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Caring for ourselves, for others and for the world

9 June 2021

Day 2 of the Youth-Led Solutions Summit on the Future of Work focused on the Care Economy and the Green Economy. Our post-COVID world is disrupted, so in this quest for meaningful and decent jobs, caring for one another and caring for the planet is central to how we respond, and overcome so many challenges.

The plenary sessions were moderated by Kevins Randiek and Mike Bromfield.

Care Economy: because health matters

“We are not our jobs. We only do them”. In her keynote speech, Rebecca Seal, writer and author, encouraged participants to take care of their mental wellbeing: “In this conversation on the Future of Work, I would like us to think where does work sit in our lives? We need to push work away from the center of our life. Work has primacy in so many lives, and this is not healthy”.

She gave practical tips:

having ongoing conversations with ourselves about our work and our wishes sustaining our mental health by exposing ourselves to daylight, taking regular breaks, eating healthily, and moving often.

One important thing is to visualise our life path: “How do we want to construct the life that we want?”

A panel moderated by Lloyd Wamai from the YMCA Africa Alliance then highlighted the specificities, difficulties and challenges of the Care sector.

Valeria Esquivel, Employment Policies and Gender Specialist for the International Labour Organization (ILO), said: “The Care sector is the sum of all the unpaid work done in the household, plus the work that contributes to the health sector, to the education sector and domestic work”.

Saachi Dalal, Chief Strategy Officer of KushiBaby in India, an organization which builds scalable digital platforms to monitor public health, explained: “We work with health workers, nurses and mothers. The environment in which they work is very difficult: it is underpaid, there is a huge amount of work and very little time, and it creates lots of pressure on them”.

Dr Ayat Abu-Agla, Technical Officer at the World Health Organisation (WHO), shared some numbers: “Young people represent one-fifth of the global population, yet they make up one-third of the total unemployed worldwide. 145 million young people live in poverty, and 267 million of them are not in employment, in education, or in training. With the pandemic, we see the need to invest in health and care workers, especially for this generation”.

The care economy is therefore strongly linked to education. As Valeria Esquivel concluded: “In 2019, 15% of all young people were employed in the care economy. These figures must have increased since the pandemic. The Care sector is a strong employer especially for young women, but they have to have high qualification”.

Guys can we have an audio of the different presenters cause it’s so good (Jerreh C.)Yes, I will love to work in the Ministry of Youth (Oyebode Michael A.)

Green economy: there is a future growth

In the afternoon, 230 participants joined the plenary session which focused on the green economy.

First, Pierre Dubuc, CEO & Founder of leading online platform Open Classrooms, shared the success story of his company: “We wanted to make professional education accessible. Our product is a combination of project-driven pedagogy, competency-based education, and face-to-face mentorship. We launched Open Classrooms 20 years ago – today we are more than 300 staff members, 2000 mentors and 2 million students”.

A panel led by Jail Ixel Cruz from YMCA Mexico City then provided perspectives on the green economy.

Marwan Benali, Green Jobs Specialist for The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), gave the UN definition of the green economy: “It’s an economy that improves human wellbeing and social equality. Within a green economy, investments are made to support growth through employment, with the aim to reduce pollution and to prevent the loss of the eco-system”.

Regula Schegg, Managing Director for Asia at Circulate Capital, spoke about the Circular Economy: “Preventing plastic ending up in the ocean is a tremendous job opportunity for young people. There are opportunities in redesigning the packaging, and in recycling the materials going forward by upcycling them. It goes back to seeing the value in what we have as resources, and how to use manufacturing to reuse the product more ecologically and consciously”.

Howard Lee, Programme Director at Taichung YMCA in Korea, gave a concrete example of what they offer: “Instead of involving young people in green jobs or green industry, our YMCA is focusing on education by setting a green mindset. Through our international volunteering environmental-friendly programme, our young people are not only givers, they are also receivers of values and understanding of this world”.

Recognising that the green economy is fully part of the economic recovery process post-COVID, the panelists agreed that: there is future growth in the recycling industry,

a green job is a decent job which contributes to preserve or restore the environment, whatever you are passionate about, find companies to work for or work with which are aligned with your values

Breakout sessions Day 2

More than 200 participants attended the following sessions:

 Breakout Panel: Youth, jobs in the care economy, and the Future of Work

Workshop: How to protect and strengthen your mental health in the workplace

Workshop: Preparing young people for the Future of Work – Asia-Pacific perspectives on economic development and jobs

Workshop: Care work and care jobs for the future of decent jobs

Roundtable discussion: The importance of young people pursuing jobs in the public sector

Workshop: Utilizing a Youth-Led Approach, best practice from YMCA Kosovo

Workshop: Financial literacy and business appreciation: An introduction by YMCA Albay

Workshop: Ecological Futures of Work

Workshop: Practitioners’ situation analysis tools, needs assessment (1 of 3)

Workshop: ‘The Development Alternative’ with Y Care International and Restless Development: Shifting power to young people using digital technology

Workshop: Understanding project models – project design tools for practitioners (2 of 3)

Breakout panel: Youth, green jobs and the Future of Work

Workshop: Monitoring and evaluation for practitioners – data collection and analysis (3 of 3)

Workshop: Responsive programming in youth employment with YMCA Greater Vancouver

Workshop: Technological solutions to societal challenges around violence prevention, female empowerment and sustainability

Workshop: Unpacking the biodiversity economy in Africa and opportunities for youth

Breakout panel: Swarovski Foundation’s innovative Creatives for Our Future program showcase

Workshop: Climate justice education for the future from the Life Science’s Secondary School

Breakout panel: Demystifying digital skills – which digital skills do you need to find a great jobs and thrive, and where to get them

Workshop: Paving your way, through earn and learn programs with YMCA San Francisco

Workshop: Young people working towards climate-friendly, energy efficient, solutions and livelihoods

Workshop: HP LIFE (Learning Initiative For Entrepreneurs) revolutionary free to access skills-based learning platform

Thank you so much YMCA. I appreciate your work and organizing such impactful summit (Elias M.)

More to come on Day 3 of the Youth Led Solutions Summit on the Future of Work.

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