Agents for Development: The Booming Youth Population in the Maldives

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Aminath Afrah Rasheed
Mizna Mohamed
Mohamed Inaz

Abstract

The Maldives is in the midst of a demographic window of opportunity, with a large share of the population on comprised of children and young adults. Youth account for about 40 per cent of the Maldivian population on, and the dependency ratio o has shown declines in the most recent national census. The country’s success in reaping the demographic dividends of this ‘youth boom’, in terms of social and economic development, is arguably reflected in the level of positive youth engagement in the community. However, there is a growing concern that Maldivian youth feel, and are perceived to be, socially and economically disenfranchised and idle. Based on an ongoing qualitative research study on everyday changes and everyday lives in Maldivian communities, this paper discusses the high level of youth engagement in community development and livelihood activities in a small island community. Various qualitative research methods including interviews and observations were used in the research. The significance of factors such as parenting, role models in the community, community size, schooling, mentors, family structure and responsibilities, level of development of the island and types of economic opportunities available, which may contribute to higher levels of youth engagement, are explored.

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