Riddle Me This

by Jason Schwartzman, ChildFund Team Leader for Child & Youth Involvement

There are 1.2 billion of us, and we make up 18 percent of the global population. Almost all of us — 87 percent — live in developing countries. You know where we live? Mostly in Asia — almost two-thirds. And you know what? We can read and write — almost 90 percent of us are literate — and about 80 percent complete primary school education. Who are we?

Now, here’s some bad news. In developing countries, little more than half of us are enrolled in secondary school, and in the least developed countries, fewer than one-third. That’s enrolled only — forget about how few of us actually complete secondary school education. So, are we working? Love to — if we could find work. Do you know who we are now?

Photo of youth in IndiaWe are the world’s youth population.

I recently spent two weeks in India, a country that coincidentally has the largest national population of adolescents — 243 million. China’s not even close at 207 million. The U.S.? Try 44 million.

To celebrate ChildFund India’s 60th anniversary ChildFund hosted a gathering of youth who come from all parts of India, bringing them together with our staff from Asia, Africa and the Americas. Youth and staff, together in the same room, talking about the issues that youth face and how ChildFund might take their insights to strengthen its youth programs.

Over the next several days, I’ll be blogging about what we learned from the Youth Program Summit, and how ChildFund is approaching its work with this age group.

One response to “Riddle Me This

  1. Thanks for your good observation. 15 to 24 age group is a hope for family community and government in north India. But we feel this age group youth is very helpless about this hope. Your easement is very realistic because 80% children does not receive ECCD facility from GoI center. Youth-preparing process is not seen among family and community because first-line stakeholder coordination is very poor with family. Retention of teacher is so weak in school and class because government give a lot of other work to trained teacher. GOI did not give effective budget for quality eduction. In ChildFund project, girls want schooling but family is given only food but no capacity for schooling. We saw children and youth want good education. This is a good indicator youth preparation.