USAID to design integrated youth engagement initiative

USAID to design integrated youth engagement initiative

The United State government through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has announced the design of a new initiative to help youth in South Sudan gain knowledge, skills, and competencies that will enable them to lead healthy, engaged, and productive lives in their communities.

The activity will be implemented in 13 counties that are the focus of USAID/South Sudan’s Strategic Framework: Kapoeta North and Budi counties in Eastern Equatoria State; Akobo, Duk, Pibor, and Uror counties in Jonglei State; Leer, Mayendit, and Panyijar counties in Unity State; Baliet and Ulang counties in Upper Nile State; and Jur -River and Wau counties in Western Bahr-el Ghazal State.

Youth are constrained by many challenges, ranging from limited access to basic social services, such as education and health, to widespread unemployment and limited opportunities to engage in productive livelihoods.

Half of South Sudan’s population is under the age of 18, and over 72 per cent are under the age of 30. Despite making up such a significant portion of the population, youth in South Sudan are among the most marginalized, underserved, and untapped segments of the population.

More than 2.2 million children and youth were out of school in South Sudan in 2018, according to UNESCO. Studies have shown that youth who have no possibility to attend a school or acquire skills to earn a living or lead productive lives is a latent force for instability.

Limited access to education and livelihood skills and scarce employment opportunities mean that out-of-school youth become more vulnerable to negative coping methods such as substance abuse and crime, and mental health challenges. These at-risk youth find themselves unable to positively engage and participate in the development of their communities. 

USAID’s new Integrated Youth Engagement Activity will support youth to gain knowledge and apply skills they need to lead productive lives and contribute positively to their communities.

 “This planned activity will provide a unique opportunity for youth in South Sudan’s most marginalized and conflict-affected areas to access services that will provide multiple benefits including functional literacy, numeracy, soft and life skills, incisal and emotional skills, and access to entrepreneurial and vocational opportunities,” said USAID/South Sudan Mission Director Haven Cruz-Hubbard.

The new activity will support behaviour change among the youth to make positive adolescent reproductive health choices, adopt equitable gender norms, and engage in activities to build social cohesion among youth and their communities.

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