Papua New Guinea: Giving Urban Youth a Second Chance

May 13, 2016

Like many others in the capital Port Moresby, after Lawrence left school, finding a job was very difficult. To get by, he turned to petty street crimes. When Lawrence joined the World Bank and Australian Government-supported Urban Youth Employment Program (UYEP), his life changed direction.

World Bank Group

Unemployment of young people in urban areas is one of the biggest development challenges faced by Papua New Guinea (PNG). A World Bank-supported project is helping youth in the capital of Port Moresby by providing training and employment opportunities to give them a leg up in life.

Challenge

Young people account for almost half the population of PNG, and comprise a large part of the urban poor. In the capital, Port Moresby, there are more than 40,000 unemployed young people, many have missed out on completing their education due to their life circumstances and do not have the necessary skills for entry-level jobs. Long-term unemployed young people often find themselves involved in petty crime to support themselves.

 

Approach

To provide new opportunities for disadvantaged youth in Port Moresby, the Urban Youth Employment Project provides training to improve young people’s chances of obtaining jobs. The project is also helping provide short-term jobs to help participants earn an income and gain much-needed employment experience.

 

Results

Since it began in 2011:

  • more than 15,000 young people have participated in the project, 40% of them women.
  • participants have completed more than 360,000 combined work days;
  • 35% of young people who have graduated from the project’s on-the-job training program have then gone on to receive an offer of a paid job.

" I don’t want to go back to what I was doing before, doing nothing and socializing with the street boys. I’ve got my dream. "

Lawrence

UYEP member

When Kandiye’s husband remarried and left her, taking their children, she was emotionally and physically affected. Through the World Bank and Australian Government-supported Urban Youth Employment Project (UYEP), she was able to earn a job placement with a Papua New Guinea refrigeration company. Through hard work and tenacity, Kandiye eventually became a full-time staff member and now has enough income to support her children.

World Bank Group

World Bank Group contribution

The World Bank Group’s International Development Association (IDA) contributes $15 million to the Urban Youth Employment Project.

 

Partners

In March 2016, the Australian Government provided additional financing of $10.8 million to extend the project until the end of 2018.

Other partners involved with the project include the Government of Korea which has contributed $0.6 million, the Government of Papua New Guinea, the Bank of South Pacific, and a large number of businesses in Port Moresby. 

The project is implemented by PNG’s National Capital District Commission.

 

Moving Forward

The additional funding and expansion of UYEP has allowed the project to open opportunities for more unemployed young people in Port Moresby to gain income, work experience, training and access to the formal banking system. A possible expansion of the project into other cities in PNG is currently being considered.  

 

Beneficiaries

Like many young people in the capital Port Moresby, after Lawrence Kerry left school, finding a job was very difficult. To get by, he turned to petty street crime.

When Lawrence joined the Urban Youth Employment Project, his life changed direction. “When I first registered my name, I felt a sense of belonging. I don’t want to go back to what I was doing before, doing nothing and socializing with the street boys. I’ve got my dream.”

>15,000
young people have participated in the project