Mayu Muto, left, receives the Grand Prize for the 3rd Annual Development Slogan Contest from Kazushige Taniguchi, Special Representative of the World Bank in Tokyo.
“We will not let poverty hamper your future.”
That’s the English translation of Mayu Muto’s grand-prize winning entry in the third Development Slogan Contest sponsored by the Tokyo office of the World Bank.
Maya believes poverty should not dictate anyne’s future. She gave an inspiring speech in Japanese on Saturday early afternoon as she received her prize from Kazushige Taniguchi, Special Representative of the World Bank, along with three other Excellence Award winners of the third Development Slogan Contest. The contest is held every year in Tokyo to deepen understanding about development issues among Japanese youth.
The World Bank has launched a global conversation on social media centered around a question: what it will take... to end poverty? ... for your family to be better off? This week, people from around the world are sharing ideas on what it will take to get more girls in school.
On a rainy Sunday afternoon, a group of young people gathered near the World Bank’s booth at the 2012 Global Festa in Tokyo’s Hibiya Park. They shared their views on what it will take to end poverty, adding to hundreds of postcards dotting a wall at the exhibit.
When my team and I started working on the World Development Report 2013, slightly more than a year ago, we were puzzled. We had been asked to write about jobs, and there was no doubt that they were a major concern around the world. Events such as the global crisis or the Arab spring had put jobs center stage. In developing countries, finding employment opportunities for massive numbers of youth entering the labor force was urgent. Middle-income countries were struggling to move up the value-added ladder in production and to extend the coverage of social protection. Technology and globalization were changing the nature of work worldwide. In all cases, jobs were at stake. And they were clearly one of the main preoccupations of policy makers everywhere.
Last week, we launched a global conversation on what will it take... to end poverty? ....for your family to be better off? .... for all to get an education? This week, people from around the world joined the discussion with their own question: #whatwillittake for youth to get better jobs?
For me, one of the most fruitful aspects of ‘field trips’ such as last week’s visit to see Oxfam’s work in the Philippines is the exchange it sets up in my head between the academic literature and debates I’ve been ploughing through in the UK, and the reality of our work on the ground. A good trip confirms, improves or adds to your thinking, and occasionally shows you that you have got it all wrong. This was particularly true on this occasion as our staff and partners in the Philippines are both real thinkers (one guy passed a long car ride by listening to a lecture on Hegel on his laptop ‘for fun’) and activists (more on that tomorrow). The quality of discussions in a Manila seminar on active citizenship and food justice was truly impressive – nuanced and open minded, with no sign of the dogmatic, fissiparous Left I saw on my last visit in 1998 (when I had to give the same lecture twice because different fractions refused to sit in the same room). First some (relatively minor) new insights from all these interactions:
A few months ago, there was an interesting news story on National Public Radio (NPR) about the experience of “first globals,” a generation of 20 to 30 year old public service oriented Americans that are increasingly living, studying, and working abroad. John Zogby, an American political pollster, was credited in this news piece as having chronicled this trend in his book, The Way We'll Be: The Zogby Report on the Transformation of the American Dream. In Zogby’s description of first globals, a term he coined, he described this generation on NPR by stating:"Two out of three of them have passports. They are well-traveled; technologically they have networks that include people all over the world. They have a desire to be nimble, to go anywhere and to be anywhere. They also have a desire to change their world and feel like they're in a position to do that."
This phenomenon has a lot of promise in the area of development, where the combination of shared experience, youth networks, and strategic engagement has the potential to address some of the most complex global challenges.
Sirikarn, a Thai university student, opted for a bachelor's degree taught in English. English language skills open more job opportunities and make further education abroad possible. Photo: Gerhard Jörén / World Bank
Welcome to the new blog for Youthink! -- where youth from around the world can share ideas and stories on global development.
As you can see, we’ve made some changes from the previous Youthink! site. With our new blog home, we hope to increase engagement with you and make it easier than ever to share ideas and learn about development.
As we drive along the semi-paved roads leading out of Juba, I wonder somewhat despondently how this one-year-old country that has been so deeply affected by conflict can prosper and grow with a literacy rate of just 27 percent. When we reach our destination—a tiny school that caters to poor children who are orphaned or with no family support, we are greeted by a loud welcome song. Children chant in a colorfully decorated hut led by a swaying young teacher whose baby sleeps peacefully on her back.
The vibe in the hut energizes me, and I begin to realize what the resilience of this nation is all about. Some of the facts in a new report on education in South Sudan start to come alive to me. This country has come a long way within a short period of time, but still has a very long way to go to catch up with the rest of Africa. Some of the children in this hut are among the 700,000 more students who were able to enroll in school between 2005 and 2009.