Growing Leaders recently hosted three “Global Voices Gatherings” at our Atlanta offices. They were compelling meetings with youth executives from around the world. While there are differences in every nation, we all drew one conclusion:
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As we consider the price tag for expanding our work with students internationally, the following statistics should inform our decisions. Our big goal is to equip one percent of the youth population to think and act like authentic leaders. We must prepare ourselves for the cost in dollars, time, energy and people if we’re going to succeed in equipping one percent of the youth population to be life-giving leaders.
- The majority of our work will require fund raising.
According to UNESCO, 89.7 percent of people under the age of 30 live in developing economies, not industrialized nations. In fact, strong economies (like in Europe, Japan and the U.S.) are having fewer babies, while emerging economies like in Africa and the Middle East are having more children. Most of the young people will not be able to pay for training. And, they live in potentially volatile places for violence.
- Many youth are not formally educated so reading will be difficult.
According to the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization, 61 million primary-aged children were not enrolled in school in 2010. Of these children, 47 percent were never expected to enter school, 26 percent attended school but left, and the remaining 27 percent are expected to attend school in the future. And what was their conclusion? “Reaching out-of-school children is crucial for development.” Many of the young people we equip will not understand formal educational practices.
- Youth believe they lack opportunities for work and satisfaction.
A third of the respondents to Euromonitor International’s Global Youth Survey (which polled young people ages 16-24), say unemployment and lack of job opportunities will probably have an impact on their future happiness. And another 40 percent say it definitely will influence their opportunities. This means three out of four young people are concerned about their future job prospects. We will likely need to point them toward meaningful projects where they can influence others.
- Youth everywhere prefer portable, digital devices to communicate.
In industrialized nations, 93 percent of teens—ages 12‐17—go online, as do 93 percent of young adults ages 18‐29. Three quarters (74 percent) of all adults ages 18 and older go online. Even in developing nations, youth are drawn to digital information and portable devices—everyone has one or wants one. Those who don’t have one will either own one in the next five years or will use an Internet café.
- The youth population is larger than ever on record.
The global population of young people between the ages of 10 and 24 has hit 1.8 billion, a historic high. The challenges are most acute for less developed countries, where nearly 9 out of 10 of the world’s young people reside. While developing nations are aging, the world’s population overall is getting younger and must be equipped to solve problems and serve people.
Will you join us in this great goal?
Looking to develop leadership skills in your students? Check out
Habitudes: Images That Form Leadership Habits and Attitudes
Habitudes helps students and young team members:
- Break out of the herd mentality to influence others in positive ways.
- Take initiative and set the pace for other teammates.
- Overcome complex problems through creative persistence.
- Capitalize on personal strengths to be career-ready upon graduation.