Global Issues

Global steps

 

 

- Transforming youth potential

Global Issues

 

Global Steps is primarily concerned with young people. We believe young people are integral in the achievement of Global objectives. Youths worldwide posses enormous skills and abilities but face a myriad of challenges that limit them from achieving their life objectives. The following are the Global issues affecting youths worldwide or that are of concern to the youths.

Courtesy ; world assembly of youths : www.way.org

 

 

Youth and Poverty

Poverty is a worldwide predicament, no continent nor is any society immune to it. It deprives people of their basic human needs and it hinders community development and in the process spiraling various youth issues. Families cannot afford to take their children to school and in the long run this leads to the children loitering the streets and will more than often resort to crime related activities because they lack the skills and knowledge to get proper employment. Apart from education, resources like food, clean water and healthcare are not really accessible to the poor communities, leading to illnesses that usually end up taking the lives of these young people and that of their relatives. Youth who endure growing up in poverty ridden communities are usually prone to suffer from social discrimination and exclusion which affects their emotional wellbeing. There are more social ills linked to poverty like teenage pregnancy and child bearing which is more prominent in poorer communities than in wealthy communities, the same goes for child marriages and HIV knowledge among youths. Statistics show that the number of girls being married before the age of 18 is higher in the poorest regions of the world particularly Eastern Africa, Western Africa and South Central Asia.

 

There are many factors that lead to poverty; misuse of environment in terms of intensive farming leading to soil erosion, desertification, overgrazing and deforestation that cause a decline in agricultural yields therefore increasing poverty. Economic factors such as, tax haven-related issues and unfair terms of trade may also lead to poverty. Moreover, governance-based factors also contribute to poverty in regard to ineffectiveness in governmental performance, weak rule of law, and mismanagement of funds which are intended to cater for needs of the poor.

 

Relevant stakeholders have implemented strategies to eradicate poverty. Media fulfills a significant role in responding to and amplifying attitudes and ideas of society toward poverty. On the other hand a concern about poverty towards youth has attracted many non-governmental organizations to contribute through specially designed programs and actions for the purpose of eradicating poverty and poverty related issues suffered by young people. Many governments are also hands-on the matter, they do not only highlight specific attention in a form of a particular initiative; they have various plans in place to eradicate poverty instead.

 

Youth and Employment

Employment is a major concern among all societies with youth as the main affected by the issue. Recently the world has seen a meltdown in economies, causing layoffs, and unemployment. Youth have been greatly affected because most of them are only at the stage of seeking employment for the first time after school, and they are disadvantaged due to lack of experience. Most employers are looking to cut losses and maximize profits with as few as possible employees and in the process casting away fresh graduates because they are only learners. The number of youth unemployment keeps on escalating year after year especially in developing countries.

 

Many young people tend to give up on looking for jobs due to discouragement by these high unemployment rates. Most of them decide to postpone seeking for employment and continue to study because they are left with no other choice and in end it ends up lengthening the transition process from study-life to working life. The lengthy transition process is also caused by the crisis happening in the global labor market that involves an increase in involvement of youth in unproductive, temporary and part-time work. Educational attainment is highly correlated with employment-outcomes. However, sadly high level of educational attainment does not directly result to more job-opportunities. Therefore, it is crucial to understand characteristics of unemployed youth in the world and all issues happening in labour markets.

 

All of these issues bring serious concerns and responses from various stakeholders which are international organizations, government-bodies, NGOs, private sectors and youth, themselves. They are working hand in hand to create a way to reduce youth unemployment by using mechanisms such as placing youth in a labor market process where they can move from study-life to working life smoothly.

 

Youth and Education

Education plays a very crucial factor in developing the creative thinking ability of young people and providing all the necessary skills and knowledge that are required to shape a competitive and productive individual. Generally, education helps young people to prepare themselves for challenges that they are going to face during adulthood.

 

The educational crisis among youth has been provoked by several sub-crises like low enrolment rate in primary and secondary education, poor education quality, issues of gender imparity that are related to educational access and cases of neglected informal education programs over formal education. Impacts of these sub- crises on the youth include unemployment, underemployment, health issues, low growth in nation's economy and they are barriers in promoting women's rights, self-expression and civic engagement. Good education unleashes potential but with the absence of it, many opportunities that young people would have benefited from will be forgone.

 

Different stakeholders have been working towards an educated population, with youth being their main concern. Policies have been put in place to promote education and its benefits to young people. Various governments and private sector entities have sponsorship programs that are aimed at helping the less fortunate to afford education. The media has also launched many educational programs as a way to promote education among youth.

