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

Year of production: 2014

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The first guiding principle in the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Youth in Development Policy is to “recognize that youth participation is vital for effective programs” (USAID, 2012a, pg. 2). Furthermore, one of the Policy’s two objectives is to “mainstream and integrate youth issues and engage young people across Agency initiatives and operations” (USAID, 2012a, p.1). This report was commissioned 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 (see Appendix 1 for full list). 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.