Sexta, Março 01, 2024
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The Secretary General of the Timor-Leste Youth Council (CNJTL), Mateus Lemos Soares said the government must invest in empowerment programs for young people in Timor-Leste, because some 75% of the population is under the age of 35, to increase their knowledge and skills, so they can innovate and find solutions for national challenges including unemployment and malnutrition.

The Secretary General of the Timor-Leste Youth Council (CNJTL), Mateus Lemos Soares said the government must invest in empowerment programs for young people in Timor-Leste.

He added young people are a key resource that will transform the nation and bring development that is sustainable for the nation and for the people.

“CNJTL is working with all youth organisations and we are encouraging young women and men to offer solutions to national challenges. One of the biggest challenges we face is high youth unemployment. We also have high malnutrition rates of around 47%. We have 40% of the population living in poverty. And we are still dependent on the Petroleum Fund. These are national challenges. We also have a young population,” he said after attending a celebration to mark world youth day, in Lecidere, in the capital, Dili.

He also said that young people are the strategic partners of the State to find solutions for national challenges, but they will need support from the government to develop and create spaces for themselves and for others.

He added the government needs to start designing priorities for the productive sector so it can create employment for young people, who are now looking for opportunities overseas including in the agriculture sector.

“Our young people are looking for jobs overseas in the agriculture sector, whilst our own national agriculture sector remains abandoned. Research conducted shows young people are not entering the national agriculture sector. They don’t want to get dirty anymore. They don’t want to because of lack of investment. We ask the government to find solutions and to invest in young people,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Country Representative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Pressia Arifín-Cabo, said Timor-Leste has a demographic advantage in that almost 75% of its population is under the age of 35. But, she added, many young people are left behind because they do not have access to university, they are illiterate, they don’t have jobs, and they lack skills.

“We are working with the Ministry of Youth, Sports, Arts and Culture, on an integrated program that allows different options for young people that match their abilities, and not just in the hospitality sector, but their ability in the green sector, on the conservation of water, and in other areas. We are working together to invest in the existing training centres,” she said.

She added all entities of government are needed, to work alongside other agencies, with civil society, to support the youth to become productive in society and so they can contribute towards national development.