12 August – International Youth Day

International Youth Day

12 August designated as International Youth Day by UN General Assembly

United Nations earmarked August 12 as International Youth Day. This year’s theme “Youth and Mental Health” for this special day follows the slogan ‘Mental Health Matters’. Youth with mental health conditions do experience discrimination that leads to exclusion. Often this discourages them to seek help, more so for fear of being ‘labeled’ negatively.

Efforts are on to overcome such stigma and ensure that young people with issues can lead healthy lives free of isolation or shame. They are to be encouraged to openly seek the services and support available. HERD Foundation is all set to be part of such efforts. Our focus has always been for youth development and this input will be promoted through approaches that address challenges faced by young people.

HERD Foundation wants to reach out to youth with mental health issues and others to tackle stigma and promote social inclusion of all young people to achieve their aspirations and goals. International Youth Day is a time to reinforce our pledge to bring youth issues to the attention of all and celebrate the potential of youth as promising partners in today’s global society.

This annual celebration of role of young women and men as essential partners in change, sees HERD Foundation take on opportunities to raise awareness of the challenges and hardships facing the youth. We have promoted sports events as a way to assist the youth in overcoming limitations. The thematic campaign has encouraged the general public to understand the needs of young people. We need to also implement policies to help them overcome the challenges they face and to get young people into decision-making processes.

Nearly half of all people in the world today are under the age of 25. Effectively addressing the special needs of  youth is a critical challenge for the future. Especially the youth between ages 15 – 24 make up for over one sixth of the world’s population. However they are seldom recognized as a distinct group for the critical role will play in shaping the future. Add to this the fact that countless youth lack education, skills and job training, employment opportunities, and health services. This effectively limits their future at a very early age.

HERD Foundation reacts to such apathy by first including the youth in societal context as important assets for the economic, political, and social life of their communities.


Youth Day Celebrations

International Youth Day – August 12, 2014

135th — This is Where We Stand

This is Where We Stand

Human Development Report – United Nations Development Programme

Each year the Human Development Report offers us a clue as to how “We The World” go about sustaining human progress. This year’s theme ‘Reducing Vulnerabilities and Building Resilience’ provides new perception on vulnerability and offers fresh ways to strengthen our resilience. The HDR covers 187 countries from all over the world and this annual publication is brought out by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The current report cites that the top five countries ranked in terms of High Development Index are Norway, Australia, Switzerland, Netherlands and the US. The bottom five in the ranking or on the Low Development Index are Niger, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Chad and Sierra Leone. India ranks at 135, among the ‘medium development’ countries that include countries like Egypt, South Africa, Mongolia, Philippines and Indonesia.

Among India’s neighbors, Bhutan and Bangladesh are also covered in this category and Pakistan ranks 146 while Nepal ranks 145 and both are in the ‘low development’ category. Sri Lanka ranking 73 falls in the ‘high development’ category. The HDR states that over 200 million people were affected by natural disasters and 45 million (largest number in 18 years) were displaced by conflicts. Such factors play their own role in diminishing progress of human development.

According to income-based measures of poverty, 1.2 billion people live with $1.25 or less a day. However, according to the UNDP Multidimensional Poverty Index, almost 1.5 billion people in 91 developing countries are living in poverty with overlapping deprivations in health, education and living standards. And although poverty is declining overall, almost 800 million people are at risk of falling back into poverty if setbacks occur. Many people face either structural or life-cycle vulnerabilities.

The Human Development Report released today, July 24, 2014 in Tokyo says that measures have slowed down in the past few years. The human development index – a measure derived from life expectancy, education levels and incomes, barely grew from 0.700 in 2012 to 0.702 in 2013. Even this small improvement stands at risk of being reversed in the present bleak scenario of vulnerabilities facing people across the world.

Nearly 80% of the global population lacks comprehensive social protection. About half of all workers — more than 1.5 billion — work in “informal or precarious” employment. This slowdown in human development is a result of the lingering global economic crisis. The expected number of years of schooling too is not growing adequately, with 43% primary students dropping out before completing primary education worldwide. Life expectancy growth has slowed down in Asia, although there is improvement in child mortality rates in Africa.

HDR 2014 introduces a gender development index (GDI) for the first time, which measures gender development gaps among 148 countries. While the overall gender gap is an 8% deficit for women, the income gap is shockingly high — per capita income for men is more than double that for women. Tracking inequality in incomes, health and education, the report says that inequality has declined in health access, remained constant in education but increased by two percentage points with respect to income.


‘Reducing Vulnerabilities and Building Resilience’