What Works in Youth and Women's Employment in MENA?
The 2 day event will share knowledge and evidence on what works in youth and women’s employment by looking at case studies of the ILO-IFAD Community of Practice on Youth Employment for MENA countries. The interactive event will allow youth employment practitioners to set the agenda for knowledge generation in the region while learning about innovative techniques for results measurement.
What is the challenge?
Creating decent jobs for both rural and urban young people is a key priority for Egypt’s inclusive growth agenda. Egypt is still plagued by high levels of youth un- and underemployment as well as informal work, especially in rural areas. Unsurprisingly, therefore, youth employment and entrepreneurship promotion is a key priority in Egypt for government institutions, social partners, civil society and development partners. The ILO has partnered with the Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation to tackle these issues in Egypt Youth Employment Programme. However, efforts to promote decent jobs for young people remain fragmented in Egypt, with over 250 individual projects tackling this issue through often local small-scale intervention, limited in scope and outreach. There is a lot of potential for adaptation, replication, and scaling up what works which would lead to a more impactful youth employment promotion landscape in Egypt.
What is needed?
Knowledge sharing and results measurement is a crucial channel through which national and international partners can ensure that experiences and lessons learned are documented, shared, and taken up in policy formulation. Complementary to that is the need for peer learning among implementers of youth employment programmes to both contribute to as well as acquire learning experiences. With two-way, reciprocal, and mutually beneficial sharing of knowledge, ideas, and experiences among peers and partners, there will be value added to the field of youth employment in terms of solving complex challenges.
Egypt suffers from gaps in evidence around what works in designing and implementing youth employment policies and interventions. Part of the challenge is improving the quality and quantity in measuring key youth employment outcomes and evidence. Rigorous monitoring and evaluation can ensure that youth employment actors use resources in a cost-effective way and are able to report and account for resource allocations to their key partners and donors. Impact evaluation and other forms of impact research are tools to ensure credibility of youth employment findings.
The ILO’s response
To facilitate knowledge sharing, partnership creation and up-scaling of successful rural youth employment programmes, the ILO established a Community of Practice (CoP) on Youth Employment (see annex for list of members), supported by the IFAD project “Strengthening gender monitoring and evaluation in rural employment in the Near East and North Africa.” Given the focus of CoP members on rigorous forms of evaluation, gender mainstreaming and ensuring policy uptake of findings and recommendations, the two day event will provide an opportunity to better understand the evidence base and how it can be applied to improve programming. The ILO Cairo office’s project Decent Jobs for Egypt’s Young People (DJEP) funded by Global Affairs Canada, has made it its direct responsibility to take this topic further as a host and facilitating partner, and involve a broader array of implementation specialists and partners, working in the field.