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Plan India & ADB collaborate for the ‘Asian Youth Forum 2013

New Delhi, April 25, 2013: Plan India partners with the Asian Development Bank to organise the first edition of Asian Youth Forum, to be held at the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi, from April 30th to 1st May, 2013, to ensure young people have the right and the capacity to participate in matters that impact their lives.

Through this forum, Asia’s Youth will be empowered to:

  • Learn and acquire new skills to support their work in their respective communities
  • Contribute towards the sustainable solutions to problems faced by their generation
  • Advocate for the participation and empowerment of young people at an international level

The Youth Forum will include two days of intensive training, skill building workshops, and panel discussions, to prepare them for their active participation at the Civil Society Program of the ADB Board of Governors Annual Meeting where they will be speakers, reactors, and social media reporters.

The Youth Forum will provide space for training and developing capacities of the young participants for advocacy and public participation including the use of media tools and provide spaces for them to voice their concerns and contribute actively in the development of solutions.

A Challenging Future

While young people are indeed better poised than ever before to participate and benefit from the advancement of social, economic and political developments, the challenges that this generation will face are at a scale previously unseen before # (World Bank Group, 2007).

The 350 million young workers in Asia provide potential for stimulating economic growth through employment, asset creation, and investment. However, if youth enter into adulthood without quality education and skills it results in unemployment, poverty and social dislocation. Estimated at 36.4 million, the Asia region has the biggest portion of unemployed youth. Furthermore, 152 million young people in middle and low income countries are paid less than US$1.25 per day. Forced out of school due to economic reasons, 24% of working youth in Asia are doomed into low paying jobs in the vulnerable conditions.

Participating in Their Future

Children and young people have the right and the capacity to participate in matters that will impact their lives.  The future is theirs, therefore they should be given space on the stage to voice their issues and contribute to the solutions to these issues. Recognising and hearing the youth will improve “client power,” making development interventions more responsive to youth # (World Bank Group, 2004). By increasing youth participation early on, they become more likely to have higher ability and willingness to engage in active citizenship in the future # (World Bank Group, 2007). By participating in decision-making and accepting the responsibilities of their decisions, over time children and young people learn to become active citizens. # (Plan International program guide)

As a major human resource for development, young people are “key agents for social change and driving force for economic development and technological innovation.” If nurtured and let flourish through empowerment, youth’s potential will be unlocked to become important resources for the continuing development of Asia and the Pacific region # (United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, 2007).

Plan India and Youth Participation goal

Plan India, a child centered development organisation is working in India since 1979 with the mission to bring lasting change in the life of underprivileged children. Plan works in partnership with grassroot NGOs and government bodies to facilitate poor and marginalised communities to participate in their own development and thus ensure that children enjoy their right to be protected from abuse and exploitation, provided with early childhood care, quality education, optimal healthcare, safe water, healthy environment, and household economic security.

Right to children’s participation as active citizen is at the heart of all Plan’s programme intervention areas. Plan enables adolescent and young girls and boys to be active participants in their community governance and support them to plan and implement actions for community participation and development. The main objective of child participation is:

  1. To build capacity of youth adults, particularly girls and women, to organise and express themselves as active citizens
  2. To provide space for young adults to monitor the implementation of child rights programming by government and NGOs and recommendations of the UN committee on CRC
  3. To create an enabling environment for youth participation at all levels through behaviour change in duty bearers

Plan India currently works across 5000 communities in eleven states in India and has positively impacted the lives of over a million children and young adults.