Myanmar has a significantly large young population, where about 55% of the total population is under the age of 30, and 19% fall into the adolescent category (10-19 years old). The youth today will become future leaders, and in an emerging democratic country like Myanmar, it’s crucial to get this young generation on board to achieve effective and inclusive development of the country. However, throughout our experience, it’s noticed that the citizen engagement in Myanmar is relatively low due to poor access to information, political perception and social-cultural norms, while adolescents as a particular age group who is experiencing a critical transition from childhood to adulthood, is often neglected in the development agenda.
With the ActionAid Myanmar’s existing strength of Fellowship and child rights programme, the “Adolescent Engagement Program”, which just started last year, is aimed to address the generational gaps and to support the Myanmar adolescents to benefit from the reform process, and to further create a greater space for them to voice out their needs and aspiration.
Up to date, we have facilitated series of training to enhance adolescents’ understanding of self-development, child rights, leadership skills…etc, and more than 200 adolescent clubs in 8 townships were established as an open space for them to have peer support and mentorship from Fellows.
As part of efforts to enhance adolescent network, a nation-wide adolescent conference will be held in Nay Pyi Taw (the capital of Myanmar) in the next two days to bring together adolescents and stakeholders including government officials, NGOs, youth groups from across the country. They will be discussing about their challenges as well as sharing their dreams and aspiration, and about how this adolescent group can be part of and actively participate in the development process of Myanmar. This conference is the first ever in Myanmar’s history and its discussion points will contribute to the finalisation of National Youth and Adolescent Policy.
Note: regular updates will be shared within this week as part of Adolescents Conference special features.