Young people in Latin America now enjoy greater access to education. But in many cases their future is dim due to the lack of opportunities and the siren call of crime in a region where 167 million people are poor, and 71 million live in extreme poverty.
Every day we receive striking data on major issues which should create tumult and action, but life goes on as if those data had nothing to do with people’s lives.
At 24 years old, Stefan Knights has never been on the side of those who are sceptical about the reality and severity of climate change.
The Israeli attacks that the Gaza Strip has suffered in recent years have left in their wake a large number of young people who have come up against a further barrier to their creative energies – physical disability caused by military aggression.
“People get used to war. During the last battle, children were still coming to play. Can you imagine, a seven-year-old boy running through the bullets just to play video games,” says Mohammad Darwish, a calm man with a curled beard framing his face.
In rural Zambia and Malawi, new mums face long delays finding out if they have passed HIV on to their babies.
The transition to puberty can be an awkward experience for youth to navigate. In Cambodia, sex education is moving increasingly into the virtual realm, with the Internet and mobile phones providing welcome spaces for young people to learn, seek help and stay safe.
"Who is more concerned than the rural family with regards to preservation of natural resources for future generations?"
The size of the youth population in the Pacific Islands is double the global average with 54 percent aged below 24 years, creating enormous challenges for slow-growing small island economies unable to create jobs fast enough.
Pregnant at 15, Samantha Yakubu* is in a fix. The 16-year-old boy she claims was responsible for her pregnancy has refused to accept her version of events, insisting that he was “not the only one who slept with her”.
Different issues will be competing for the attention of different African leaders attending the 69th
United Nations General Assembly Special Session on International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Beyond 2014 in New York on Sep 22.
Suicide rates in the Pacific Islands are some of the highest in the world and have reached up to 30 per 100,000 in countries such as Samoa, Guam and Micronesia, double the global average, with youth rates even higher.
"My cousin was a very successful and distinguished student. She said that she finished high school with excellent grades and enrolled in college, but a month later, her parents forced her to leave school and burned all her books and studying material. So, the girl set fire to herself."
In Latin America, young people are the main link in the chain of poverty leading from one generation to the next. Civil society groups, academics and young people themselves say it is imperative to strengthen the connection between education today and decent employment tomorrow.
An African proverb says “a child that we refuse to build today will end up selling the house that we may build tomorrow.”