I wouldn’t have called myself a youth worker. I just thought I was using my time and talents outside of work to help young women. I can see that there is so much need around me. I didn’t realise that there was a specific word for this type of work, or so much written about the value of this type of learning outside the classroom. I hope sharing information about youth work can help others to see that it is actually really important for our sisters and daughters because sometimes parents see Youth Clubs  as a waste of time. On the other hand, when they see the changes in their daughters after joining our programmes, it speaks for itself.

Youth Worker, Kenya

Youth workers are people who work to support young people – for example in youth clubs. If you work with young people (internationally defined as under 25s, but sometimes even defined as under 30s!) you are a Youth Worker – whether you are paid or unpaid. As youth workers supporting young women and girls in Africa, we are always thinking of how to empower them and help them to overcome their challenges, so that they can thrive in their personal and professional lives, and have agency as citizens.

Youth Workers are important, even when this role is not well-recognised in our countries, or seen as prestigious in Africa. We are giving young women and girls the chance to learn when their family and school experiences are not preparing them sufficiently for their daily life and future. Our role isn’t to replace family or school, but to add richness, or make up for gaps.

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