Report Launch: It's our Future

Today, the youth-led research report It’s Our Future: Building Better Education and Work for Young People in a Post-Pandemic World was launched. The report was executed by Restless Development in light of the Youth at Heart virtual forum organised by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 2 November.

The report presents the voices of more than 1,000 young people from different backgrounds and genders who were interviewed to understand and capture insights on education and skills, (future of) work, youth participation in society, and young people’s resilience through the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Launch Youth Principles

Youth-led research approach

A group of 12 young Restless Development researchers from the Sahel, Horn of Africa and MENA regions carried out this research to improve decision-maker’s understanding of challenges and opportunities facing young people and facilitate meaningful youth engagement. They designed the methodology, collected the data, analysed and presented their findings. “Rolling out this research increased my confident level”, says young researcher Taibet Hussain from Nigeria. “We have talked to many dynamic young people and we could really make impact. The skills I have gained in the process are very valuable. I have used them in my PhD application.”

Young People in the lead

The launch saw a lot of young people in the lead. The young researchers presented the main-findings of the report. “71% of the young people expressed that their education does not support them to harness technology for their future career paths”, young reseacher Kevin from Kenya shared. “The impact of the pandemic has been harsh, especially on young people’s education and work. Some young people are being left behind by the ‘digital divide’ and therefore it’s crucial to improve access to technology and to ensure equal access to education, skills and work.” 

Young researcher Wiem from Tunesia shared in a powerful way that young people don’t need others to talk for them. “Partner with us as partners, experts and leaders. All stakeholders, start walking the talk. Youth leadership is not the future, it is the now!” 

The report also provides insight in the importance given to mental health services. “We should recognise the negative impact Covid-19 has had on young people’s wellbeing and mental health, especially on girls and young women”, young researcher Tsion from Ethiopia said.  

Youth at Heart Principles

During the Youth at Heart virtual forum, the young researchers already presented the Youth at Heart Principles, which are directly derived from the ‘It’s our Future’ report. The young researcher call upon governments, multilateral organisations, civil society, private sector and decision-makers across the globe to integrate these principles into their work, programmes, and policies.

The Netherlands and youth

Also the Netherlands welcomes the Youth at Heart Principles. His Excellency Tijmen Rooseboom, Netherlands Ambassador for Youth, Education and Work underlined during the launch that we need to get into the habit of structurally listening to what young people have to say. “As part of our Youth at Heart strategy, the Ministry is working on more meaningful participation of young people in our policy and programmes. You cannot talk about young people without young people. We are happy to see so many of our international partners already part of this movement, also during the launch.”

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