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Young people are not just leaders of the future – they are leaders of today. With more than half the world’s population under 30, the vast majority in emerging and developing economies, young people have a crucial role to play in seeing through the Sustainable Development Goals. This International Youth Day we highlight initiatives by three young people driving change in climate smart agriculture in Malawi, voter engagement in India and professional development in ACP.
vocational ed South Africa
Many children fall through the gaps in South Africa’s education system. Only half of learners in Grade 1 make it to Grade 12, and many fall short of exam requirements. The EU has been supporting South Africa’s Departments of Basic Education and Higher Education and Training since 2004 to move towards inclusive education for all, with specific measures to support learners with disabilities and from disadvantaged backgrounds. Capacity4dev hears about a programme providing books for every child; the rise of full-service schools; and improving vocational education.
Girl in Guinea
While Guinea has made progress on gender equality, traditional norms have remained a barrier to women’s ability to express themselves. Establishing gender as a prerequisite to development in political dialogue could help move the agenda forward.
Education is one of the most fundamental factors in reducing poverty and improving health, gender equality, peace and stability.
mentorship square
In the aftermath of the Westgate shopping mall massacre in Nairobi which claimed at least 67 lives in 2014, volunteers have come together to mentor youths at risk of being recruited by radical violent groups and criminal gangs in Kenya. The project, funded by the EU Trust Fund for Africa, is part of a wider effort by the Kenyan government, NGOs and development partners to understand and address the root causes of violent extremism among the country’s young population.
ICT can go a long way in promoting gender equality and women empowerment. Winner of an Africa-wide programming contest tells us how she’s tapping into her digital skills to get ahead in the field.
“Sustainable development policies cannot be fully achieved without youth angles, perspectives and voices,” said Sana Afouaiz, a women’s advocate and blogger from Morocco. She believes that young people today should have the opportunity to participate in the political dialogue; it is their future that is at stake, and they need to ensure they are a part of it.
Ending hunger and malnutrition by 2030 will require approaches that go beyond targeting only stunting and wasting – agreed the participants of the Nutrition Seminar organised in March by the European Commission in Brussels.
Girls education
Globally, 15 million girls of primary school age will never learn to read or write compared to about 10 million boys. What are some ways of ensuring gender equality in education?
Girls and boys attending the EDGE workshop in Bangladesh
Since 2012, the British Council’s EDGE programme has trained 16,000 girls from marginalised communities in Bangladesh, India and Nepal, helping them steer their own future.

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