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Influence of role models

"Learning is never an easy process for anyone including myself... taking the time to reflect on what we know is essential. To unlearn and re-learn but above all understand what we have and not yet achieved. The Global Learning event enriched and challenged us but above all strengthened us as the global team for the Empower Youth for Work programme." Halida Nufaisa started as an intern and now works as the Youth Engagement Officer in Indonesia.

While waiting for my plane to attend the Global Learning event in Bangkok, I scrolled through the national news on my phone and an article caught my attention "Young People are Predicted to be Homeless in 2020." The article depicts one main factor contributing to this issue: the extravagant lifestyle among the youth and that they are easily influenced by their peers to maintain their lifestyle.

Youth participation and conformity

This is not the first time I read such a statement. If I speak for myself, it is true that as a young woman, other people' s behaviour and their perception somehow makes me conform. For instance, I see how the majority of my friends love to travel, posting lots of nice photos on their social media. By not doing the same, there is to some extent the feeling of "fear of missing out." What others mostly do will eventually lead to a form of social acceptance. This seems to be the tendency. There is a huge correlation between this and the way our team implements the Empower Youth for Work programme in Indonesia and global. Mainly in terms of achieving the meaningful participation of youth and how they can influence others in order to create enabling environment. To give an example, some youth might not be willing to participate as volunteer. Which makes sense...volunteer activities are not paid and requires some level of commitment. In order to engage to that level some steps are needed to taken initially.

The keys to youth engagement

Youth have the tendency to conform with their peers and  don't believe in undertaking activities if they don't link up with their personal lifestyle and culture. A challenge and oppurtunity for the Empower Youth for Work programme, highlighting the necessity of involving positive role models. A role model has the ability to shape the views, ideals, and actions of a young person.  Moreover, I learned from the Global Learning is to consistently integrate any kind of activities with income-generating activities.

Just like an adult, youth must also have an understanding that all activities in which they are involved, will benefit them both socially and economically. Even if this is in the long run.

It is clear from the evidence that young people would like to know more about the wider world, acquire the skills to effectively engage and ensure that their voices are heard. However, many of them lack the confidence to move forward. Their lack of confidence is often related to "how" and "what" to influence within the complexity of things. Furthermore, there should also be a space and structure where youth participation actively occurs, supporting the unique talents and strengths of young people. This is an on going responsibility of Empower Youth for Work team both nationally and globally, now and in the future. This to ensure meaningful engagement of the youth in the programme.

Read more on the Global Learning event here