Dealing with the Youth Bulge Through Proactive Policy

Introduction

This policy brief explores the challenges faced by youth as a result of the deteriorating socio-economic and political violence and effects of exclusion. It also highlights the importance of understanding youth social networks in building resilience in relation to addressing the challenges of unemployment. The challenges are made worse by the contextual environment where policy making is characterised by a top-down approach, tokenistic to youth issues, and best described as creating a charade that youth are the future of this country. This kind of approach aims at managing youth and promise them a future whilst justifying their exclusion and failure to address youth vulnerability largely caused by unemployment.

In a research project, Active engagement, social innovation and resilience among young people in Zimbabwe, the Research and Advocacy Unit (RAU) sought to understand everyday experiences by youth, and how their adapting and coping with the socio-economic and political environment can inform the development of new initiatives. These initiatives are leading towards resilience to vulnerabilities caused by unemployment, and understanding these should inform policies on youth. The research is anchored around the understanding that Zimbabwe, like other developing countries faces a demographic youth bulge, which if not adequately addressed, can result in young people engaging in violence.

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Source: Research and Advocacy Unit (RAU)