Module: Youth

The youth module focuses on those persons between the ages of 10 and 24, who constitute approximately 33% of the population in the region.* This module addresses the demographic challenges that exist whereby, on average, 63% of the population is under the age of 25 and the dependency ratio averages 82.8%. These demographics have strained educational, economic and social infrastructure, and they deeply impact politics. Over the next few decades, however, if fertility declines, there may be a “demographic dividend” with the number of working adults per dependent child increasing in the next few decades.

This unit addresses the challenges and opportunities of these trends by focusing on education, health, sports, and popular culture from the perspective of youth. The materials and activities in this module are informed by the cross-cutting issues of gender, ethnicity, religion and location (e.g. rural/urban). The module encourages students to explore the demographic and methodological issues.

Case studies examine: 1) comparative educational structures and policies; 2) changing gender roles, reproductive health and the response to HIV/AIDS and STDs; 3) the recent deployment of sports to ameliorate problems and achieve development goals; and 4) transnational conversations about politics, society and the future of the region. These conversations are often mediated through music and video, among youth residing in the countries of the Horn and their peers in diaspora communities.

*The African Union Youth Charter defines youth as "every person between the ages of 15 and 35 years." This unit will consider  the issue broadly.