 

Youth and Globalization

Globalization affects the youth and the whole society at large. Global transformations that range from cultural, historical, technological and demographic changes require youth to develop new skills and habits that are far ahead of what the educational system can nowadays deliver. Globalization has opened up new opportunities for sustainable economic growth. Countries share experiences in their achievements and they learn from one another's difficulties. It has promoted a cross fertilization of ideas, cultural values and aspirations, thus it has helped to connect youth not only to the rest of the world but also among each other.

 

Many young people especially in developing countries remain marginalized from the global economy. They are incapable of accessing the opportunities that globalization offer due to inadequate education, limited skills, poverty or they cannot reach out to basic information and communication, and the goods and services that have become available with globalization. Among the negative impacts of globalization is the margin between the wealthy and the poor, whereby assets of 200 wealthy people on earth are greater than the combined incomes of more than 2 billion of the poorest population. Young people are engulfed in this world of inequality and unfortunately they have to take part in this development process that is simultaneously bringing people closer yet widening the divisions between them.

 

Global communities should continue to support efforts of governments, NGOs, INGOs, media and private sector in anticipating and offsetting the negative social and economic consequences of globalization and maximizing its benefits for young people instead. It is the primary duty of governments and societies to ensure youth get access to higher education that meets the needs of a rapidly changing labor market associated with globalization. Efforts should be made to guarantee that youth migrants enjoy full respect for their human rights. Laws should be instilled against racism, ethnocentrism, xenophobia and cultural and religious intolerance to protect young people in this era of rapid globalization.

 

Youth and armed conflicts

Involvement of youth in armed conflict is due to the fact that the youth are passive victims in war. However, it has been noted that some of the youth, especially males are a threat to world peace. Involvement of young people in armed conflict is usually caused by poverty, lack of education and employment opportunities, seeking for protection, lack of political participation and peer pressure.

 

Armed conflicts bring about horrible destructive and negative impacts towards society especially youth, the environment and the economy of the country. One of major war impacts is the high rate of mortality which is caused by the war itself or even by the collateral effects of warfare such as famine, disease or lack of medical care due to destruction of health services. Other threats such as rape, sexual and physical abuse, sexual mutilation, exploitation, trafficking, prostitution, drug abuse, Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) and unwanted pregnancies are greatly exposed to the youth who are involved in armed conflicts. Moreover, other impact such as lack of knowledge or required skills and mental pressure known as PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) makes it difficult for the young people to be reintegrated back into society.

 

This particular issue has drawn many responses from a variety of stakeholders related to the protection of youth against the negative effect of warfare. These stakeholders include government, non- government organization, private sectors, media and the youth. Responses from them give a clearer picture on what has been done, what is done and what can be done.

 

Youth and Democracy

There is a need to cultivate a culture of democratic participation, especially among young people. Young people nowadays are equipped with equal and better opportunities to access information and gain knowledge about the concept of democracy and politics. This equal opportunity stretches out to participation of youth in democratic decisions like taking part in elections. However, even with the above given advantages that the youth have their interest in taking part in democratic matters is still lacking.

 

There are various reasons why youth choose to boycott partaking in democratic decisions. The disappointment with politics, the mistrust towards political parties and the complexity of democratic decision making process is creating this negative attitude among youth. They grow up seeing how the world turns out because of politics and most believe their efforts will not be even be recognized because they believe the system is corrupt. Problems related to or that arise from politics around the world dampen youth participation. Many countries still do not have fair elections to this day and that adds salt to the injury.

 

Relevant stakeholders, governments, NGOs, INGOs especially youth organizations and private sector, all are aware of the existing need to improve the participation of young people in democratic decision making processes. Governments still do not recognize the value of youth in sustaining and strengthening democracy. Democracy can only be sustained if all stakeholders and everyone concerned can pro actively foster and maintain democratic values and structures. Democracy has to be instilled at a very young age so that young citizens of the world can have internalized democratic principles and they can grow up to be young adults who are empowered to make responsible decisions.

 

Youth and leisure time activities

All societies recognize the importance of leisure time activities in the psychological, cognitive, civic, vocational and physical development of young people. That is why most cultures have specified times when young people are let off from formal activities such as work or school in order to engage in various activities of their own preference. Productive leisure is fundamental for both personal as well as social development of young people.

