How Can Youth Bring About Change in Pakistan?
By: Rameen Javaid
Pakistan is among the few highly privileged countries in terms of geographical location, mineral resources, and talented individuals. These resources, however, hold little value if not handled carefully and intelligently. Being a developing country, Pakistan is tangled between social issues such as poverty, illiteracy, and over-population, issues that we can overcome to some extent with the utilization of our most valuable asset- the youth of this country.
With around 69% of the population below the age of 30 and 29% between the age of 15 and 24, Pakistan has one of the highest youth populations on Earth. Despite having a majority of young intellects, unemployment only seems to increase, leading to poverty, another major social issue facing our community. Now the responsibility of this dire situation does not fall on parents or the government alone. From the education system to employment, our youth has faced adverse circumstances.
Hence, to bring the change, we need to enhance youth participation and value their potential in contributing to the society. The youth can facilitate in bringing about positive social changes by participating and showing active community involvement, proving why they are known as the “active agents of change”. Their potential and capabilities can help us shape a better life in the community and overcome critical issues of Pakistan.
The term “Empowerment” is quite the center of debate these days. The main focus of empowerment is to enable people to change their situation and overcome problems. In our case, we need to empower our youth by giving them enough space and opportunity to form a separate identity, enhance their skills and expand their capabilities. Empowerment encourages people to participate in different social arenas and have their voices heard by decision-makers. In this regard, it is important to note the efforts of UNDP (United Nations Development Programme). UNDP- Pakistan is working to create a facilitating environment for youth in underdeveloped areas of Sindh, Balochistan, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to emerge as agents of positive change and development. Their main goal is to ensure that equal opportunities are available for all youth to participate in Pakistan’s social, political, and economic development processes.
It is important to make way for sustained collaboration between the youth and key policymakers so that our youth can influence inclusive decision-making. As the young generation is the one who will make the future, hence their viewpoint and motivation can change the current situation for the better.
Entrepreneurship is another way to improve Pakistan’s economic growth, although the concept is relatively new in Pakistan, it is gaining popularity among the youth all around the world. Social entrepreneurship is known as a vehicle for economic and social cohesion, it helps to build a resilient social market economy, provides jobs and hope for the future. The youth needs to invest in entrepreneurship skills as it would be benefitting at all levels. Prime Minister Imran Khan claims that empowerment of youth is his top priority, to bring this idea into practice, his government-funded 110 billion rupees to the flagship Kamyab Jawan Programme. One of the main elements of this program is the “Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme” (YES), which recognizes the importance of entrepreneurship and startup as the fastest route to job creation and channels financial aid to young and talented Pakistanis.
Furthermore, our youth needs to be the catalyst of education. It is an undeniable fact that education is the source of prosperity for a nation. It influences the socio-cultural, political, and commercial development of a country. Education brings self-awareness and self-confidence and is important for future building. We need to endorse the need for education on our youth, so they could thrive in all fields of life which would ultimately benefit the nation. The Internet has revolutionized the way we perceive the world and thrive through it. The power of social media is undeniable, it has given enhancement and exposure to our young generation.
Hence, instead of focusing upon the disadvantages of social media, we need to encourage our youth to positively participate in it. Through this platform, our young generation could bring about positive changes to the image of our country. Their spark and courage would encourage other teenagers as well to participate in the process of nation-building. To conclude, we are dependent on our youth for a better future, they have the perspective that the older generations lack. They can bring change to our country through their enthusiasm, creativity, and intellectual thinking. Hence, as a nation we need to help them flourish. The youth can either be an asset or a liability depending on how effectively this segment is consolidated with the society.