IYD 2021: Message from Ruth Khakame Chairperson Youth Committee COTU(K)/ITUC.

The theme of International Youth Day 2021 is, “Transforming Food Systems: Youth Innovation for Human and Planetary Health”.

The ILO reports that over 66 million youth are without a job globally and nearly 145 million youth are working, yet living in poverty.
Decent Jobs for Youth since 2016 has evolved overtime as a global initiative to scale up action and impact on youth employment under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

In the Onset of Covid 19 Pandemic, came a blow to sustainability of employment for the youth as most fell out of jobs, others got into precarious employment, lack of social protection, some were victims of gender-based violence, lack of proper health and safety measures, a rise in informal sector, quest for labor migration opportunities.
Amidst all these resulting outcomes and challenges the youths are innovating around survival tactics in these harsh economic times. The Youth are exploring entrepreneurship even through hand skills and self-employment as a pathway to sustainable enterprise.

And within the climate crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic poses a great challenge to nourishing the expanding youth population in Africa. The precious and fragile food systems are fast reaching a breaking point calling for an opportunity to intensify the current systems of farming with new technologies for survival.

The world of work is equally undergoing fundamental changes driven by crisis, technology, demography, climate change and globalization, with critical repercussions for young people in the labor market and for employment relationships. These trends have effect on the pathways young people embark on and shape personal and labor market transitions. However, these trends are also opening up a range of opportunities, from digital start-ups to green entrepreneurship.

Youth have emerged as active agents in embracing technology and as drivers of economic growth in the approach to youth employment, building on advances in the promotion of labor rights in workspaces and acknowledging climate change.
Therefore, there is need to engage the youth wholesomely, involvement and participation of young people as frontliners will lead to building a better future for all.
Through collective mobilization of the youth, inclusivity of the youth, Youth education, embracing innovative skills, mentorship and empowerment are among pathways to addressing system crisis.

Finally, the Creation of open space for collaboration and networking for trade unions with allies / social partners will help in guiding creative principles into action,
Let’s all Empower the youth to save the future. A healthy youth amounts to a healthy space.

Viva.

Ruth Khakame
ITUC AFRICA Youth Chair