 

In order to promote youth engagement in productive leisure-activities, it is substantial to first conduct a detailed analysis to understand how youth nowadays spend their leisure-time. The right leisure programs eliminate social ills such as juvenile delinquency, drug abuse and other unpleasant behaviors. An engagement of youth in the right leisure activities appears to be higher in developed countries compared to developing countries. Lack of resources like libraries and sports facilities attribute to the lack of leisure activities in developing and undeveloped countries.

 

Governments are rising up to build recreational centers and parks to facilitate youth in order to curb crime rates and for the positive development of youth. International NGOs and local ones urge youths to take part in volunteerism as a way to keep them off the streets. A lot is being done by the stakeholders and positive outcomes are anticipated to be evident in the near future due to actions on various millennium development goals that are related to this issue.

 

Youth and Human rights

The knowledge and understanding of human rights is very important to each and every individual. There are two fundamental categories of human rights, substantive rights and legal rights. Substantive rights, that consist of the right to life; freedom from torture; freedom from slavery; freedom of speech; freedom of thought, conscience and religion; and the right to a fair trial, are very basic and vital rights that every single person including youth should have. Legal rights, on the other hand consist of six rights that include, civil and political rights; the rights of women, minorities, and groups; environmental rights; and social rights, which every citizen including youth is legally entitled to.

 

However, achievement of the world where the concept of human rights for all people is highly practiced is not without challenges. In certain parts of the world especially in developing countries violations of human rights towards minorities, women and subordinated groups still exist on a large scale. One of the most serious cases of human rights a violation is related to war crime, war of aggression, and crimes against humanity for example genocide. It has been observed that human rights violations are highly associated with inequality of access to public facilities and opportunities for a better livelihood.

 

Various key stakeholders such as international organizations, governmental bodies, non-governmental organizations, private sectors, media and youth themselves have been showing their concern by contributing to many activities and programs designed to promote and educate human rights related matters in all levels of society as well as to prevent any further violations of human rights in the future.

 

Youth and Health

Healthy and happy adolescents are in a better place to give out and to be the pillars and strengths of their societies as young citizens notwithstanding the major shifts occurring in the world they are about to inherit. It is not arguable that the youth represent one of the healthiest population groups as compared to other age groups.

 

The majority of youth have health issues that arise from bad habits and poor hygiene, persistent behavioral risks, poor basic sanitation, and new and emerging diseases. All these contribute to a deadly mix that is changing the classic picture of healthy youth. Other factors that contribute to youth health issues include accidents and injuries including those caused by insecurity, war and occupation. In all countries, whether developing, transitional or developed, disabilities and acute and chronic illnesses are often induced or compounded by economic hardship, unemployment, sanctions, embargoes, poverty or poorly distributed wealth. The cumulative toll of violence, HIV/AIDS and now tuberculosis on youth is adding to the already heavy price still being paid by child victims of malaria and vaccine-preventable diseases.

 

Relevant stakeholders have been working together or individually trying to address this issue and to combat the health crises faced by youths.

 

Youth and Population

Populations concerns are a major issue among societies and their devastating impacts affect the youth most as they are the larger portion of the world population. There are four major considerations with regard to population; overpopulation; limited natural and environmental resources; awareness and sensitization; and youth as a potential workforce.

 

Overpopulation occurs when the number of people in a particular area outnumbers the resources available to sustain them in that given area. It is a direct result of increased birth rates and decrease in human mortality rates. On the other hand, there is the issue of limited natural and environmental resources, especially in relation to non-renewable resources, which are continuously depleted due to extensive population growth in some parts of the world. It is pivotal to emphasize on the issue of awareness and sensitization with regard to youth and population. The above-mentioned issues are based on the fact that youth are the potential workforce and they could potentially perpetuate environmental degradation and depletion. It is therefore substantial to look into the impacts of population towards youth that include food and water shortage, environmental degradation, social, economic, and political impacts.

 

Given that population and its impacts, affect not only certain groups of societies, but also the global community as a whole, many international organizations, governmental bodies, non-governmental organizations, private sectors, media and youth themselves have shown their concern and even contribute in efforts to minimize and solve population related issues globally.

 

Youth and HIV/AIDS

The HIV/ AIDS pandemic has affected the world very badly. The statistics for the diseases keep on rising year after year. In 2011 thirty four million people were infected and living with HIV/AIDS. Youth have been hardly hit by this pandemic with 40% of new infections occurring among young people 15- 24 years old in 2009. These high infection rates are mostly rooted on women and young children due to sexual abuse.

