Fighting poverty: Youth employment and innovation come to the foreOct 17, 2017
On Tuesday 17 October, students at Kinshasa’s higher arts and vocational education institute, the Institut Supérieur des Arts et Métiers, celebrated the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. This symbolic day paved the way for the launch of a three-day training session to boost entrepreneurship and innovation among final-year students, as well as an innovation competition - youth under-employment being a significant vector for poverty in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Participating in the event were the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Country Director a.i., the Minister of Planning and of Gender, Family and Children’s Affairs, as well as the heads of a number of institutions active in the promotion of female entrepreneurship and innovation.
“Responding to the 17 October call to eradicate poverty: a path towards peaceful and inclusive societies” was this year’s theme, celebrating a day which is one of the UNDP’s principal means of raising awareness in order to draw public attention to the challenges faced in the fight against poverty. It is also an opportunity to encourage political action and innovation at all levels, in order to improve the living conditions of peoples and nations. An annual event, its aim is to generate the highest level of engagement possible, on a worldwide scale in general and from individual States in particular.
The UNDP in the DRC, in partnership with the Institut Supérieur des Arts et Métiers (ISAM) organises a series of activities: lecture-debates, training, and innovation competitions for youth employment. These activities aim to underline the creative spirit of young Congolese people as well as the efforts of development partners and Congolese citizens to reduce poverty in the DRC through job creation.
The event is also an opportunity to raise public awareness about the role of entrepreneurship and innovation in development, and to offer students an opportunity to highlight their talents through production and creativity in the textile industry.
Extreme poverty and profound indignation
The UNDP’s Country Director a.i. emphasised the profound indignation which extreme poverty must continue to elicit: "In a world characterised by unprecedented levels of economic development, technology and financial resources, the fact that millions of people live in extreme poverty elicits profound moral indignation. In the DRC, there is still considerable progress to be made on the path to a better future, particularly for young people. To overcome these challenges, the full participation of the most deprived must be at the centre of policy and strategies aiming to build a sustainable future for all in the DRC."
The UNDP recognises the role of youth and female entrepreneurship in the fight against poverty. In the DRC, as in Africa in general, women and young people are often those most affected by poverty, but they are also often the first to find means of survival and to be the agents of change. In its 2016 global report on human development, the UNDP pledged to support national efforts to promote and increase women’s participation and leadership in decision-making within the home, the economy, and society. The commemorative activities in the days to come form part of this approach.
This celebration brings to the fore ”the willingness to train job creators, not desperate jobseekers as before,” emphasised His Excellency the Deputy Planning Minister, Jean Pierre Nzepele, during his address, articulating the main objective of all these activities to support the unrelenting struggle against the poverty suffered by the DRC.