There is a youth quake in Pakistan, as 68% of the total population is under the age of 29. It is an enormous opportunity but also an enormous challenge. There are no separated programs or policies for disadvantaged, half-educated, socially-excluded youth in Pakistan. The current programs and efforts in Pakistan can be described as fragmented, inadequate, misguided, problem-oriented and charity-driven. Enormous talent, intelligence, and positive energy are being wasted as these young people are being left behind. Pakistan is facing a challenge of tremendous consequence that we should not continue to ignore. Millions of young people are being left behind, ignored from the societal and economic mainstreams, and are falling into disaster’s way. Summary of our Initiative: Our initiative is based on the core concept of “self reliance”, where young people especially disadvantaged and socially-excluded are provided an organized opportunity to learn and serve in their communities, for a pre-determined (one-year (30 hours per week)) service-period. We provide a structured opportunity to young people living in low-income communities to re-integrate into the society as active-citizens and not as citizens-in-waiting. We assist disadvantaged youth in starting and running community-based ventures to carry out national and local missions otherwise left without funding. Our approach provides personal development opportunities for disadvantaged youth, while at the same time solving the community’s burning issues and sparking social and economic development. Over 100 community-based youth-led service networks are established and supported under this program. Our Long-term Goal is to institutionalize youth service program in public and private sectors of Pakistan by 2012.
We engage young people individually and collectively. Individually: We identify and invest in young entrepreneurial talent. We assist enterprising young people living in low-income communities to start and run a youth service project. Collectively: We assist young people in building-up indigenous Youth Service Network. Youth Service Network is a body of not less than 3 and more than 5 members in between the ages of 12-30. Each Youth Service Network designs and delivers a service project for its community. Incentives: YES Network Pakistan provides financial assistance, training, connections and material to the Young Social Entrepreneurs and Youth Service Networks. Young Social Entrepreneurs and Youth Service Networks dedicate at-least one year (30 hours per week) for community service.
- Revenue generation: It assists youth to generate revenue by providing services.
- Youth-led: It enables youth to take a lead role in addressing local challenges.
- Self-reliance: It transforms youth from dependents to service providers.
- Youth poverty: It gives poor youth access and control to financial resources.
- Work force: It provides society a large number of workers at very less-expense.
- Social exclusion: It combats social exclusion by mainstreaming left-out youth.
- Employment policy: It contributes to employment policy by providing work experience to youth.
- Head-off violence and terrorism: It is an effective way to reduce the incidence of neighborhood crime, poverty, drug abuse and terrorism.
- Over 150,000 earth-affected, flood-affected, socially excluded and at-risk young people engaged in a variety of community building and rehabilitation activities.
- 500 Youth-led service networks were formed and supported to provide care, support, education, skills and income generation trainings to over 800,000 people of all ages.