Youth make up a substantial portion of Myanmar’s population
Myanmar has a significantly large young population, where about 55 percent of the total population is under the age of 30, and 19 percent fall into the adolescent category (10-19 years old), according to latest Myanmar census data.
According to the NGO ActionAid, the youth today will become future leaders, and in an emerging democratic country like Myanmar, it is crucial to get this young generation on board to achieve effective and inclusive development of the country. However, throughout the NGO’s experience, it has been noticed that the citizen engagement in Myanmar is relatively low due to poor access to information, political perception and social-cultural norms, while adolescents as a particular age group experiencing a critical transition from childhood to adulthood, often find they are neglected in the development agenda.
With the ActionAid Myanmar’s existing strength of fellowship and child rights programme, the “Adolescent Engagement Program,” which just started last year, is aimed to address the generational gaps and to support the Myanmar adolescents to benefit from the reform process, and to further create a greater space for them to voice their needs and aspirations.
Up to date, the NGO has facilitated a series of training to enhance adolescents’ understanding of self-development, child rights, leadership skills, etc, and more than 200 adolescent clubs in eight townships have been established as an open space for them to have peer support and mentorship from Fellows.
It was with this in mind that as part of efforts to enhance adolescent network, a nation-wide adolescent conference was held to bring together adolescents and stakeholders including government officials, NGOs, and youth groups from across the country.