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Brussels: Diving into the Heart of Development Policies

Liviane Urquiza's picture

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I just returned from Brussels where I met five very determined individuals. Whether an entrepreneur, a doctoral student, a ministerial chief of staff, or the head of a community organization in the slums of Nairobi, these five young people have one common goal: to fight for a more just future. And to achieve this goal, they have chosen to use both their talent and their determination to intensify the pace of social progress in their country.

Benedetta Mwongeli Kyengo (Kenya), Bruce Dube (South Africa), Crystal Fiallo (Dominican Republic), and María de los Ángeles Lasa and Alexis Estevez (Argentina) were guests of the World Bank at the Brussels Forum.

Click on the slideshow below for their portraits

The schedule for the trip was packed. No sooner had they been introduced than they had to set off for their first major meeting...  

For African Youth, Informal Sectors Jobs Are Normal

Ravi Kumar's picture

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 Youth Forum Breakfast, Abuja, Nigeria. Photo: Bamidele Emmanuel Oladokun / World BankYouth Forum Breakfast, Abuja, Nigeria. Photo: Bamidele Emmanuel Oladokun / World Bank

In 2011 African heads of state met in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, for the African Union Summit. It was held under the theme: "Accelerating Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Development." The main aim of the gathering was to deliberate on Africa's youth which is growing faster than any other continent. More than 200 million people in Africa are between ages 15 through 24.

“Africa is the youngest continent. The current youth of Africa are not only important for Africa but also for the world,” said Shantayanan Devarajan, Chief Economist for the World Bank’s Africa region. Young people are usually the ones who lead innovation and are a source of labor force of any economy, Devarajan added.

What Questions Do You Have on Youth Financial Services?

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CGAP Youth and Financial services

Photo: Farida Parveen is a successful entrepreneur in Manikgong district, she was destitute until taking a loan to start a small poultry farm. © 2011 CGAP contest.

Youth are particularly vulnerable to economic problems. They often don’t have access to financial services due to lack of education and employment. Governments are aware of this and are working to find solutions.

President Kim Discusses Role of Youth in India’s Bold Future

Ravi Kumar's picture

Local boys look on during the visit of World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim to the low income suburb of Gwaltoli on his tour of Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh state, India. 

"India must take advantage of having a young population. Never doubt the possibilities for this country,” said World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim to youth in India. During an hour-long NDTV program, President Kim answered questions that ranged from reducing poverty to tackling water crises in the country.

Enough is Enough: Stop Violence against Women!

Naomi Ahmad's picture

Arne Hoel/World BankOne in every three women in the world will be physically or sexually abused at some point in her life. This could include the woman sitting next to you on the bus, your little niece playing in the garden, or even a friend you have known all your life.

For years, Rumana Manzur, assistant professor at Dhaka University, had been silent about the abuse she suffered at the hands of her husband. But on June 5, 2011, Manzur was brutally attacked at home. Her husband beat her mercilessly, tried to gouge out her eyes, and bit off part of her nose in a fit of rage. Their 5-year-old daughter was in the room and witnessed this inhuman act. Manzur is now blind, her daughter traumatized for life.

What Makes a Person Good? We Asked Teens from Around the World

Stacy Morford's picture

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How would you define a “good boy” or a “good girl”? Would he help with chores around the house? Would she earn good grades in school?

In a study to learn more about how gender norms influence people’s lives today, the World Bank asked more than 4,000 men, women, boys, and girls from 20 countries about their beliefs about gender and how gender norms shape their everyday lives and decisions. The study put them into single-sex focus groups so the participants could challenge one another’s ideas and build on new ideas.

How Are African Youth Doing? Interactive Map Helps Visualize Progress and Challenges

Ravi Kumar's picture

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What can be done to help African youth improve their prospects for a brighter future?

The first step might be to understand the challenges they face.

Recently, Microsoft Chairman and philanthropist Bill Gates wrote a terrific piece in the Wall Street Journal on why we need to measure the world’s problems to solve them. “You can achieve incredible progress if you set a clear goal and find a measure that will drive progress toward that goal…,” said Gates.

That’s true.

Nepal Youth Pictures Inequality, Wins Photo Contest

Ravi Kumar's picture

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Nepal Youth Pictures Inequality, Wins Photo Contest

Among the evocative winning photos in the World Bank’s recent “Picture Inequality” contest was one that hit home for me.

It shows a skinny teenager crushing stones so they could be used to construct gravel roads in Nepal. The picture captured the sense of helplessness many youth feel in Nepal, a landlocked country in South Asia that is struggling to recover from a decade-long civil war. And it brought to mind the saying a photograph is worth a thousand words.

The photographer, Niraj Prasad Koirala, 24, of Nepal, was one of 10 winners whose photographs and statements best captured inequality and described how they would make a better world. Koirala’s photo was one of 11 chosen by a panel of experts from 756 photos received between October 25 and December 16, 2012. 

"I was very happy when I got to read the winning message from the World Bank. It was my one of the greatest moments in life," says Koirala.

From Afghanistan to World Bank, Youth Orchestra Brings a Beautiful Harmony

Ravi Kumar's picture

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Afghanistan National Institute of Music Concert

Students from the Afghanistan National Institute of Music (ANIM) play in the Wolfensohn Atrium.

There are days when your faith in humanity is not only restored but strengthened. Today was one of those days.

On a sunny afternoon in Washington, D.C., young students from Afghanistan showed off their musical talent in an orchestral performance at the World Bank.

I was inspired and excited to see the group of musicians, aged 9 to 21, who had travelled so far from a war-torn country to perform. As someone who grew up during a decade-long civil war in Nepal, I can in some ways relate to their hard work, persistence, and determination to excel despite all odds.

An Inspiring Story of a Young South Asian Artist

Ravi Kumar's picture

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Can art change your vision for the future?

During the third week of January on a chilly Tuesday evening in Washington, D.C., young artists from the South Asia region gathered in the Wolfensohn Atrium of the World Bank for an exhibition of Imagining Our Future Together, a group exhibition organized by the World Bank to feature works from 25 young South Asian artists. Their art reflects their hope to make South Asia a more united region.

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