Youth and Development: Role of social Worker

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When we hear the term Youth, the first thing that comes in our mind, is the energetic group of society who always wants positive change in their own family, community, society, state and overall development of country. They are the change agent of society, who has capacity to change the society. Youth are tomorrow’s leaders, parents, professionals, workers and today’s assets (DFID/Maguire, 2007). The youth is known as the backbone of the country. Youth always talks about development of country. They even complain about the pace of country’s development and desire rapid development. According to United Nation “Youth are those between the age of 15 and 24 year. There are over 1.8 billion young people in the world today, 90 percent of whom live in developing countries, where they tend large proportion of population. (UN Population Division, World Population Prospects: 2008 Revision).  So it is necessary that to develop a community or nation all should focus on development of youth. Government should formulate programs, which at least help the youth to achieve their own basic necessities.

Youth are the change agent but unfortunately they are mislead and misused by political parties and marginalized by policy makers. Country and/or government are not able to mobilize large number of youth. The youths are not being used by the nation that’s why India is still facing poverty, unemployment, corruption, suicide, and various kinds of socio-economic problems. In Policies youth are always acknowledged but policy has always been for youth and not about them. Government or state makes so many programs and plans without involvement of youth but those kinds of programs may not be effective for this generation youth. So government and policy maker should include youth to make plan, policies, and programs for themselves. Government must increase the financial, educational, and technical support for youth development. Youth are the group who either help their nation to move forward or stay aback due to the lack of opportunities; lack of employment may lead them to indulge into violent and socially destructive activities (Nandgiri). Healthy development of youth is necessary to develop a nation. It is essential to focus on integrated development of youth.

Characteristics of Youth

There is no any clear cut definition and characteristics of youth because it varies depending on the place, state, countries. It is not easy to define youth because they are the group who has ability to change the shape of the country. No matter which age group they belong to. It is right that all young people need support, guidance, and opportunities during adolescence which is a time of rapid growth and change. With this support they can develop self-assurance and create a healthy, successful life. But if they do not get proper guidance, opportunity and support then it may be the cause of destruction of country. Nowadays we can get so many examples of drug users, alcoholics, and youth involving in crimes. These happen because they do not get proper guidance, they do not get opportunity to express their skills and knowledge and absolute lack of support.

Youth always wants to contribute for their family, their society, and their nation. They always have positive motivation to do something good for country. The youth always desire for development and expect more opportunity, facility, and so on. The youth are fearless and unstable; it encourages them to be dynamic and useful for nation.

Youth are always known as the backbone of country. James D. Welfenshon, the formal president of the World Bank (2003), stated that “By the year 2015, there will be three billion people under the age of 25.” So we can say that youth are the future leader of country, future professionals of country, future worker for country and also an essential human resource of the country. The countries which have less youth face difficulty to pick up their speed of development because they do not have enough human resources. The youth are risk taker.

According to Inter American Development bank (2009) “young people wants to build stable democracies, sustainable economies and society based on equity.” The statement also proves that the desire of youth is always to bring about a positive change in the society, where everyone is to get equal opportunity to express themselves, equal opportunity to earn and spend. Their ideology is different from that of the elder generations; they are democratic. They want freedom from social evils which hinders development.

Challenges and problems faced by the Youth.

Youth are the backbone of the country. But why India is still lagging behind and is still a developing country? The reason behind this is that there are so many social, economic and political barriers which prevent youth to participate in the development. The youth are not guided properly by their parents, teachers, and relatives due to which they turn towards drugs, alcoholics, and violent activities. Today’s youth are also brain drained by western countries. Western education gives knowledge about their own culture and values which may not be accepted in developing countries like India.

Most of the youth are facing unemployment problems in developing countries. Youth have education degree but they are unemployed, they have skill but they do not get opportunity to express themselves, because the education system is like that the theory and practical is not related in the context of developing country. It does not mean that western education is bad we should take reference but we also should compare the theory on our own perspectives.

