Across all of the regions where we work, youth unemployment is twice that of adults. At the Aga Khan Foundation, we’re working to close this gap and boost the economic wellbeing of young people.
In East Africa, Asia and the Middle East, youth populations are booming. Young people are increasingly educated and globally connected, yet many marginalised youth continue to face barriers to education and employment. By enabling all young people to build their skills, find work and contribute to society, we stand the best chance of building a better future for everyone. At AKF, we work closely with governments, universities, civil society groups and the private sector to generate employment opportunities for young people so that they can harness their power and blaze a trail for future generations.
On International Youth Day, meet some of the inspiring youth we’re working with around the world to achieve this goal.
Lucy Nyawira is a mother, community advocate and budding entrepreneur from coastal Kenya. In her village, youth unemployment is at an all-time high due to COVID-19.
Through entrepreneurship training supported by AKF and the EU, she’s now running two businesses and earning an income to provide for her family.
As a young woman, Nurgul is passionate about improving employment opportunities for youth in her community – particularly girls.
With funding from USAID, AKF has supported her to follow her dreams of setting up a sewing school in her village so that local girls can build their skills in order to find jobs in the city.
At just 19, Risolat has started her own nannying business through training provided by the Local Impact project, a partnership between USAID and AKF.
She learned how to develop a business plan, calculate budgets and effectively communicate her ideas. Risolat has ambitions to expand her business & open a centre that connects nannies with families who need childcare.
At 23, Taiar António is the leader of his community’s youth village development organisation, which is supported by AKF. Through this group, youth can access decision-making spaces & engage in issues impacting their lives.
Taiar is leading discussions on peace and development and inspiring his peers to strengthen social cohesion threatened by instability in Cabo Delgado.
Vadhiya Jaya Masaribha lives in Gujurat on the west coast of India. India has one of the world’s youngest populations, but many youth do not have the skills to access the country’s growing workforce.
Vadhiya attended training at Yuva Junction, a centre offering youth skills development, education and entrepreneurship programmes established by the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme India (AKRSPI), and is now working at a large financial services company.
Uqaab’s dreams of attending university and becoming a doctor were put on hold when schools in Afghanistan were forced to close during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As part of our humanitarian response to the crisis in Afghanistan, AKF supported students like Uqaab to catch up on their studies. He’s been able to prepare for and sit his entrance exams and follow his dreams.
At just 29, Nabeel Siddique is the CEO and co-founder of Modulus Tech, a company building net-zero homes in Pakistan, where 1.6 million people lack adequate housing. So far, Nabeel’s company has saved up to 7,448 tons in CO2 emissions.
His business is supported by Accelerate Prosperity, a business support programme in Central Asia led by AKF, AKFED & the EU.
Badilina Mpangalala is from Mwanza in Tanzania. Across East Africa, many young people like her have struggled to find work and employment opportunities as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Through AKF’s COVID-19 response programme in the region supported by the EU, Badilina has completed entrepreneurship training via her local youth group, equipping her with the skills and knowledge to run her own business.
Atyero Trinity is a member of one of 36 youth groups in Uganda supported by In Their Hands programme, implemented by AKF. Recently the groups have been taking part in training developed by AKF to holistically address adolescent health and wellbeing needs.
Based on what she’s learnt, Atyero and her group have set up an arts and crafts business, making items like sandals and door mats to sell to their local community.
Shimaa always dreamt of finding a job that supported her financially whilst also supporting her community. She lacked access to education and therefore the skills to chase her dream.
Through AKF’s Aswan Skills Development Programme (ASDP), funded by Global Affairs Canada, she was offered a scholarship to the Faculty of Nursing and is now in her final year of nursing training.
Mariana is a coordinator at The One Zion Association, an organisation which develops activities for young people living in Sintra, Portugal.
After taking part in an internship programme supported by AKF, she gained the skills to lead a project at the association she works at. Now, she dreams of being able to do something similar in her parents’ country – Guinea-Bissau – to help children and young people there.
Misbah is a mentor for adolescents in Pakistan’s Lower Chitral district. He is passionate about creating an environment where youth can flourish and reach their full potential.
He received mentorship training through the Sehatmand Khandaan project, led by the Aga Khan Rural Support Porgramme in Pakistan. The project aims to address social barriers to sexual and reproductive health services for young people.