Have you been unemployed before? Or seen the look of frustration on the face of a family member or close friend who has been trying to get a job, with no success?
This is the story of Mercy, a 28-year-old woman who graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing degree five years ago but has never had a job. Initially, Mercy sent out applications week after week trying to get a job. Whenever she applied, she noticed employers wanted years of experience, and often wondered how she would get it if no one offered her a job. As the weeks become months, she loses hope and often goes for weeks without applying. She has also looked for opportunities to support herself by selling various products and clothes to her small network of friends. Mercy’s situation is draining because she has hopes and aspirations, but these currently feel like distant dreams.
People like Mercy don’t need charity or pity! They need decent jobs to contribute to their community that also gives a sense of dignity. You can help turn things around for people like Mercy.
Join the People’s Call to Action on Jobs in Africa
Thando is an engineering graduate who works as an Uber taxi driver in Johannesburg. After looking for work and failing to secure it, he resorted to using the next skill he had, his driver’s license. They paid him on commission and uses what he earns to start up a small business. It has been a long time since he received a response to his daily job applications.
Mercy and Thando’s story are not unique. Many young people across the African continent are underemployed or locked out of formal employment. 60% of Africa’s population is under 25 and 67% is under 30. Africa needs 15 million new decent jobs every year to absorb its booming young population. Those living in this situation are not only vulnerable to poverty but also to substance abuse as they try to cope with daily stress.
Young people need opportunities
ONE’s interaction with young people shows young people don’t want charity, and are not lazy. They want to make meaningful contributions to their families, community and society.
Africa needs to harness the potential of young people and create opportunities for them to realize their full potential. Let’s stand together for this urgent call to governments and the private sector across Africa to create 15 million jobs by 2025.