Scaling what works—taking effective solutions to social problems to a scale that truly transforms society—has become a powerful catchphrase in the nonprofit world, and for good reason: It is our best chance for far-reaching change in international development and the social impact sector more broadly. A lot has been written about the big questions surrounding scale: What does it mean to create transformative scale? How do we do it, and when? Which programs are worth scaling in the first place?
A young person’s first job is a critical developmental step toward adulthood. A first job provides an opportunity for youth to engage with the financial system and also infuses earnings into the local economy. In cities across the nation, youth employment programs are the single most significant way that hundreds of thousands of teens are introduced to the working world each year. With municipal ingenuity as well as private sector and philanthropic support, some city leaders and partners have developed innovative, locally-financed summer employment programs in recent years. Related year-round programs complement summer efforts, typically for smaller numbers of youth.
Positive Youth Development (PYD) is recognized as a paradigm shift for international programs. This approach pivots youth programs fixated on “No”—don’t leave school, don’t have risky sex, don’t join a criminal gang—toward activities that strengthen youth competencies and assets and support positive life choices. Important components of these affirming youth programs are a strong sense of belonging for youth and supportive relationships with peers and adults in their communities.
Oil and water? Seemingly, that’s how youth and agriculture programs have evolved—as separate entities that resist being mixed together. The resistance comes from both sides. Traditional agricultural programs often focus on adults, throwing in youth targets only if required. And traditional youth programs often shy away from agricultural livelihoods, which are seen as holding no appeal for young people. Instead of oil and water, Making Cents likens youth and agriculture programs to oil and vinegar. These mix remarkably well in the right combination, creating a new and unique product and nourishing results.
The barriers to economic security for the growing youth population are daunting. With large numbers of youth entering the job market each year, there are insufficient formal employment opportunities, especially in poorer economies. The low quality of education and training and lack of a path to the job market put youth at a disadvantage.
Educators believe that they are adequately preparing youth for the labor market while at the same time employers lament the students' lack of skills. A possible source of the mismatch in perceptions is that employers and educators have different understandings of the types of skills valued in the labor market. Using economics and psychology literature to define four skills sets—socio-emotional, higher-order cognitive, basic cognitive, and technical—this paper reviews the literature that quantitatively measures employer skill demand, as reported in a preference survey.
Banking on Change is currently one of the largest programmes working with youth savings groups (YSGs). In Phase 1 of the programme, from 2009 to 2012, the focus was on savings groups more broadly; in Phase 2 we have focused on YSGs in Egypt, Ghana, India, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. Between June 2013 and December 2015 the programme established 11,725 YSGs with over 245,000 members, of whom 132,000 are under 25 and two-thirds are women.
Crime has become one of the main challenges threatening economies and livelihoods in Caribbean countries, according to UNDP’s Caribbean Human Development Report, with murder rates exceedingly high by world standards. Therefore, boosting citizen security is at the heart of our work in the region. And I knew that was going to be a big part of our work at UNDP Barbados and Eastern Caribbean when I joined the team three months ago.
This report shows the current responses to youth employment issues are disproportionate and disjointed, and all too often ill informed. Without a renewed sense of purpose and action from us all, our good intentions outlined in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will ultimately wither—and a generation will be lost. However, this report notes that—for the first time—we have clear evidence that investments in youth employment pay off.
The number of young people not in education, employment or training (NEET) is at its lowest for the time of year since 2001, UK-wide figures show. Some 853,000 16- to 24-year-olds were NEET at the end of 2015, down 110,000 on the same quarter of 2014. But the figures also show the numbers were 5,000 higher than in the summer. City and Guilds managing director Kirstie Donnelly said it was "worrying" to see the figures "creep up after months of more positive news". The Office of National Statistics figures date back to October to December 2001 when 833,000 young people were classified as NEET, some 12.9% of the total age-group.