Not only youth but more than 40% of Indian are fighting against poverty in India. There are so many NGOs working to eliminate poverty from root and government also took initiative to eliminate poverty. But without youth development it is not possible to eliminate poverty. It is only possible on paper not in real life. Because of poverty, youth are also facing the challenges on inequality, discrimination. Everyone knows that the young people are not getting more opportunity in leadership or power control matter. The young people are being used by political parties and influential people. They get frustrated on political situation of country and they are waiting for opportunity for job. But if they do not get the opportunity they get psychologically disturbed and start using drugs. So in India, youth are attracted to drugs. Youth are also known as unused resources in current situation. They are neither used by state nor government, and thus losing faith on the Government. That’s why India is also facing the armed violence.

Youth always wants freedom from their parents. They want to choose the path which is directly/indirectly related to nation development. But the elders and parents knowingly or unknowingly, they are creating dependency for youth. Youth are economically, socially dependent on their parents. They get the same status what their parents deserve. Every youth wants their own identity, own status, but the existing society and culture always creates obstacle for them to come out.

Role of social worker to motivate the youth

To develop the youth or to motivate the youth on community development and nation building social worker should use all methods of social work (Social Case Work, Social Group work, Community organization method, social welfare method, social Action method and social work research).

The social worker should focus on youth development programs to develop nation. According to Youth Development Strategies Inc. (2000), what is Youth Development? “Youth Development is a process of human growth through adolescent move from being taken care of to taken care of themselves and others, an approach where policy, funding, and programming are directed at providing supporters to young people as they build their capacities and strengths to meet their personal and social needs; and a set of practices that adults use to provide youth with the types of relationship and experiences needed to fuel healthy development.” According to this definition social worker should understand the youth and social workers should work on to build capacities and strengths to fulfil the individual as well as social desire of youth.

Social workers also should work to promote the social, emotional, spiritual and mental well-being of youth. Lacking these, youth cannot work and think properly. Social worker also should focus on generating opportunities for youth development as well as opportunity to express themselves. Youth are not getting too much opportunity to express themselves and in the context of developing country youth should work under the elders and there they do not get chance to use creativity, they cannot use their potential. So, social worker should provide opportunity to the youth to express and show their potentiality.

Youth are not getting opportunity to participate in politics, planning, policy making and etc. so social worker should conduct programs and activities to pressurize the authorized sector to provide opportunity for youth to participate in all parts of government and decision-making status.

Social worker should not work on youth but they should work with youth. As a social worker, worker should not feel that they are working for developing the youth capacity but they are working to enhance the potential capacity which all youth have but that may be hidden because they may not get chance to express those hidden potentiality. To enhance the potential capacity of youth social worker should focus on practical knowledge as well as skills where they can use those creativity, skills, and potentialities. Social worker should minimize the activities and knowledge which only gives theoretical aspects.

As everyone have their inherent worth and dignity the same way youth also has. As just social worker works with youth it does not mean that youth know nothing, social worker should respect the opinion and skills of the youth. Even so many things social worker does not know, youth can teach them so many things, so social worker should have ability to accept the uniqueness of individuals.

Besides these, social worker should be able to connect youth with their communities and nation. Nowadays youth are dreaming about western countries and they always want to go abroad. But as a social worker we should convince them that they are the nation builder, without them the nation is nothing. Whatever they can do in western countries same can be done here. Social worker should be able make them feel that how much they are needed and useful for their own communities and nation.

The social worker should conduct research and survey to find-out the needs of youth and the necessities of youth for development and then they should formulate programs which are really relevant with youth.

All youths are leader. Some youth may not know how to lead. Social worker should build the self esteem of youth and should provide training on leadership to develop and enhance their leadership. Social worker themselves might be the role model for youth to make them think about the nation/community development. No any sustainable development is possible if youth are not interested or if youth do not take leadership.

Last but not the least, a social worker should pressurize the government to take responsibility of youth and make youth accountable and responsible for country.

Amit Kumar Yadav

MSW Ist Year

SSW Roshni Nilaya

Position: Academic Social Worker

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