On January 22nd AKFC collaborated with WUSC and CECI to present the Youth Employment and Entrepreneurship Stream at the International Forum in Ottawa. The Stream, which was funded by Global Affairs Canada, was part of the broader International Forum, which saw over 500 participants engaging on the theme of Inclusive Markets, Inclusive Societies.
The Youth Employment and Entrepreneurship Stream was designed to be interactive and informative, and featured ten speakers, two facilitators, four case studies and lively discussion by over 250 participants on the pressing issues that youth face globally.
The first session featured a moderated panel discussion between experts from CivicAction, McKinsey Social Initiative and Aga Khan Rural Support Program in Pakistan, who set the scene for the day through reflections on the work they have done to foster economic opportunities for youth.
In the next session participants heard about youth-focussed projects being implemented by WUSC, AKFC, MEDA and CARE Canada. Participants then worked through these case studies in small groups, and explored various approaches to youth livelihoods and lessons learned.
After lunch HeartWood Centre for Community Youth Development facilitated a workshop that introduced participants to their framework for community youth development. The framework identifies core values, tools for growth and community resources that should be in place to ensure meaningful participation by youth.
The day ended with reflections from two young entrepreneurs from Canada and Sri Lanka who spoke about their experiences with youth entrepreneurship programs. They were then joined by the expert panel, who offered their closing reflections.
Participants were encouraged to get involved and to learn more about how they can contribute to creating youth economic opportunities. You can also do your part by starting with these simple actions:
- Talk to a young person about their experience with employment and entrepreneurship.
- Read up on youth employment and entrepreneurship initiatives in Canada and the developing world. Start with the organizations mentioned in this article, as well as the Guardian’s Youth Unemployment page and the Youth Economic Opportunities webpage.
- Consider how you might help create economic opportunities for youth.
- If you are a young person facing these challenges, consider doing research to find out about the programs that are available to you.