Introduction

This publication is a consolidation and synthesis of the lessons learned, promising practices, common challenges, and recommended next steps that participants highlighted during Making Cents International’s 2013 Global Youth Economic Opportunities Conference (GYEOC). Rather than an exhaustive review of global practice, the publication features the current state and evolution of the field. The experiences and ideas in this publication detail how many members of the global community are building upon the past and working towards achieving ambitious goals for the future of the field. Their recent experiences, generated in classrooms, foundations, governments, and businesses throughout the world, represent the “real-time” evolution of the field. Chapters reflect the insights, analysis, and recommendations generated by conference presenters and/or the synergy between presenters and participants.

The 2013 Global Youth Economic Opportunities Conference was divided into five tracks: workforce development (WFD); youth enterprise development (YED); gender; youth-inclusive financial services and capabilities (YFS); and monitoring, evaluation, impact assessment (M&E). Together, these tracks present a compelling snapshot of the YEO field. Within the publication, the key findings and programmatic examples related to these tracks are dispersed within and across different chapters, so readers can find relevant information and program examples quickly.

How Should I Use This Publication?

Feel free to extract information and learning from chapters of particular interest or review all chapters based on your interests and needs. Programmatic examples provide additional insight and ground lessons learned within their operative contexts. In order to facilitate a quick read, certain examples include a small icon to help identify what the text box example offers.

New tools include training manuals, monitoring and evaluation resources, websites, publications, and any other resources that can be adapted and used in programming.

Hot topics refer to points of debate or discussion within the field. These may be topics that have recently emerged or that have consistently inspired debate amongst practitioners.

Bright ideas include new or interesting approaches worth highlighting. They may refer to an innovation relevant to the entire field or to a region or operating context.

Practical tips capture practitioners’ advice, techniques or some other learning crystallized from programmatic examples and on-the-ground experience.

Checklists, extracted from experiences shared at the 2011 Conference, help practitioners and others to review whether they have components necessary for programmatic success.

Voices of participants, presenters or other experts in the field make learning personal; describing anecdotes or experiences that shaped colleagues’ perspectives about an issue in the field.

Research Spotlight describes research findings and recent studies that advance our understanding of the YEO field.

Noteworthy Results share evaluation or other results from YEO programs operating throughout the world and include a brief description of the program.

Content on Adolescent Girls and Young Women is mainstreamed throughout the chapters. This icon indicates key findings or programmatic examples that highlight gender issues or AGYW-focused programs.