East African youth are seeking a greater voice in their future, according to new youth-led research released recently by The MasterCard Foundation Youth Think Tank.The peer-to-peer report, ‘Insights into Youth Economic Activities in East Africa‘, prepared by Youth Think Tank members, provides key insights into youth employment and entrepreneurship trends in East Africa.
“The Youth Think Tank demonstrates the dedication and energy of young people to seek positive change within their communities,” said Ann Miles, Director, Financial Inclusion and Youth Livelihoods at The MasterCard Foundation. “Their research is an important piece of work that will help to inform not only the Foundation’s strategy for expanding youth economic opportunities, but also governments and policymakers in the youth development space.”
The Youth Think Tank was established in 2012 to ensure that young people are meaningfully engaged in improving their economic opportunities in Africa. In partnership with The MasterCard Foundation, youth-led international development agency Restless Development recruited, trained and supported 15 youth from Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya to conduct research in their respective communities on the challenges and opportunities facing youth when they enter the labour market.
“I have observed first-hand the sense of disempowerment that comes with youth unemployment,” said Youth Think Tank Member Hilda Namakula from Uganda. “Through this research, I can be part of the solution by gaining an in-depth understanding of this problem and being a voice for youth.”
The report, which includes data from more than 400 interviews with youth, government representatives and other stakeholders across the region, found that young people in East Africa are optimistic about developing their skills, pursuing self-employment and are eager to participate in the policy decisions that impact their lives.