A key challenge that many young people in remote areas face when looking for employment is that they lack the skills needed, and without access to formal institutions that can provide the required training, they often struggle to find decent work opportunities. However, one of the benefits of volunteering is that it allows us to reach the unreachable. With the ability to travel to remote areas that lack access to formal institutions, volunteers are able to connect with local networks in hard-to-serve communities to provide them with the resources they need to build a better future. So can we, as volunteers, support youth unemployment?
Youth Unemployment in Haiti
Youth unemployment is at 34.4% in Haiti as of 2017 (Statista). Youth employment is defined as the share of the labor force aged 15-24 without work and seeking employment (Global Economy). Some of the reasons young people experience difficulty in finding employment are poor educational attainment, disadvantaged family backgrounds, and low test-measured abilities and undeveloped behavioral skills. Other factors that contribute to low youth employment are mismatching of skills, low labor demand, and specific vulnerabilities (World Bank).
Women and those who lack education are primarily challenged with finding employment. Unemployment is considerably higher among females than among males in most countries (World Bank). A look at the demographics of Haiti reveals its growing youth population. According to Population International, the “endurance of Haiti’s very young age structure is due to high levels of fertility rates and population growth (around 2% annually between 1975 and 1995). Today, nearly 70% of its population is younger than age 30, and half of its population is under age 20. Haitian women have on average 5 children in rural areas and 2.8 children in the cities.” It suggests the greater number of youth in Haiti and women raising families, makes other factors, such as gaining specific skills, more relevant to finding jobs. Employers in Caribbean countries, including Haiti, report a shortage in skills as one of the key constraints in hiring workers, and new recruits (World Bank). Lack of experience is another factor, and without specific training, young women and youth are at a disadvantage in the work force.
Volunteering to Support Youth Unemployment
Information plays a role in the youth finding employment. “There is a “digital divide” where computer literacy has polarized employment opportunities. There is a relatively greater proportion of jobs in industries which presuppose computer literacy, and so the privileged few who can afford the education have access to better jobs.” Youth Unemployment in the Caribbean.
Volunteers in Haiti can provide computer literacy, professional guidance and coaching, and skills training to youth. By realizing the potential in them, volunteers can build them up and give them a chance to flourish. Become a volunteer today and help support the UN Global Goals by 2030.
If you HAVE, you too can SERVE.
By Maria Gutierrez – blogger