Nepal’s economic downturn, lack of employment opportunities and youth migration are leading to the shortage of vibrant labor force. This has direct impact on our economy. However, this circle can be broken, if we act smartly. Now is the perfect opportunity for young people to help in rebuilding process.
Our population’s median age is 23.4 years.This year’s International Youth Day is the last time in the planet’s history that more people will be under the age of 30.This era of peak youthwill start to plateau moving forward. What does this mean for us here in Nepal and for the world?
We need to change the way we think about youth. According to the United Nations (UN),about 1.8 billion are between the ages of 15 to 24. The UN considers this population as youth. Young people are an important part of a society that is facing huge challenges. Uncertainty in the job market, volatile world economy and restless world are all complicating life of young people.
Millions of Nepali youth are working under harsh conditions in the Middle East, Malaysia and in other South East Asian countries. This is the right time for Nepal to create an environment so that they come back and help in rebuilding communities. They should be provided trainings on resilient rebuilding so that those skills can lead them to attractive job opportunities within Nepal. Once our young people feel they can make a good living inside the country, they will not go to distance places to work.
As country director of Restless Development, a global agency for youth-led development,since 2003, I have been working with young people for many years. We carried out a survey asking Nepali youth about their priorities. What we found is truly remarkable. Young people want to have a voice, they want a decent living, and they do not want to bediscriminated. Moreover, young people want to be part of nation building.
We need to change the way we think and talk about young people. We need to incorporate them into decision-making processes. On this International Youth Day, let us pledge to bring our most important asset, the youth, into nation building.
Ravindra Shakya, Country Director, Restless Development, a global agency for youth-led development