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Child Rights International Network

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The Convention on the Rights of the Child ensures children an adequate standard of living in article 24. It stipulates that States Parties have the duty to take appropriate measures to assist parents and those responsible for the child to implement this standard of living and shall, in case of need, provide material assistance and support programmes, particularly with regard to nutrition, clothing and housing. There is also article 31 on leisure, recreation and cultural activities whereby states should provide access for children to cultural, artistic, recreational and leisure activity.

Rural youth are often overlooked by policy makers and international agencies. This is partly to do with the notion that young people are not yet productive, viable members of society. Young people have limited opportunities for participation and are unable to voice their concerns. As the priority for young people in rural areas is getting them into education, little else has been done with regards to their rights.

In many countries in the global south, up to 70 per cent of young people 15 – 25 live in rural areas with limited access to primary education. Of those who do go to school, 30 per cent drop out in the first years. In the parts of sub-Saharan Africa where there are schools, formal education generally lasts under three years. In some regions, as few as 10 per cent of the children continue into secondary education. According to UNESCO, there are from 130 to 150 million out-of-school young people, mostly in sub-Sahara Africa and these numbers are increasing. Over two-thirds of these are girls and young women.

Young people in rural areas are at particular risk of HIV and AIDS, drug abuse, violence, discrimination, broken families and high birth rates among adolescent girls. Lack of educational opportunities and limited possibilities for employment in rural areas means that young people are increasingly moving to urban settings, which exacerbates the situation further for rural communities.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) has a rural youth development programme which can be accessed here. The mission of this programme is to strengthen and expand existing government and non-government rural youth programmes and help set up new ones that enable girls and boys and young women and young men to become productive and contributing citizens of their local communities.

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Child Rights International Network
East Studio
2 Pontypool Place
Tel: +44 (0)207 401 2257

Last updated 18/02/2008 09:25:16

Please note that these reports are hosted by CRIN as a resource for Child Rights campaigners, researchers and other interested parties. Unless otherwise stated, they are not the work of CRIN and their inclusion in our database does not necessarily signify endorsement or agreement with their content by CRIN.

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