 

The root cause of HIV/AIDS spread among youth is lack of knowledge about the disease and on the other hand it is their ignorance. Those who lack knowledge are mostly from developing countries, sub Saharan region more especially where numbers of infections are really high as compared to other regions. The ignorant youth are the ones who have all the information and resources to protect themselves from the disease but still they choose not to. There are many ways that HIV/AIDS can be transmitted like unprotected sexual intercourse with a partner who has the virus, blood transfusion and through mother to child at birth.

 

Youth affected by HIV/AIDS tend to be stigmatized by their societies which end up compromising their human rights to freedom, education and career opportunities. Most societies still shame HIV infected young people hence they find it hard to speak out and come out as patients. Effects of HIV/AIDS include high numbers of orphaned children and loss of skilled personnel. Several recommendations have been suggested in the report on how young people can be saved from this disease. Education sterns as the main one followed by increment in provision of ARVs to help prolong the lives of patients.

 

Governments, media, NGOs and private sector are all hands on the fight against HIV/AIDS. Youth has also shown their concern through several actions for the purpose of minimizing the spread of HIV/AIDS.

 

Juvenile Delinquency

The number of minors committing crimes in countries that have declared by law that a minor lacks responsibility and thus may not be sentenced as an adult keeps on escalating every day. The issue has become a severe predicament worldwide and its intensity depends mostly on the social, economic and cultural conditions in each country concerned. Many causes are associated with juvenile delinquency, major ones being poor educational background, inadequate family security or bonds, poverty and destitution, substance abuse and cultural factors.

 

Juvenile delinquents comprises mostly of youth, with youth making the high numbers of arrests than the population we consider as children in this context. Statistics show that a large percentage of the youth that age out of juvenile justice systems tend to end up homeless because they are unprepared to live independently, they have limited education and have no social support. A lot can be done and different approaches to prevent violence and crime can be taken up to reduce juvenile delinquency cases. Instead of relying solely on the criminal justice system, emphasis should rather be put on combating poverty and instilling a sense of belonging to young people.

 

Relevant stakeholders have come together to address this issue. Governments and Youth Organizations are providing education on the issue. Attempts to reduce the free time gap and unguided activities that youth are involved in are being made by providing extracurricular activities that are educational and beneficiary to the youth.

 

Girls and young women

Girls and young women have over the years been prone to social ills compared to their male counterparts. They have been victims of abuse, sexual, physical and emotional. Sexual abuse has led them to go through ordeals such as child or teenage pregnancies, rape, child marriage, forced marriage or arranged marriages, sexual mutilations and forced prostitution etc. Physical abuse on the other side spans from any kind of violence they have to encounter, be it beatings or the before mentioned sexual abuses as they are all physical. Emotional abuse entails the emotional scars they have to carry due to what they are forced to see and all verbal abuse they go through.

 

In modern times it has become norm for women to be left to single handedly raise their children alone because of absent fathers. This could be due to many factors, divorce being one of the major ones. Divorce rates have escalated in recent years, together with the number of single mothers. Many cultures used to perceive females as the minority lot while males were the strong holds of the societies. This particular trait put young women and girls on the background and has since instilled inequality among males and females. Women activists have been fighting for a fair treatment among both genders and the message has gone through to some, but a great number of people still cannot succumb to the idea. With recent equality messages being sent across the globe, women now have the chance at fair employment opportunities, education, political status, social status and so forth.

 

Efforts can be combined by governments and relevant stakeholders to transform gender norms and attitudes. There is a need to protect girls and young women hence strict laws should be enhanced to deal with matters concerning them.

 

Youth and Population

Populations concerns are a major issue among societies and their devastating impacts affect the youth most as they are the larger portion of the world population. There are four major considerations with regard to population; overpopulation; limited natural and environmental resources; awareness and sensitization; and youth as a potential workforce.

 

Overpopulation occurs when the number of people in a particular area outnumbers the resources available to sustain them in that given area. It is a direct result of increased birth rates and decrease in human mortality rates. On the other hand, there is the issue of limited natural and environmental resources, especially in relation to non-renewable resources, which are continuously depleted due to extensive population growth in some parts of the world. It is pivotal to emphasize on the issue of awareness and sensitization with regard to youth and population. The above-mentioned issues are based on the fact that youth are the potential workforce and they could potentially perpetuate environmental degradation and depletion. It is therefore substantial to look into the impacts of population towards youth that include food and water shortage, environmental degradation, social, economic, and political impacts.

 

Given that population and its impacts, affect not only certain groups of societies, but also the global community as a whole, many international organizations, governmental bodies, non-governmental organizations, private sectors, media and youth themselves have shown their concern and even contribute in efforts to minimize and solve population related issues globally.

 

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