About 41 percent of the world’s unemployed are youth — CCF is trying to change this statistic. As part of CCF’s ongoing advocacy work at the United Nations (U.N.), on Feb. 6, Devorah Miller, CCF’s Senior Program Specialist of Micro-enterprise Development, took part in an interactive panel discussion titled “Where Are the Youth?”
Miller was able to offer her perspective regarding the benefits of micro-finance programs for unemployed and underemployed youth, as well as valuable information regarding CCF’s life-skills building programs.
Miller emphasized the need for youth specific programs such as early parenthood and HIV/AIDS. “Micro-finance and self-employment in the informal sector offer an opportunity that is appropriate in post-conflict and other challenging environments where formal employment opportunities are limited,” Miller said.
Miller says there is often a mismatch between the skill sets of youth and the skills needed by businesses in the formal sector. As a means to bridge that gap, Miller highlighted the importance of pairing vocational skills training with broader life-skills, such as resource management, communication, confidence building and decision making.
The U.N. asked CCF to participate in this panel because of the successes CCF has had in micro-enterprise development programming in the developing world.
The event was part of the Commission for Social Development which had as its theme, “Full Employment and Decent Work for All.” The interactive panel discussion was sponsored by the U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs’ Programme on Youth.
Survey of Effective Practices in Employment
On Feb. 7, Mirellise Vazquez, CCF’s Partnership Development Officer, moderated a workshop for the NGO Committee for Social Development on Models of Effective Practices of Employment. The workshop took place during the U.N. Commission for Social Development events.
The discussion focused on the results of a survey which aimed to identify employment-related programs that succeed in reducing poverty.
The survey was completed by 50 projects in 37 countries. CCF staff accounted for 28 percent of the survey responses from 18 countries, and included communities involved in employment-related programs, such as the reintegration of child soldiers, youth vocational training and empowering women to participate in financial services.
The overall findings of the survey identified three elements of particular importance to the success of employment-related programs: multi-level collaboration, communication and sustainability.
CCF India’s employment programs are examples of successful programs that contain these elements. CCF India forms self-help groups of women who are involved in beneficiary selection, funds disbursal and repayment of loans. These women’s groups collaborate with government officials and banks. Micro-finance programs for parents and youth, and vocational skills programs provide families with the means to create sustainable livelihoods.
As an active participant of the NGO Committee for Social Development, CCF demonstrated its leadership and commitment to improving the livelihoods of families and the well-being of children.