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International Youth Day 2019

On August 12th, 2019, International Youth Day was widely celebrated across the world. Empower Youth for Work countries joined forces with local role models to host a variety of events, inspiring audiences of hundreds of young people. Among the activities were the #IWasThere campaign, youth-led dialogues with key stakeholders and art performances on themes including decent work and unpaid care work. Scroll down to read the full stories.



'How youthful dreams become reality’ was the message behind the #IWasThere campaign, kicking off this year’s celebrations. This marks the start of the multi-year campaign that aims to support the national influencing work of the Empower Youth for Work countries by joining forces with local role models. The campaign showcases their stories, how they overcame challenges, what difference this has made in their lives and how they are influencing others. It is intended that through these stories, others will be encouraged to make changes too.

Why these stories

There are more young people today than ever before in the history of the world; 1.8 billion people between the ages of 10 and 24 worldwide, and 90% of them live in low-income countries. Harnessing the energy and strength of young women and men to become active citizens is core to Oxfam's goal of transformational change.

With their energy, skills and creativity, young people have the potential to be the driving force for social change, strong economies and vibrant democracies.

Oxfam is working jointly with youth to challenge barriers that prevent them from

  1. Enjoying their rights
  2. Participating fully in society
  3. Being an effective voice in decision-making processes
  • IYD in Bangladesh

    In Bangladesh, a dialogue was created between youth, employers, representatives from different informal sectors, workers’ groups, drop-out youth employees and representatives from local government. This exchange led to an increased understanding from both the side of employees and youth regarding the pressing work-related issues youth face. Alongside this, street theatre performances addressed the issues of decent work and unpaid care work. They aimed to be eye-openers for the community, encouraging more openness about the obstacles women face when working outside the home. Read more

  • IYD in Ethiopia

    In Ethiopia, stakeholders from all sectors attended events aimed at actively engaging youth in making positive changes in their lives and communities. Panel discussions served as a platform to highlight the challenges that young people face in their daily lives and their potential solutions. Young entrepreneurs also shared their stories of successes, inspiring youth participants. In response to some of the challenges addressed, two murals were also painted by street artists on the themes of reducing the burden of unpaid care work and the creation of an environment free from gender-based violence for the transformation of girls’ education. Read more

  • IYD in Pakistan

    In Pakistan, events were hosted in partnership with academia in the universities of three major cities through open-forum discussions together with youth, the ILO, employers, labor organizations, and more. They centered around the theme ‘Decent Work for Youth’ with the goal of creating awareness among young people, especially recent graduates, regarding the importance of decent work and the rights and responsibilities associated with applying for jobs in both the formal and informal sector. Research done by students on the gender gap in the formal sector and lack of women’s participation was also shared. Lastly, a theatre performance and puppet show on the rights of women in domestic work and its challenges was performed to highlight the depth of the issue. Read more

  • IYD in Indonesia

    In Indonesia, the celebrations unfolded under the theme “Aku Muda, Bicara Kerja” (I’m Young, Talking About Work). A long march and youth speeches took place on Car-Free Day, where more than 100 young people voiced out their concerns regarding youth employment and negative stereotypes of youth in the workplace. The event also featured an exhibition, 30 youth community gatherings across South Sulawesi, two panel discussions on life skills and the stereotype of young workers, and an art performance. Role models, influencers, government officials, and private sector representatives joined together to engage with the issues faced by young Indonesians. Read more