Published on August 24, 2021

Youth Week: My Future is Now

On August 11, the “My Future is Now” Project hosted a Youth Forum to address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and challenges for meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

The Forum was conceived as a space for discussion in which young people and representatives of youth organizations could raise problems, challenges, solutions and initiatives, around the following topics: poverty and social protection, training, technical and professional skills, gender equality and recognition of care work, decent work and reduction of inequality through social protection.

In addition to the participation of young people from social organizations and civil society, Washington Quinchuela, Director of Youth of the Ministry of Economic and Social Inclusion (MIES) and Miguel Muñoz Manager of the Youth Employment Project of the Ministry of Labor also participated. Both were invited to attend the Forum on behalf of the Government to listen to the concerns and proposals made by young people.

During their interventions, young people referred to job insecurity and teleworking as some of the most pressing issues that have arisen due to the pandemic. In regards to the latter, the participants mentioned that these new work arrangements make workers’ performance invisible to employers and that there is a lack of limits on the workload. Similarly, the disconnection of the educational system in the face of the demands of the labor market, as well as the few opportunities for access to quality education for young people were also mentioned. Regarding gender issues, the young guests made reference to the fact that after the pandemic, the overload of home care work for women has intensified and wage inequalities have widened.



"Large numbers of young workers are already in precarious conditions and are subject to tremendous informality. We are talking about young people who do not have a fixed salary and are not contributing to social security."

Ma. Fernanda Tandazo
School of Data student and General Director of Data Chill

The panelists also made their recommendations to the Ecuadorian State, civil society and academia, to overcome the barriers and difficulties young people face, as well as the necessary measures for the post-pandemic recovery. Some of these recommendations pointed at job opportunities that should be provided to young people, improve their access to technology, adapt education to this new context and train young people in skills needed by employers. In addition, the youngsters mentioned it is important for the economic recovery to have a sustainable and environmentally responsible approach.

"If we achieve an effective placement of a young person in a formal job, the probability that the person will remain in a formal job for the rest of his/her life is much higher."

Mauricio Dierckxsens
ILO's Employment Policy Specialist

#YouthLead Innovation Festival

On International Youth Day, the Office of the Envoy of the Secretary-General for Youth created a global space to empower new generations through innovation.

The Innovation Festival #YouthLead, took place on the 12th and 13th of August. On this occasion, the celebration focused on publicizing innovative solutions to achieve the SDGs and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, led by young people worldwide. It was also a space for the dialogue between various actors on the use of innovation and technology.

Representing Ecuador, Melissa Valarezo from the “Kolecti” initiative, presented an innovative solution to collect data on young people in the informal sector. The application developed by Melissa and her team was born from the Innovation Challenge promoted by the “My future is Now” Project. The tool designed allows collecting data in an innovative way, taking into account the principles of Open Data while respecting the privacy of data and anonymity of users. The application will allow obtaining more information about the employment situation of young people, and will allow forming a community of young people with common experiences.

The digital tool will be implemented from the Project in the coming months and will be available so that young people can access training resources, events, job opportunities and be part of a community that, at the same time, will contribute and feed the database of young people in informality.