Poverty in Youth: Coping Mechanisms.

by: Jamil Junejo

There are over one billion youth (aged 15 – 24) in the world today. Eighty five (85) per cent of these youth live in the developing world, whereas 99 per cent of population growth is occurring. Around 50 per cent of the population in developing countries lives in rural areas. Some 61.5 per cent of youth live in Asia.

The population of Pakistan consists 63% youth falling under the age of 25 years. Such large portion of populations is confronted with low, coupled with dropping at higher level, literacy ratio and under and unemployment on the other hand. According to calculated estimation, Youth literacy rate (age 15/24) is estimated to be 53% male and 42.0% female. Out of this unsatisfactorily literacy ratio, many of youth miserably remain either unemployed or underemployed. This pathetic scenario of unemployment held host of reasons ranging from absence of social development policy, contextual and effective Youth development policies, poverty, lack of opportunities, lack of training and required skills.

Unemployment generating from these reasons is compelling youth to fall in vicious cycle of poverty, extremism, psychological disorder, alienation, drugs addiction, crime and suicides. Therefore, it is immediate call of time to work with multi pronged strategy to cope the issue of unemployment tightly griping the youth of Pakistan. To leave issue of such serious concern unaddressed will mean to destroy youth, the engine of society, cripple economy of the country, destroying social orders, letting loose the extremist forces and most importantly increasing poverty which is highly relevant with employment.

It is miserable to note, to observe and to read that young people despite being educated resort to commit suicide owing to unemployemy or underemployment resulting in poverty. They are trapped in vicious cycle of extremism, psychological disorder, alienation, drugs addiction, crime and suicides owing to poverty. Multiple reasons can be given for this. Firstly, Young girls and boys are underemployed highly short of sufficient money to live life of dignity. Owing to poverty they could not receive higher education so as to get smart salaried empoloyment.The falling literacy ratio from primary to secondary and higher level education is supporting the view that poverty is one the major reasons behind educational dropout. According to Ministry of education, Government of Pakistan that PSLM Survey 2004-05, reveals that the GER is 86% at Primary level, 46% at Middle level and 44% at Secondary level. Therefore, student at secondary and higher level needs financial support in form of loan to enter and sustain in secondary a higher level of education so as to get adequately salaried job to decrease poverty.

Secondly, educated youth lack communication skills and other prerequisite make entry and adjust the organizations .Such skills need to be created and enhanced. Besides, so many youth employed or desiring to work in development sector needs skill development trainings to inorder to enhance their skills so as to enable them to get adequately paid salaries. Unskilled youth working or desiring to work in developing sector is confined to certain low level positions and can’t develop to reach at mid and higher level position. As a result, they can’t demonstrate their maximum capacity on one hand and remain low paid poor on other hand. Therefore there is need to create and enhance the skills of youth in order to facilitate them to enter and perform well into development organizations especially in program side

Thirdly, Young people are looking always mazed and entangled to find suitable employment in an easy and comfortable way.therfore , they need better career counseling so as to find join and decrease poverty.

Last but not least, it is now proven fact that only capacity development of youth can’t create employability for youth unless state is committed towards social development through policy, programs and actions. If space is not available, how can youth get employment? Therefore, In order to create employability in effective and genuine way, it is imperative to sensitize policy makers to take policy level concrete steps for social development and to mak critical analysis of Youth development policy of Pakistan from poverty reduction point of view so as to find strong and weak areas and to extend recommendation for its modification to make it effective, responsive and contextual

To conclude, Youth in Pakistan is worstly experiencing under and unemployment resulting in Poverty that further leads to various negative, professional, social, emotional and psychological repercussions. In this miserable backdrop onus lies on Minsitry of Youth development in particular and policy makers in general to devise multi pronged strategy carrying trainings, carreer couselling, grants, competitions, visits, quality and cheaper education.Civil Society organizations also share the onus to play part of their role especially in critically analyze youth development policy to from poverty reduction point of view find its strong and weak areas and to extend recommendation for its modification to make it effective, responsive and contextual.

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