MOBILE TECHNOLOGY ADDRESSING YOUTH SOCIAL PROBLEMS
Vodafone mYouth *929# aims to connect the youths of Fiji. mYouth platform is different from other channels because this channel will be manned by group of professional youths. This channel is developed by the youths, for the youths in taking the right steps for correct solutions to their own problems.
mYouth aims to provide an exclusive platform for youth engagement & development, a programme that seeks to develop solutions for basic youth problems in Fiji such as unemployment, materialism, sexual assault, teen pregnancy, violence, abuse, bullying, suicide, education disparity, stress, reproductive health, poverty, leadership, drug & substance abuse, etc
The channel will address ideas that 1400 youths are discussing on the Fiji Volunteer and Philanthropy Network. The channel will discuss solutions as opposed to discussing problems facing youths of today. mYouth can be accessed through dialing *929# and following the options; 1. Subscription, 2.Youth employment registration, 3. SMS Mentor, 4. Donate, 5. Youth Directory, 6. Professional Volunteer and 7. About. mYouth subs is free.
mYouth is a nonprofit mobile programme that seeks to ENGAGE YOUTHS TO CREATE AN IMPROVED FUTURE. mYouth aims to reach larger youth population on daily basis and provide multiple platform to develop community solutions around communication, information, and entertainment. mYouth will continue to raise awareness, education and information amongst the youth population as mobile technology has the potential to reach larger population on daily basis with 95% penetration. It is cost effective, simple and easy to use, has potential for SMS broadcast service, instilling behavioral change and a transparent, knowledge based solution. mYouth also aims to complement, United Nations, International, Pacific, National and Local Associations frameworks. This service is complementary and aims to use collaborative approach to catalyze real social change for the Youths of Fiji.
mYouth services aims to work towards a shared vision of preventing youth crisis by capturing & developing the full potential of young people and inspiring them to be proactive & productive citizens of Fiji. “mYouth focuses on socio-economic welfare of Fiji youths by inspiring and motivating them to embrace information & communication technology as a means to equip themselves and society”. The services will also include capacity building of youths in areas that matters them the most, to inspire them on financial management & resource utilization for self-employment & improved livelihood, instilling behaviors that promotes self- esteem.
mYouth channels ranges from subscription, employment registration and preparing for interviews, youth directory, peer educators and mentors, youth forums, social media etc. Our youths have different backgrounds and passions and they are equipped with necessary knowledge, skills and passion. All they need is a platform and preferably some guidance which mYouth *929# seeks to provide. The Vodafone mYouth will be executed in partnership with Philanthropy Fiji/ Fiji Philanthropy Network. One important pillar of mYouth will be convened research and shared research outcomes with the youths as well as developing solutions on *929#.
Expected outcome of mYouth is to
- create database for employment opportunities and directing potential employee seekers to employer via mYouth job SMS Advertisement (mClassified) and linking to mCorp,
- build a sense of belonging and purpose for their future before graduating – internship integration with corporate, public enterprises etc
- increase youth positive social media engagement for prospective and holistic development
- bridge education disparity by locking in skills development and vocational training institutes
- engage youths to develop solutions around problems at various levels using various mode of communication,
- strengthen youth understanding in materialism vs. what is priority
- provide educational resources around unemployment, interviews and preparing for employment
- raised awareness on sexual assault, teenage pregnancy, violence, abuse, bullying and accessibility to services
- educate youths on stress, reproductive health sustained mental health
- develop project model for income generation to reduce poverty,
- foster leadership environment with indicators of transformational direction ,
- reduce drug & substance abuse amongst youth
- create a database for employment avenues, youth entrepreneurship, skills,
- develop YouthNET [uploading skills on line, life skills competition etc]- income generation, self sustainability,
- create social inclusion, youth counseling platforms and helpline via counselors
- mooted total solution based platform
ILO Reported that 74.8 million youth between 15 and 24 years were unemployed in 2011, an increase of more than 4 million since 2007.The rate of youth unemployment rose globally from 11.7 per cent in 2007 to 12.7 percent in 2011. An estimated 6.4 million young people have given up hope of finding a job and have dropped out of the labor market altogether.
2007 Population Census reached 308,411 which is equivalent to 36.8% of the Total Population. 36.8% Youth age group (15-35 years) is the highest of Fiji’s population’s, followed by adulthood (34.1%) then childhood – emerging youths (29.1%). Of this Youth Population, 51.3 % (158253) are Male and 48.7% (150158) Female. The unemployment rate in Fiji increased from 3.7% in 1996 to 8.6% in 2007.
Out of the 24, 463 people registered with NEC, only 9% were able to find employment. Although there is decrease in teenage pregnancy, statistics show high number of single mothers. Percentage of female youth (25 -35 years) in employment in only about 1/2 of the male youth in employment. Household Income and Expenditure Survey [HEIS] 2008/2009 reports that 31% of Fijis Population is in Poverty – 91,600 youths are in poverty. In the Secondary school age group of 14-18 years old, only 80% are at school and 34% in the 19 to 21 age group in tertiary school. Number of crime offenders in youth adult age is increasing (25 plus age).
State of the Pacific Youth Report 2011 – Opportunities and Obstacles (UNICEF & SPC) reflects on need to continue investment in young people during their 2nd and 3rd decade of life. There is a major gap in public policy between education and what lies beyond it. It also reflect on the need for public policy to be more preventive in its approach to Youth development rather than merely reactive to specific youth problems. UNICEF report of 2011 further supports the arguments for investing in adolescence livelihood.
Growing number of young people adopting technology as one their ‘basic needs’. With the use of technologies individuals and groups can make their messages heard far more swiftly and effectively than they could ever before. So what new opportunities and technologies exist that we can capitalize on? mYouth seeks to provide this basic solution to start off with. And how can youth, governments, private sector, non-governmental organizations, training and education centers, and other key actors find opportunity that enables young people to take advantage of the new landscape, yet ensuring that the necessary effective elements are in place to lead to meaningful and sustainable work?
Mobile Connecting Youth – Paving Path for Future Development