Policy highlights:

  • The psychology of how young people are affected by poverty is often overlooked within development studies.
  • The motivations, aspirations and actions of young people depend critically on their ability to build a coherent self-identity and a range of critical developmental assets such as self-confidence, independence, self-efficacy and communication skills.
  • Poverty limits young people’s access to material and emotional support. The pressure to contribute financially to the household and an inability to secure work leads to negative perceptions and poor self-identity. This is worsened by the stigmatization of urban youth, who are often associated with crime.
  • It is important to move beyond material poverty when talking about young people and integrate the psychosocial development of young people into the debate on youth poverty.
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