Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 42


Project Contacts:
June 2008
Director, EQUIP3 Written By:
Education Development Center, Inc. David James-Wilson
Clare Ignatowski
USAID/ EGAT/ Office of Education
Youth Livelihoods Development Program Guide | i






B.1 Most Youth Are Economically Active 6
B.2 Young Peoples Economic Activities Are Linked To Household Livelihood Strategies 7
B.3 Households Are Actively Engaged In Planning For Youth Livelihood Development 7
B.4 Youth Must Often Balance Education With Work 8
B.5 Livelihood Programming Should Reflect The Marketplace And Build From Existing 10
Assets And Activities
B.6 Livelihood Is The Core Driver Of Positive Youth Development Outcomes 11
B.7 The Youth Cohort Is Diverse 12
B.8 Youth Livelihood Programs Should Be Cross-Sectoral And Track Both Livelihood- 12
Specific And Cross-Cutting Outcomes And Impacts


C.1 Resources To Strengthen Youth Livelihood Capacities 17
C.2 Designing Strategies That Build Youth Livelihoods 18
Strategies To Help Youth Develop Human Capital 18
Strategies To Help Youth Develop Financial Capital 19
Strategies To Help Youth Develop Social Capital 22
Strategies To Help Youth Acquire Physical Capital 25
C.3 Achieving Sector-Specific Program Goals Through Youth Livelihood 26
Capacity-Building Activities





Youth Livelihoods Development Program Guide | i


This Guide has benefited enormously from The author of this Guide would also like to
the contributions of a number of reviewers thank the many staff at EQUIP3 who have con-
whose insights, poignant critiques, and practi- tributed to improving the content, presentation
cal examples have made this a much-improved and overall readability of this Guide. They in-
final product. Barry Stern and Paul Sully were clude: Ann Hershkowitz, Melanie Beauvy, Nancy
Education Development Center Directors of the Devine, Caroline Fawcett, Paul Sully, Ron Israel,
EQUIP3 project under which the Guide was pro- Cornelia Janke, Nancy Meaker and Erin Murray.
duced. Clare Ignatowski was the USAID Cogni-
zant Technical Office for this work and provided Finally, this author owes a debt of gratitude to
overall guidance and detailed reviews of drafts. Joan Hall and the team at Making Cents, Inc.
Other reviewers from USAID were Amanda for case examples drawn from the 2007 Youth
Eichelkraut, Ishrat Husain, Anicca Jansen, Cheryl Micro-enterprise Conference, and to Barry
Kim, Mary Hughes Knox, Suezan Lee, Allyn Stern for his steady hand as the ultimate editor
Moushey, John Williamson, and Jason Wolfe. of this document.

David James-Wilson

ii | Youth Livelihoods Development Program Guide


ARC American Refugee Committee

AREU Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit
BCYF Balkan Children and Youth Foundation
CEDEA Center for the Development of Alternative Education
CGAP The Consultative Group to Help the Poor
DCOF Displaced Children and Orphans Fund
EDC Education Development Center
EFA Education For All
ELA Employment and Livelihoods for Adolescents
EQUIP3 Education Quality Improvement Program 3
ILO International Labor Organization
IPM Integrated Pest Management
IRC International Rescue Committee
IRIN Integrated Regional Information Networks
IZA Institute for the Study of Labor
LCEP Literacy and Community Empowerment Program
M&E Monitoring and Evaluation
MFI Microfinance Institution
NGO Non-governmental Organization
OSI Open Societies Institute
S&O Strategic and Operational Plan
SC Save the Children
SI Search Institute
SKI Street Kids International
TKL The Kids League
UN-DESA United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs
UNESCO United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
USAID United States Agency for International Development
USG United States Government
YBA Youth Business Albania
YBI Youth Business International
YEN Youth Employment Network
YSO Youth-Serving Organization

Youth Livelihoods Development Program Guide | iii


Imagine a country where half of the youth is something from very littlein some cases,
neither in school nor employed in the formal something from almost nothing. And they take
economy, where private sector jobs leading to whatever paths are available to them, pro-social
careers are scarce, where youth unemployment or otherwise. Acknowledging this reality, agen-
rates in the formal economy exceed 50 percent, cies are learning that successful strategies must
where educational opportunities beyond the help youth where they are until they can break
fourth grade cannot be accessed by half the into the formal economy and that interventions
population, where there is a clear mismatch should assist and accelerate this process while
between the skills provided by schools and uni- improving the short-term well-being of youth
versities and the ones that employers want, and and their households.
where the growth of the countrys economy
has trouble keeping up with the rapid growth Donor agencies, non-governmental organiza-
of its youth population. Such would describe tions (NGOs), host country governments, and
the plight of todays youth in many developing civil society are also coming to realize that
countries, particularly those in countries emerg- youth can and should be key actors in the
ing from conflict. strengthening, rebuilding, and transformation
of their nations. When appropriately engaged
For several decades international agencies have and adequately prepared for roles in the worlds
been supporting education and training pro- of work, family life, and civil society, youth can
grams that prepare youth for the workforce and be definite assets for community development.
higher levels of education. Programs are based However, when governments and communities
on the assumption that the private sector is disregard the huge numbers of youth with mini-
growing and has jobs for qualified applicants. mal attachment to the formal sector, youth can
But suppose jobs are scarce and employers are also become a profoundly de-stabilizing force.
reluctant to invest where literacy rates are low? Specifically, the absence of livelihood develop-
What good are workforce development pro- ment opportunities for youth can impede a
grams when there are no jobs? And if workforce nations development in the form of increased
development can benefit only a small percent- crime, violence, poor health, disease, extrem-
age of youth because of dire economic realities, ism, and both social and political instability.
what can be done to improve the well-being of
the rest and give them hope? Thus, the presence of livelihood development
(to complement workforce development) is a
In response to this dilemma, USAID and other strategic necessity for national development,
donor agencies have become increasingly especially when delivered in careful coordina-
interested in supplementing workforce develop- tion with traditional investments in health,
ment strategies with what is called livelihood education, democracy and governance, and
development, especially for young people aged economic growth activities.
1524 from marginalized backgrounds. Donor
agencies increasingly recognize that millions of CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK
young people working in the informal sector Successful livelihood development programs
are finding ways to eke out a living and make reflect actual youth realities and respond to

