Barclays and UNICEF Renew Partnership for ‘Building Young Futures’
Islamabad, 12 February 2013 - Barclays and UNICEF have today renewed their highly-successful “Building Young Futures” partnership for a further two years with an additional £450,000 (UK Pound Sterling) investment from Barclays to be utilised in Punjab by UNICEF for imparting a comprehensive vocational and entrepreneurial skills to the most excluded adolescents of Punjab.
The second phase of the partnership launched here today, aims to help tackle youth unemployment by improving the prospects of 6,000 disadvantaged young people in Punjab; strengthening their economic and social resilience against the devastating challenges of chronic poverty, inequality and changing economic circumstances.
Speaking at the partnership launch, today, Barclays Pakistan CEO, Mr. Shazad Dada, said, “This partnership between Barclays and UNICEF comes at the right time for the Pakistani youth. Investing in them is key for the future. Barclays is committed to supporting young people to develop the right skills to fulfil their potential. This programme is yet another way for Barclays to demonstrate the need for Citizenship to go beyond donations, to social investment that is in line with long-term sustainability of the communities where we operate. The partnership equips young people with the financial, enterprise and life skills they need to achieve economic independence and security.”
Building Young Futures is a global partnership between Barclays and UNICEF which was launched in 2008. It has so far given 600,000 young people across 13 countries improved education opportunities; financial, employment and enterprise skills; and support to manage their money. Another 74,000 young people in 6 countries including Pakistan are expected to benefit in the second phase.
Ketsamay Rajphangthong, Chief, Field Office Punjab, UNICEF added, “Creating opportunities for adolescents to thrive, learn, participate and stay healthy is essential towards their holistic development. Empowering them as rights bearers, preparing them for adulthood and citizenship initiates a cycle of opportunity which can produce positive outcomes for both the individual and the community”.
The partnership will deliver in-depth certified vocational training, financial and enterprise skills training to young people in 8 districts of Punjab, ensuring they have the knowledge and confidence to become agents of change with enormous potential for transforming societies and as a key resource for prosperity in their communities.. The training programme will include mentoring, counselling, work and placement opportunities and life skills entrepreneurship and employability training with the valuable support of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and Punjab Vocational Training Council (PVTC)
Moving forward, the second phase is focused on ensuring a stronger and more sustainable impact for the young people who are part of the programme, as well as delivering an impact to the wider youth population. Building Young Futures aims to do this by securing commitments to policy change from the governments in each of the six countries, specifically to expand and strengthen services which will lead to a stronger and more sustainable future for young people, well beyond the lifetime of the partnership. The importance of investing in adolescents, who constitute 25% of the population of Punjab, is well recognized by the Department of Youth Affairs, Sports, Archaeology and Tourism which is developing a five year Adolescent Strategy and Strategic Plan with the support of the programme in order to cater to the needs and realization of rights of the most excluded adolescents of Punjab.
Pakistan ranks 6th populous country in world and have largest cohort with 54 million of young people. Adolescents between 10-19 years represent 22% of the population in the country and 25% of the population of Punjab. This adolescent bulge is considered as a window of opportunity if seized properly and if opportunities are provided for its empowerment, development and participation. However, adolescents in Pakistan experience various types of inequities that are inter-generational, regional and gender based as well as poverty related.
In Punjab, 43% girls and 26.3% boys ages 15-19 are denied the right to education and when they and when they do attend, many of them – particularly those from the poorest and most marginalized households and communities – fail to complete their studies or else finish with insufficient skills, especially in those high-level competencies increasingly required by the modern globalized economy. All these factors lead to a high rate of unemployed adolescents who are most likely to be engaged in exploitative and hazardous forms of labour.