-collar jobs, thereby neglecting agriculture, a basic necessity, which they believe is only for adults. Getting people interested in the agricultural sector at a young age is crucial to a nation's economic development. It will cause the economy to grow like plants along the riverside. For many countries, it is a major economic driver. Encouraging the next generation to contribute to it will make it even more successful.
In early 2016, the price of crude oil, which has been the primary source of Nigerian revenue generation since 1970, dropped. This caused the federal government to turn to the Youth Employment in Agriculture Programme (YEAP). A report posted on the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development website on February 26, 2016 read in part:
"In its determination to reduce the level of youth unemployment, the Federal Government has plans to empower 740,000 market-oriented young Agricultural producers in rural areas under Youth Employment in Agriculture Programme (YEAP). The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development Dr. Shehu Ahmed disclosed this while delivering his keynote address at a one – day Stakeholders Workshop on Youth Employment in Agriculture Programme (YEAP) in Abuja."
Such a forward thinking nation will surely prosper. Investing in our youth is never a waste. Our future depends on it.
Acquiring useful skills helps young people to problem solve and earn a living. Card designing, plumbing, welding, mechanics, writing, etc. are all useful abilities. The recently launched National Industrial Skills Development Program of Nigeria is expected to train and develop a highly skilled workforce for small and medium scale enterprises across Nigeria. Governments of many other nations (including the U.S.) have similar programs. Many youth groups visit the National Metallurgical Training Institute in Onitsha, Nigeria for training, most of which is sponsored by the government.
Harriet Karr-McDonald, founder of The Doe Fund, wisely understood the beauty of teaching the homeless in the United States skills that could help them get paid work to secure homes for themselves. On October 24, 2011, she wrote to The New York Times on the need to teach foster youth to find housing. She titled the letter "Deal to Help Foster Youths Find Housing."
A segment of the letter reads, "My experience at Ready, Willing and Able, a training program run by the Doe Fund, proves without doubt that these young people can do more than survive: they can prosper. In our residential work program, they earn a paycheck and receive skills training, learning the discipline needed to be productive members of society."
In this piece, we discussed various types of youth empowerment and their respective organizations. I used this medium to address countries that are still lagging behind, particularly in the field of education. These nations must do something to embrace this form of empowerment as that is one of the major means of meeting the demands of our present society. Education is the key to a brighter future for our nations.
- HARRIET KARR McDONALD (2011), Teaching Skills to Youths, The New York Times Building 620 Eighth Avenue New York City, New York 10018, United States
- Mohammed (2016), Federal Government Plans to Empower 740,000 Youths on YEAP Programme, Federal Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development
- Peter Mike (2013), Things to Know about Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) Strike, Bubllews Publication
- Youth Enterprise with Innovative program of Nigeria (YouWIN)
- Voice of Nigeria (2013), Nigeria to create 3.5 million Jobs in Three Years, retrieved June 05, 2013
- United Nations Fund for Population Activities (2013), Supporting Adolescents and Youth, UNFPA Publication
- Youth Initiative for Sustainable Agriculture