Engaging and developing the vitality and skills of youth is critical to rebuilding communities and sustaining peace
Youth in areas of conflict bear not only physical wounds, but also the emotional and mental scars that war leaves in its wake, not the least of which are the loss of educational opportunities and the death of parents. Demonstrating profound resilience, many conflict-affected youth take on the additional burden of becoming the primary breadwinners for themselves and their families. Despite these extreme risks and responsibilities, their unique needs and capacities are often ignored in humanitarian responses.
The IRC believes that by providing youth with a marketable and adaptable skill set, the chance to participate in civic and community affairs, access to life-sustaining services, mentoring and psychosocial support, youth will be better equipped to tackle the challenges that lay ahead, contributing to the betterment of the communities, countries and world in which they live.
The IRC's youth-focused programs include peer counseling on issues such as HIV/AIDS prevention and conflict resolution; youth-led recreational activities; participation in community affairs; literacy and accelerated learning programs; and livelihoods support through vocational training, apprenticeship and entrepreneurial skills development.
IRC has youth programs in Afghanistan, Chechnya, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Kenya, Liberia, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Thailand, Tanzania and Uganda.
After more than 20 years of civil war, South Sudan is left with a hugely inadequate workforce. As a result, massive investment in literacy and vocational skills will be required for the successful reintegration and reconstruction of the country. In Juba, South Sudan, the IRC is intervening to address these challenges by supporting formal vocational skills training for vulnerable youth as well as offering literacy and business skills classes in six different IDP camps. Youth that have been selected to participate in a carpentry skills program are hopeful that the training they receive will help them find lucrative work opportunities in the future.
For further information on IRC Child & Youth programs, please contact us at children@theIRC.org.