According to the United Nations, the youth comprises 16 percent of the world’s population. Here in the Philippines, 28 percent of our country’s population is composed of the youth sector or those belonging to the age range of 10 to 24 years. With that number, it’s safe to say that indeed, the youth is important when it comes to shaping and developing the society we live in. They have the capability to determine the future, not only of a community and a nation; they can also shape future of the world.
The youth sector has this role of making the change that needs to be done in order to have a better community. If something is working for a certain outcome, there is a high dependence on youth for its maintenance. Simply put, they are in charge of making changes that matter and maintaining cultures that positively impact our communities. The youth is the backbone of the nation and the youth is indeed our future.
With these being said, the youth need to be empowered in order to play their role in the development of the society. Youth empowerment is one of the things that a community should look into in order to engage and involve the youth, especially in making the decisions for the future—the future that the youth will live in.
What is Youth Empowerment?
Youth empowerment is the process of involving the youth and the young population in the decision-making of a community. As the realization that the youth has a voice that a community should listen to; it also presents an avenue through which they can make their voices heard and recognize the power that they have.
Youth empowerment is characterized by efforts that help them be involved, whether in their education, community programs, and support services. We can also show youth empowerment by enhancing and strengthening their capabilities and role in the youth sector. There is this innate power within them that is capable of making this world a much better place, and through youth empowerment, we recognize this power and strengthen it more. We ignite the flame of their power towards the development of our society through youth empowerment.
Why is Youth Empowerment Important?
Empowering the youth is important because we need to give them the push they need in order to take control of their future. We need to equip them with the right tools in order to make better decisions for their future. Another reason is that this will help them cultivate their skills and discover their potential that will be beneficial to their personal and professional development. If they were able to unleash their best qualities, they have better chances of a better future.
Be it in the form of better judgment and wisdom when it comes to making decisions for their personal lives or by having a stellar career that not only helps them financially but also allows them to be an asset to the economy; youth empowerment also helps them better understand their roles and duties to the society. Through this, long-term effects of youth empowerment may lead to better perception of the youth sector towards education, poverty alleviation, even crime reduction and decrease in juvenile delinquency.
What are Examples of Youth Empowerment?
There are many ways and approaches to empower today’s youth. The communities they belong to must also recognize their roles when it comes to youth empowerment to allow them to reach their full potential. Formation of training and development initiatives that directly involve the youth should be present in their programs within their communities. Here are a few.
Youth empowerment may be done by presenting how education and knowledge help when it comes to having a better future. It is very important that the youth are educated. Literacy and having proper knowledge is also important. By making sure children have access to quality education or that we develop programs that cater to their knowledge needs, we are already a step toward the right direction.
Personal Development Trainings and Programs
Youth empowerment goes beyond formal education and knowledge development. Other training and programs such as vocational training, workshops, and leadership seminars will also help the youth realize their full potential. Through these initiatives, we can also target those areas, for instance, their creativity, that may not be addressed by education alone.
Another approach in empowering youth is through coaching and mentoring. Through these, we guide and assist the youth on a more personal level, making them better understand their roles and duties to the society as well as their capabilities.
Youth empowerment may also be done by introducing the youth sector to socio-civic organizations and encouraging them to take part in programs that help the communities. Through this, we are making them realize that they can contribute greatly to their community and that they are capable of making a change. Their strengthened connection and partnerships with organizations also gives them the sense of community engagement.
Other than these concrete examples of youth empowerment, it is also necessary to make other steps in order to make the youth feel empowered. Whenever they have the opportunity to make decisions, encourage and support them. Let them contribute and decide for the common good. Make it known to them that you trust their decision and that you believe that their decision is factual and beneficial, while keeping them grounded by providing guidance and leadership if needed.
Another way of practicing youth empowerment is by exposing them to role models they can look up to. Push them to step up, and encourage them to take on new challenges and lead others.
What are the Current Issues Related to Youth Empowerment?
There are still issues up to this day that hinder or affect youth empowerment or their involvement as a whole, and one of them is poverty. With poverty come other issues that include one’s limited or lack of access to basic and quality education and other resources. Poverty also comes into picture when an individual has to focus on making sure that they have access to necessities before making sure that they engage in programs that support youth empowerment.
Other issues worthy of note are lack of exposure and involvement in community programs and the absence of role models and mentors. Being oppressed when it comes to decision making is also among the problems hampering youth empowerment. The society’s stereotype that the youth are still too young to actively participate and to collaborate is still another challenge. Other sectors of the communities’ rejection of the capabilities and the youth also pose issues related to youth empowerment.
Childhope Philippines’ Programs and Projects to Empower Youth
Notwithstanding the challenges at hand, we at Childhope Philippines strongly believe in youth empowerment and what they can do for our community. Because of that, we make sure that we do what we can in order to give the youth the push that they need in order to realize their full potential. We implement programs and projects that enable the youth to develop and be the leader that they are. Our programs are geared toward making the youth be drivers of change and development in our communities.
Our Street Education and Protection (STEP) Program is divided into 4 major components; through which we implement activities that aim to ensure holistic development for the children and youth that we meet.
Our school on the streets. Recognizing education as one of the approaches to empowering youth, we make sure that we educate the children under our care through Alternative Learning System (ALS) wherein we use modules and audiovisual equipment to conduct classes and trainings. Our KalyEskwela uses a mobile van for a wider reach.
Youth empowerment also encompasses the well-being of the youth. We provide counseling for those who might have trouble dealing with stress and challenges that they encounter, especially while learning.
KliniKalye, our mobile health clinic, provides primary preventive medical care, consultations, and treatments to make sure that our youth is in optimum health condition to learn.
We provide leadership trainings, computer literacy trainings, sports and arts clinics, among others. We ensure that we also nurture their values and personalities as part of our youth empowerment programs. In line with our KalyEskwela efforts, we also do livelihood trainings for those who are capable and educational aid for those who might need help with going back to the formal school system.
To know more about our initiatives, check out our other youth empowerment projects.
What You Can Do
You can be the hope of our future leaders by joining us in our cause and supporting our efforts to empower our youth through education. You can share and send donations to help us in what we do for our youth. Join us by being a volunteer! You can be an advocate of change and be a driver of youth empowerment. Together, we can ensure that our youth are being honed into the leaders that they are.