Barclays And UNICEF Unlock the Business Potential of the World’s Young People

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – The world has never been younger. Youth issues have never been more diverse or interrelated. It is estimated that there are 1.8 billion young people across the globe today, and an large growth of youth will come from Africa in the next 10 years. With this large population, Building Young Futures, an international partnership between Barclays and UNICEF U.K is a pivotal effort. It aims to unlock the potential of disadvantaged young people by providing them with the skills, knowledge and confidence they need to set up their own business or find work, and achieve a stronger future for themselves and their communities.  This initiative has reached more than 90,000 young people across six countries; in over three years it has helped to create 11,000 new businesses.

Building Young Futures has delivered sustainable long term change for young people while operating in Brazil, Egypt, India, Pakistan, Uganda and Zambia. This partnership has proven to be a highly successful model of working across public-private sectors and civil society. Thousands of young people from impoverished communities have been given a second chance in life, and now have the skills and knowledge they need to strive ahead and secure bright futures for themselves.

The programme has set a robust model for businesses and civil society working together with governments to make real, lasting and sustainable change to young people’s lives. It combines Barclays’ business skills, expertise and networks with UNICEF’s global reach, high-level access to governments and local knowledge to deliver employability, enterprise and financial skills training to young people who are hard to reach.

The engagement between the two organisations and in-country governments ensures that steps towards long-term-change and legacy have been put in place. A specific commitment to invest in the programme has been made by governments in Egypt and India. The Egyptian government has made a pledge to continue to fund the initiative in the five regions, where it currently operates and to expand it to five new regions.

The wonderful inspiring story of 18-year-old Naziya Shaikh shows how empowering this project is. Through Building Young Futures, Naziya trained to learn basic sewing techniques with her mother. She has since moved on to an advanced dressing making class; with the support of Building Young Futures in India, she’s taken over her mother’s business and is running it out of her home, earning between 2,500 and 3,000 rupees (approximately £26-£31) a month by taking small orders. Nazia is currently focused on saving her money, using lessons she learned from Building Young Futures, so she can expand the business, as she wants to open up her own stand alone shop one day. Dreaming big, Naziya has also started a beauty course, as she hopes to start providing beauty services out of her home before opening a beauty parlour alongside her clothing boutique.

Photo Credit: Photo: Unicef/Dhiraj Singh/August 2014