It’s estimated that youth between the ages of 15 to 24 years constitute about 18 per cent of the world’s population. In numbers, this is just over one billion. These young people constitute an important cluster because they represent the next generation of professionals, breadwinners, parents and leaders. This therefore means that as an international community, we must be very deliberate and prioritize the needs of the young person so that they are better prepared to take up the responsibilities before them.
Keeping this in mind, in any part of the globe you travel, you will discover that youth face almost similar challenges that hinder them from living up to their potential. This article seeks to explore the 3 main challenges facing youth today.
The erosion of national pride
A keen look at the youth today will reveal that most of them have lost their sense of national pride. Many young people from around the world barely know the words to their national anthems or even loyalty pledges. Society has made young people develop a strong sense of individualism and capitalism and this has ended up eroding their sense of community and nationhood. The young person’s attitude has therefore become about “what’s in it for me” as opposed to “what’s in it for us”. The problem with such a mentality is that most youth will not be interested in working towards solving societal problems that don’t directly affect them therefore making it much more challenging to address national issues.
The challenges of parenting
It is said that charity begins at home. This is especially true because the family is the most basic unit of society. Today however, because of many challenges with parenting such as absentee parents, single parenthood, neglectful parents among many other challenges, many parents have dropped the ball and abandoned their responsibility of raising their children with the right values. This has resulted in a youth population that is not guided with the right value system. This has in turn exposed young people to higher risks of dropping out of school, risky sexual behaviors, drug, alcohol and substance abuse among many other risks.
Early introduction to adulthood
This is related to the above point. The failure by parents to take up their responsibilities has resulted in children filling the void on their own. This therefore means that as young people take up the responsibility of parenting themselves, it also means they will start in engaging in adult-like activities much earlier. These include partaking alcohol, engaging in sex, and even starting their own families while still too young. The problem of teenage parents is a global challenge requires an urgent solution.
There are of course many other challenges affecting the young person of today but we chose to focus on these three because they directly touch on youth sexuality which is our main area of interest. We believe that any organization seeking to design an international programme on sexuality must explore these problems and offer tangible and practical solutions in order for their program to be successful.
We invite you to share with us your experiences on youth and sexuality. Let’s join hands to transform the lives of our youth.