“We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt
The world today has seen a blossoming of youth populations – the largest in human history, in fact! The world now has over 1.8 billion young people, approximately a quarter of the entire human population. These youth populations are extraordinary sources of untapped human capacity, individuals capable of changing the world.
With last week’s release of the Global Youth Wellbeing Index by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, we can see in greater detail what the youth of today, and the future of tomorrow, look like around the globe. Here at MGEF, we see great potential in each Maasai girl to carve her own path and to create a brighter tomorrow for herself and her entire community.
The Index (take a look here!) has shed valuable insight on the status of youth around the world comparing 30 countries across 6 areas including economic opportunity, education, and safety and security. With Kenya standing as the fourth lowest country on the index for overall youth wellbeing, MGEF is strengthened in its commitment and resolve to improve the literacy, health, and economic well-being of the Maasai people through the empowerment of its girls and women. Investing in Maasai women is an investment in the Maasai community as a whole for generations to come.
Though the Youth Index is the first of its kind and is somewhat limited in its range of countries, it emphasizes the importance of taking a multi-faceted approach when working to improve the lives of young people. In Kajiado County, Kenya, the Maasai Girls Education Fund works with such an approach: improving economic opportunities for young female Maasai through educational scholarships, and Community Education Programs which teach all members of the Maasai community about health and gender topics (FGM, early marriage, teen pregnancy, HIV, the importance of female education).
Emmanuel Jimenez of the World Bank put the issue plainly: youth programs cannot be seen as a niche issue, but rather the life-source and fiber of economic well-being in a society.
Want to learn more about MGEF’s grassroots approach for improving youth wellbeing in the Maasai community in Kenya? Become part of the solution by sending your ideas and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or by making a contribution!