Youth Engagement in Development: Effective Approaches and Action-Oriented Recommendations for the Field

Matthew French, Sharika Bhattacharya, Christina Olenik
Resource Type: 
Publication Date: 
Jan, 2014

USAID’s Office of Education is pleased to announce the release of the Youth Engagement in Development: Effective Approaches and Action-Oriented Recommendations for the Field report this month. The first guiding principle of USAID’s Youth in Development Policy is to “recognize that youth participation is vital for effective programs.” The Policy goes on to state: “Efforts to engage youth involve elevating their voices and ensuring meaningful opportunities to contribute to resolving issues and promoting positive change in their communities and nations. There is a need to improve the quality of partnerships with youth, to provide more concrete platforms for youth participation, to support existing local youth networks and initiatives, and to include youth in science, technology and innovation initiatives.” In an effort to advance this Policy principle within the Agency and across the field of youth development, USAID’s Office of Education commissioned this report to identify effective approaches and recommendations to meaningfully engage youth in programs, policies and operational practices. Based on a review of various organizations’ strategies to solicit youth participation, this report offers findings and action-oriented recommendations that are applicable to a wide range of actors in the field. The review took place between September 2012 and July 2013 and looked at documentation from more than 20 organizations of various types including youth-focused organizations, multilateral donors, bilateral donors, intergovernmental organizations, and foundations. Interviews were also conducted with 20 staff and 10 youth from 13 of these organizations in order to gather further detail on the benefits and challenges of youth engagement activities and strategies for successful implementation. Information was also gleaned on the kinds of resources needed to support youth participation and possible opportunities for USAID to collaborate or coordinate with others in this effort.

Workforce Development
Enterprise Development
Monitoring & Evaluation
Adolescent Girls
Community Development
Market Research & Assessments
Men & Boys
Orphans & Vulnerable Children
Rural Development
Training & Capacity