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?
- Too few professional opportunities for women - Young men experience a delayed “adulthood” transition where traditional markers of manhood (marriage, starting a family, jobs) are unattainable for many, leaving youth vulnerable to migration and trafficking as well as recruitment from gangs who can offer money, status, and a sense of belonging. - Violence is a huge factor in young people's lives - effecting school, employment, and overall success. Gender based violence (mostly experienced by girls) and gang violence (mostly experienced by boys); suicide is still the #3 cause of adolescent deaths globally and is no different in these regions - World Bank policy recommendations on livelihoods for young people: 1) Develop targeted interventions (identify which youth are involved in activities that contribute to fragility, how they get involved, and why). 2) Reframe debate, policy, and programming on the youth bulge. 3) Manage expectations - creating enough good jobs to meet demand involves significant structural reforms and is a medium- to long-term goal. 4) Mobilize regional networks. 5) Improve the prospects associated with current youth livelihood activities a. Recognize the contribution youth livelihoods activities already make. b. Mechanisms to enable youth financial inclusion, despite informal sector employment c. Work with the private sector and NGOs to stimulate youth entrepreneurialism. 6) Deepen understanding of youth aspirations and frustrations in parallel with short- and long-term employment focused interventions 7) Manage expectations via tailored communications and honest and sustained dialogue mechanisms. - Boy and male engagement in SRHR programs are key, including exciting work with (young) husbands schools. Any work with youth (education, employment, health) should focus on this as the power dynamics are very divided and early adolescence (preferably 0-14) is the time when most change can be affected. - Youth advocacy is strong in MENA, burgeoning in the Sahel - Early marriage and FGM are both harmful cultural practices - where increased education have shown impact - Youth centers for SRHR do not work and should not be promoted / supported - Private sector for SRH provision is more popular in MENA than in Sahel or Horn of Africa countries (e.g. Niger only 3% access private sector healthcare)
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?
- Save the Children's Ethiopia programme has recently conducted research on youth employment linking to their youth focused programmes Youth in Action (YIA) and POTENTIAL. This study highlighted several interesting findings these included: most employees were not adequately trained to meet employers’ needs; hard skills needed upgrading and soft skills (reliability, punctuality, customer service, ability to listen, basic business sense, communication and team work) were lacking. In Kenya, an employer interviewed as part of this piece of research highlighted similar issues and was forced to go outside the region to find suitably qualified staff for his business due to the poor capacity of the local polytechnic. - Population, Health and Environment activities (PHE) have been popular and successful, not only because they are issues that young people care deeply about, but also because they offer income-generation opportunities - Improve STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education and certification programs to better prepare the workforce to the needs of the economy - Micro-credit and programs sustaining youth entrepreneurship - Diversify accredited technical and vocational training options
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?
- Community Action Groups (CAGs) are a popular approach in these regions and youth can lead this work, feeding up the local voice into the policy development - User centered design / human centered design / design thinking are great ways to involve young people in designing and evaluating solutions for them - Youth surveys (non-digital) administered by young mobilizers/leaders - Meaningful Youth Engagement, bringing in youth as equal decision-makers and youth-focused / youth-led organizations to the table as partners - Bring youth stories forward in the policy, humanize it - Let advocacy groups be heard and be present
4. Anything else you feel is worth mentioning?
- There is no employment or education without contraception and no demand for contraception without attention to employment or education - Moving contraception away from family planning and / or those who are sexually active. Addressing youth education and employment needs first where contraception is a tool to get them there.