Young people are the backbone of a society. Their participation in all aspects of society is very important. Unfortunately, we see many Iraqi youth being deprived of this. They have no or limited roles in decision-making processes or leadership programs at the local and national level.
Isolating young people, intentionally or unintentionally, especially in rural plantation areas, can contribute to drug abuse, illegal and criminal actions, depression, migration and so on. This is happening while youth are the potential group of actors for structuring the future of Iraq.
Based on a report published by International Monetary Fund (IMF), 40% of youth are unemployed in Iraq.
Furthermore, according to the latest statistics published by Iraqi Supreme National Authority for Drug Prevention, there are up to 7,000 drug abusers, including people addicted to popping pills. Another report disseminated by the United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention articulates that there are three addicts out of ten people between the ages 18-30. The report attributes the spread of addiction to inadequate follow-up, awareness and absence of penalty. The United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention’s estimated that after 10 years drug abuse will devastate Iraqi youth if the situation remains unchanged.
Of the young addicts in Iraq 91.2% are detainees, 38% belong to poor families, 87.1% have only primary education or less and most live in rural plantation areas and suburbs.
My proposed mechanisms of interference to mitigate their suffering and make them positive contributors to our society are:
- Conduct training and capacity building, in areas such as leadership, advocacy, gender awareness, communication and life skills.
- Provide English language and computer skills courses in line with work requirements and modern life.
- Community awareness regarding importance of education and knowledge.
- Sensitize parents to support their children to complete their studies and follow up, encourage and support them to achieve their dreams.
- Foster their role in society; listen to their ideas and suggestions.
Therefore, empowering, strengthening and including young people in the work environment will reduce unemployment, crime, drugs abuse. This will lead to a better society, a better country, a better world.