Why the Sahel Development Initiative?
Unemployment is a critical issue faced by youth in the Sahel, also known as one of the youngest areas in the world. In Mali, while 60% of the population is under the age of 25, fewer jobs are created in the economy than are needed to keep up with the growing population.
The mismatch between skills acquired through the education system and the actual skills needed for the labor market significantly widens the gap. Every year an estimated 300,000 youth enter the workforce. Of those, only 5% are employed by the private sector, while the majority is oriented to the informal sector which can be precarious and low paid. High rates of unemployment have been shown to lead to violence, extreme economic division, poverty, and other long-standing obstacles that can permanently disable development.
Throughout time and space, the contribution to societal development of certain groups, like women and youth, has been overlooked and undervalued. To reverse the consequences of the marginalization of such essential individuals, the values of equity and inclusion are at the core of the SDI, from the selection process to our blog, with a monthly segment, The Marginal Voice, dedicated to amplifying the voices of those that have previously been silenced and cast aside, we are committed to helping our partners foster and strengthen diversity in their workplace. We are certain that the creation of a more diverse workplace, where every individual is listened to, valued and respected, will foster innovation and creative thinking and greatly contribute to the development of fairer, better societies in the Sahel.
The SDI is committed to advancing the professional development of the highly talented and capable youth in the Sahel by instilling the necessity for an individual commitment to the improvement of their communities and the development of a sustainable and solid work ethic, with a focus on acknowledging and respecting differences of personal experience and opinion. We seek to further the growth of a driven youth, held accountable by their personal and professional commitment to their work and to those around them and firmly believe that a responsible youth, duty-bound to their communities will be the building block of a better Sahel, united around the values of professional development and economic growth.
With 10 years to go before the deadline for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, it is now very crucial to involve all key development actors to make SDGs a national priority, central to the budgeting process. We strongly believe in the crucial role of the Sustainable Development Goals for the economic and inclusive development of women and youth, especially in rural areas. In all the projects we implement, we strive to introduce the values and principles related to SDGs; We are convinced that it is through local economic development and the implementation of the “Leave no one behind” principle to achieve inclusion and gender equality, that we can build strong, just and equitable rural communities and thus reduce developmental imbalances between rural and urban communities.
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