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Jongeren strategie/ Youth Strategy


Naam Plan International Nederland (CI van den Ende)
Plaats Amsterdam
Datum 30 augustus 2019


1. If you look at the 3 regions that we focus on (MENA, Horn of Africa, Sahel) – can you mention specific trends per region which are relevant for the strategy. Are there, for example, specific sectors where there is much to be gained? Or specific skills that young people lack in a certain region or sector?
In the HoA Region, affected by irregular migration to Europe and the Middle East, regional instability and the lack of political willingness hinder the achievement of a political environment favorable to boost the economy of the region. In all 3 regions, this leads to youth facing a double-edged problem – unprecedented growth in the size of the young working-age population and already high levels of unemployment, insecure work and exploitation in their age group. For girls and young women, the situation is far worse, with sub- Saharan Africa registering the highest level of gender inequality at all levels – with regard to employability, social status and decision making power.
Rapid technological advancements, coupled with the rise of new industries, globalization and climate change, bring out radical changes, including the way work is done and how it impacts society as a whole. These shifts offer a unique set of opportunities and challenges, but also risks of further exclusion.
Agriculture is likely to remain the largest source of employment and income in Sub-Saharan Africa, at least for the next decade. In sub-Saharan Africa, more women than men find work in informal non-agricultural employment. More than 60 per cent of women in that region work in agriculture, primarily in time and labour-intensive activities that are unpaid or poorly remunerated.

Areas where there is much to gain:
• Contributing to improvement of the legal status of migrants;
• Changing attitudes, norms and values on, for instance, gender equality and SRHR;
• Strengthen the skills, resources, networks and social safety net of young people, especially enhancing soft skills training which are much in demand by employers.
• Addressing the mismatch between skills and market demand, which is enhanced by the lack of capacity of TVET institutes and outdated curricula which are not sufficiently market-driven nor gender transformative.
• Resilience building in fragile contexts, to equip young people with the skills needed to withstand shock and disaster, and build transferable, demand-driven, technical, soft and employability skills.
• Enhance 21th century skills - work-based and life-long learning, soft skills and digital skills. This should include climate-resilient and green skills and vocations.
• Invest in Social Entrepreneurship (MENA region in particular)
• Improve access to startup capital, especially for young women and for migrant youth.


2. Do you have examples of successful "scaled up" initiatives / programs in the field of education and work to increase youth employment, and if so, which ones? Or do you know of certain successful initiatives that are worth scaling up in the 3 regions mentioned?
• Plan’s Youth Economic Empowerment (YEE) Pathway model has consolidated Plan’s reach into communities and offers a clear understanding of the risks associated with poverty, exclusion and youth unemployment. The approach fosters strategic alliances and partnerships, to create access for youth to core work and life skills; career counselling, mentorship and coaching; job placement and monitoring of working conditions; market-driven technical and vocational training (including apprenticeships); enterprise development training and support; access to financial services; and advocacy for enabling work and business environments. This approach is reflected in all YEE programs worldwide.
• Plan’s RDPP (Regional Development and Protection Program) and ARC (Addressing Root Causes) projects in Ethiopia projects offer skills and economic opportunities to young refugees and their host communities in urban areas in Ethiopia, including a youth employment intermediation component, engaging the private sector to offer decent jobs for youth.
• A Working Future in Uganda - Using Savings Groups as foundation, beneficiaries are trained on life skills, financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and agri-business, and find employment through any of the three pathways (job placement; micro-franchising, and producer groups). First piloted in Eastern Uganda with 12,000 young people and then scaled up in Tanzania, it is now being scaled up to engage 24,000 young people (60%) female in agricultural value chains.
• The Smartup Factory provides marginalized youth a safe, welcoming environment in which to learn crucial life and professional skills and have access to mentoring, peer support and a self-esteem boost. The content is largely driven by the youth and their interests, and the youth also facilitate classes and become mentors. Started in 2016 in Kampala, it has since expanded to 7 hubs in Uganda and 2 hubs in Ethiopia. The project pays particular attention to empowering girls and women and bridging the gender gap;
• The YES!DIGITAL Ecosystem, Plan’s Digital Development solutions initiative, is being developed and piloted with support of Accenture, to enhance the quality of youth employment programs, facilitate their implementation at scale, and maximize impact. Scalable components include the Youth Employment Solutions Monitoring and Evaluation System (YES!ME), designed to track and trace individual beneficiaries up to 5 years after completion, and measure project impact.


3. Do you have specific ideas or additions about how we can make young people part of this policy? How do we ensure that they participate in the implementation of this strategy?

With youth being the primary beneficiary of this strategy that aims to improve economic perspectives for youth, Plan would strongly welcome direct youth engagement. Youth can be engaged in many ways:
• Youth can be included in the decision making process on policy development and/or policy changes, and be made responsible for the implementation of the strategy, as watchdogs or reporters. For example in Plan programming in Bangladesh, youth are trained to follow up on situations where girls are dropping out of school due to forced marriage and/or teenage pregnancies. These youth then talk to all stakeholders involved e.g. parents, community leaders, school management, education officials successfully advocating for the girl to be allowed to finish her education.
• Youth can become active as champions/peers/role models for other youth in communities to roll out the interventions (for example, in awareness raising efforts on the risks of irregular migration). Role models are in a unique position to support and influence the development of personal ambition, career aspiration and improved qualifications among young people, while at the same time raising awareness among young people about the challenges and opportunities offered by the world of work.


4. Anything else you feel is worth mentioning?
Young people, families, communities, civil society, the private sector, governments, training providers and various global actors all play a fundamental role in cultivating a conducive landscape for youth employment and entrepreneurship. We need to work with all these actors: to enable young people to engage in decent work. New, innovative ways are needed to support young people’s economic empowerment, to tackle un- and underemployment and to improve social security in informal settings. Effective programmes combine multiple interventions and are designed to equip youth to overcome the obstacles they face in finding a job.
Within the Dutch development support policy, areas of investment should be:
• Investing in life- and employability skills. E.g., by supporting education systems to integrate these skills into general curricula, and in better job matching mechanisms to match supply and demand on the labor market.
• Ensure stronger due diligence when granting subsidies and other government support to Dutch companies, including decent working conditions, gender transformative measures, as well as the number of jobs created for disadvantaged groups, especially young women.
• Create concrete incentives for private sector to include more youth e.g. by tax incentives.
• Through the diverse policy/support instruments, maintain some flexibility to contribute to initiatives creating economic opportunities and better working conditions for youth also outside the focus regions.
• preparedness for / investment in job mobility, both horizontal (resilience) and vertical (career development).
• Well-researched data and evidence on country-level employment and entrepreneurship efforts.
To achieve actual progress on youth unemployment, prioritizing youth and their entrepreneurship should also be a focus of government policy in the countries themselves. Investing in the conditions needed for inclusive growth – the enabling environment - is also about removing obstacles. Creating this is easier said than done, where policy reforms needed in key areas such as rule of law, access to finance and anti-corruption, fail to be implemented. In many cases this is due to the vested interests of the political economic status quo, which excludes youth. INGOs and CSOs ought to advocate alongside donors and private sector as partners, to push for the political, social and economic reforms needed to create a conducive environment in which youth can realize their full potential.


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