Youth is Africa’s Future
Why empower youth?
In Africa, youth accounted for 60% of the unemployed workforce in 2005, with women even more unlikely to be employed than men. By 2015, Africa’s youth population is expected to increase by 36 million while the labor force is expected to grow by 22 million, reaching a total of 135 million.
Youth employment is both an economic and a security issue for Africa, with the lack of decent livelihood opportunities as one of the driving forces behind violence or organized crime. It is also a cultural challenge since large families (up to 7 children) in areas dependent on subsistence farming, are under significant pressure Only the first or second children have any hope of inheriting the farm land that has been held in the same families for millennia. That means that the additional 3-6 children typical in these family units are relegated to work on the family farms with only the hope of earning shelter and food. Many will be lured away to other countries because of their skills as cultivators, further deteriorating the family and social structure.
Sub-Saharan Africa is going through fast social, political, and economic transformations that have a deep impact on youth. Promoting youth employment is one of the 21st century challenges of the sub-continent.
The Noar Foundation empowers youth in rural areas with practical skills so they can envision a future locally, without relying on subsistence farming.
With almost half of the Togolese population under 18, the future of the country is within youth’s hands
African youth facts and figures
- Almost half of Africa’s population is under 25; about 75% is under the age of 35. It is estimated that by 2050, Africa will account for 29% of all people aged 15 to 24. This is about 348 million of the total 1.2 billion persons globally.
- More than 50 per cent of Africa’s youth are illiterate.
- In 2007, youth unemployment rate in sub-Saharan Africa was 11.5 per cent. It has been around 12 per cent for the last decade.
- Combined enrolment in primary education in Central, Western, Eastern and Southern African increased from 53.7 per cent in 1991 to 70.75 percent in 2006.
- Education progress in narrowing the gender gap and increasing literacy levels have had little impact on unemployment rates
We strive to empower the youth in the rural communities in which we intervene and in every step we take. We work to teach practical knowledge, provide employment opportunities and promote gender equality. Through youth empowerment, we encourage economic development, reduce population displacement, enhance community cohesiveness and local security. We seek to give young people the necessary tools to build a sustainable, bright future.
An example, the KidsKits school partnerships
o A project designed to empower school-aged students with knowledge in solar technologies, raise green energy awareness and improve the quality of life of those living off grid.
o The project is based on assessing the need for youth in Togo to access light and improve their conditions of life; and youth in the US to understand the importance of renewable energy and the ongoing challenges of a Togolese peer living in remote areas.
In Togo and the United States as of now. Youth coordinators located in both countries ensure the success of the project.
• Combining a small solar panel, a battery and 1 to 3 LED diodes; they provide enough light to change the life of hundreds of people living off grid.
• Easy to build and with components that are inexpensive, these kits can easily be assembled and used by kids.
It allows kids to read at night:
In villages where there is no electricity, at night the kids can’t read or do their homework. A simple kit with 3 LEDs provides light for about 10 hours and allows reading easily.
It can be used as a flashlight:
Things as simple as from one house to another at night can be greatly simplified by the DIY Solar Kit.
It can power a radio or a calculator:
The DIY Solar Kit can replace batteries to power small electronic devices as radios or calculators. When batteries would be expensive and damage the environment, solar is a free, renewable source of energy, with the potential to improve lives of thousands of students.
In the U.S.:
For high school students:
• An emergency cell phone charger made of a small solar panel with an iPhone and USB connection
• Can be assembled by the American youth while rising sustainability and solar awareness
Solar toys for the youngest:
Learn about environmental issues, basics of electricity and nowadays’ challenges while having fun building educational toys.
It’s Time to Raise Awareness of Environmental Issues:
• The United States uses nearly a million dollars worth of energy each minute, 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
• With less than 5% of the world’s population, the United States consumes about one-fourth of the world’s energy resources and about 5 times more per person than the world average.
• More than two billion people cannot access affordable energy services today and depend on inefficient locally collected and often unprocessed biomass-based fuels, such as crop residues, wood and animal dung.
Solar energy, cash crop farming, textile industry… Sub-Saharan Africa is rich of its natural resources and traditional art. The Noar Foundation focuses on practical skills to empower youth and generate employment opportunities.
In the villages in which we intervene, we train youth to convert dangerous and unhealthy kerosene lamps into safe and sustainable solar ones, start micro businesses to build, repair and sell the lamps; build charging stations using solar energy to have a center point for people to recharge their electronic units; plant, harvest, process, package and sell tea produced locally; and expand the west-African textile industry.
All these projects empower youth and give them means of incomes to stay within the communities they grew up in, preventing family dislocation and impoverishment.
Want to help? Donate to empower youth!
The Noar Foundation for global community development
Donations are tax decuctible in the USA. We are registered in the USA as a 501(C)3 Not-For-Profit Organization