Health, education, protection, livelihoods, and livelihoods of children and young people in developing and fragile contexts.

Blog: What do mobile phones have to do with youth employment in Africa?

Oct 2017
Talking with unemployed young people in Africa about their efforts to find work is often dispiriting; sometimes it is heart-rending. This is especially true of South Africa, where the apartheid legacy continues to compound youth frustrations. A quest for good (or any) employment features strongly in so many young peoples’ stories. But is the ‘mobile phone’ turning this quest around?
The overall aim of the research is to generate new knowledge about how marginalised youth perceive, navigate, negotiate and respond to uncertainty in impoverished fragile and conflict affected communities in Ethiopia and Nepal.

South African higher education (HE) is characterised by inequalities of access, participation and success, and hence youth disadvantage, yet it is also seen as central to economic development and social mobility.

Although there have been major advances in school enrolment in the past two decades, the outcomes of education are often poor, especially among girls, young people from indigenous groups and ethnic minorities, those of lower socio-economic status and in remote rural areas. The World Bank and other globally influential agencies have recently been promoting the view that this is partly due to the limited aspirations of such children and their parents.

The low level of numeracy skills of millions of poor and marginalised students, particularly in developing nations, is of international concern. This project focuses on improving these through developing teachers' and teacher trainers' pedagogical and assessment skills in extremely deprived urban areas in South Africa and Tanzania. Eighteen schools and three training colleges will be involved.

Informal m-health: How are young people using mobile phones to bridge healthcare gaps in Sub-Saharan Africa?

Drawing on qualitative and quantitative data collected in 2012–2014 from over 4500 young people (aged 8–25 y) in Ghana, Malawi and South Africa, this paper documents practices of using mobile phones to seek healthcare and the new therapeutic opportunities they create, alongside the constraints, contingencies and risks.

Intergenerational relations and the power of the cell phone: Perspectives on young people’s phone usage in sub-Saharan Africa

In this paper we reflect on the inter-generational encounters which are embedded in young people’s cell phone interactions, and consider the wider societal implications, not least the potential for associated shifts in the generational balance of power.

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