Young people in Nigeria are currently faced with the rising cost of college tuition and a job market which is particularly inhospitable: 15 percent of young people aged 16 to 24 are unemployed, compared to the overall unemployment rate of 7.3 percent. At the same time, interest in entrepreneurship – particularly social entrepreneurship – appears to be growing among young people. Some organizations are emerging that seek to promote youth entrepreneurship as a way to combat poverty. Whilst there is an increasing number of social entrepreneurs, very few organizations in Nigeria have explored youth cooperative development as a possible approach. However, youth cooperative development presents many compelling opportunities to combat poverty and the current “brain drain” and to promote generative leadership development and engaged citizenship.
By Badejo Adeyemi, Ogun State Youths Cooperative
By helping young people to create worker cooperatives, the benefits of entrepreneurship will be multiplied through more individuals taking leadership roles in the creation of a business. The cooperative organizational structure teaches self-governance skills and creates stakeholders in local communities. At the moment, young people are taught democratic principles but are not allowed to engage with them until they “come of age”. This model is contradictory because it shows young people that our democracy is willing to impose laws on them without giving the least consideration to their input. By offering young people an outlet to practise democratic principles, we can ensure that they will “hit the ground running” and be a fully engaged member of the electorate when they do “come of age”.
More information on this subject can be found in an article in International Cooperative Alliance News
International Organisation of Industrial, Artisanal and
Service Producers' Cooperatives
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