Youth make up a sub­stan­tial por­tion of Myan­mar’s pop­u­la­tion

Mizzima Business Weekly - - CONTENTS -

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.

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