International Youth Day

August 12 is celebrated as International Youth Day.

International Youth Day is an awareness day, designated by the United Nations.  The purpose of the day is to draw attention to a given set of cultural and legal issues surrounding youth.

The 2019 theme for International Youth Day is “Transforming education” and this highlights the efforts to make education more inclusive and accessible for all youth, including efforts by youth themselves.

International Youth Day imageEducation is a ‘development multiplier’ in that it plays a pivotal role in accelerating progress across all 17 Sustainable Development Goals, be it poverty eradication, good health, gender equality, decent work and growth, reduced inequalities, action on climate or building peaceful societies. Education should lead to effective learning outcomes, with the content of school curricula and pedagogy being fit for purpose, not only for the 4th industrial revolution and the future of work and life, but also for the opportunities and challenges that rapidly changing social contexts bring

Some of the Rotary programs and projects which support the principles of this year’s International Youth Day theme of transforming education include:

  • Dolly Parton Imagination Library – with our Partner United and Penguin Australia this community project puts books into homes that would not otherwise have books, with the aim of boosting literacy – a core component of education.
  • Books for Kids – this year’s Family Project – at $2.00 per week per child, this project with our partner Books in Homes provides books of choice to children living in low socio economic circumstances to ensure crucial literacy and the development of reading skills.
  • Operations Toilets Australia – builds toilets and delivers hygiene education programs in schools in developing countries. This project is specifically targeted to communities where there are no school toilet facilities – and where there are no school toilet facilities, the female students, and the female staff miss at least 25% of the school year.  With no facilities, they are unable to manage the days of the menstrual cycle.
  • Days for Girls – a global project sourcing, assembling and delivering washable hygiene products to girls in developing countries where there are no hygiene products available. Like Operation Toilets, where the facilities to manage the menstrual cycle are absent, then the female students are unable to attend school for 25% of their school life.
  • Rotarian Action Group Against Slavery. Just one of the impacts of slavery is the lost opportunity for education. This action group is an avenue for knowledge, information and supports a number of projects to help to make slavery, history.

Some sobering facts about education:

  1.  Only 10% of people have completed upper secondary education in low income countries.
  2. Only 60 % of the global population is taught in a language they speak or fully understand
  3. Over 75 % of secondary school age refugees are out of school.

Making education more relevant, equitable and inclusive is crucial to achieving sustainable development.

On this International Youth Day, what will you do?