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Understanding Youth Dynamics in East Africa



Publish Date

January 24, 2023

Reading TIme

2 mins
Understanding Youth Dynamics in East Africa

East Africa is an economic block comprising Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi with South Sudan recently admitted. There is anticipation that Somali and Ethiopia will join the block in the coming years. YADEN is active in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi, with set up plans in South Sudan and Somalia.

From a total average population of 165 Million, young people between ages 16 and 30 form 36% of the total population. (www.eac.int/statistics) This translates to an average of 60 million youths. Among this demographics over 70% (Africa Development Bank 2014) are unemployed or under employed. This is huge wasted labor potential without which the economic progress and transformation as quoted in various Economic Blue prints guiding east Africa Industrialization and promotion to middle income Economies will be compromised.

The curious Question is who are these young people beyond the numbers, what dynamics define them. Without this knowledge it is difficult to truly understand Young People and by extension effectively engage them and translate their potential into tangible outcomes for social transformation, economic growth and political stability.

YADEN vast experience in matters youth has revealed that a multi layered definition of youth is important. Definition based on Logical (the numbers), Characteristics (universal traits) and Situational-Circumstantial (external influences) will ensure a holistic understanding of youth, from which specific challenges, potentials and contributions can be extracted. For Young People ‘HOW’ is more important that ‘WHAT’. YADEN combines a youth led collaborative research and grassroots project implementation lessons learnt to build understanding of young people and with the knowledge gathered and documented partner with others to formulate viable, effective and youth resonating development interventions that are Youth Led, Youth Owned and Youth Focused. This aids Youth Mobilization, Organization, Equipping and Engagement.

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Since its founding in 2003, YADEN has established itself in over 31 localities throughout East Africa, Working with and for over 617 Youth Platform of Opportunity (YPO) Groups that have by extension empowered and Engaged thousands of young people.