iv | Youth Livelihoods Development Program Guide

the existing goals, plans and strategies of young sent a balance between meeting immediate
people themselves and their community sup- household needs and accumulating sustain-
porters (especially at the household and ex- able livelihood capital and capabilities over the
tended family levels). Perhaps the greatest mis- longer term. Most youth and their families do
conception is that poor youth without jobs are not choose between school and work; instead,
idle and economically inactive. Still, research they endeavor to blend and balance continuing
carried out by EQUIP3 with young people in education with short-term income generation
countries as diverse as Uganda, Morocco, the and ongoing livelihood development demands.
Philippines, Haiti and the West Bank suggest
that most contribute to household income While one can talk in purely demographic terms
through work in the informal sector, in house- about a single youth cohort (or in some coun-
hold-based enterprises, or in family-based farm- tries a youth bulge), any meaningful appraisal
ing, fishing and petty trading activities (USAID of needs, aspirations, assets, and obstacles
2005, USAID 2006, EQUIP3 2005). This mirrors must disaggregate youth data. Gender, for
the research of other youth development actors instance, still plays a major role in how young
that indicate that youth frequently use their people are socialized, and it can provide unique
work in the informal sector as a means of pay- barriers and/or novel entry points into youth
ing for continuing education and building infor- livelihood development. Data should be broken
mal peer networks linked to accessing start-up down by age, gender, ethnicity, rural vs. urban,
capital or introductions to employers (ILO 2004, household income, marital status, in- vs. out-of-
ILO 2005, Population Council 2004, World Bank school status, and developmental stage.
2007, USAID 2005, USAID 2006, UNESCO 2001).
Evidence also suggests that livelihood develop-
Another misconception is that poor people ment is the core driver of positive youth out-
are unable to coach their young people to comes in other areas, such as health (e.g., HIV/
make rational economic decisions. Research by AIDS prevention), education, public safety, and
EQUIP3 and others has shown that youth from democracy and governance (Population Coun-
marginalized backgrounds and their families are cil 2004, IRIN 2007, UN-DESA 2005, UNESCO
able to understand trade-offs and opportunity 2001). These linkages, however, must be de-
costs associated with participation in various signed with specific sector outcomes in mind,
interventions (EQUIP3 2005, EQUIP3 2007, along with carefully-planned and well-executed
USAID 2005, USAID 2006, SC 2006, UNESCO monitoring and evaluation (M&E) systems.
2001). Indeed, households are actively engaged
in helping youth plan their futures and make DESIGNING EFFECTIVE YOUTH
practical decisions about continuing education, LIVELIHOOD STRATEGIES
vocational training and the use of microfinance Livelihood development ought to incorporate
services and products. They deserve the con- the ideas and insights of a wide range of stake-
sideration of those who design and implement holders. The design package would contain ways
programs intended to improve their livelihoods. to acquire human, social, financial, and physical
capital, to integrate youth livelihood develop-
Other research suggests that many poor fami- ment with programs in other sectors, and to
lies do learn to save and build assets, and that build the capacity of local service providers.
effective livelihood interventions reflect mar-
ketplace opportunities, constraints, and barriers Building Human Capital
(Population Council 2004, Akkord 2006, ADB This is best achieved by a combination of skills
2004, ILO 2005). The best interventions are training (usually nonformal education), men-
learning while earning programs that repre- toring, and guidance, combined with helping

Youth Livelihoods Development Program Guide | v

credit-ready young entrepreneurs gain access to self confidence or courage as being far more
financial capital. Skills training programs should: important to livelihood success than access
to financial capital or skills training. For ex-
Provide youth with opportunities to ample, youth consistently rank mentoring and
master core literacy and numeracy skills, constructive advice as important to starting,
basic employability and life skills, and improving, and growing a small business or in-
vocational skills. They can be designed as formal service sector activity. The key, though,
a second chance pathway to a primary or is that there be a fit between the knowledge
secondary school degree, an opportunity base of the mentor and the needs of the young
to gain the skills needed to return to formal person. Despite their good intentions, busi-
education, or a vehicle to acquire the skills nessmen and women in the formal sector may
needed to get a job or start a business. have little practical advice to offer a young
Build upon the existing knowledge person operating in the informal sector.
and experience of participating youth
and relate these to the predominant Context is also important when building social
household livelihood strategies. capital through peer networks. Encouraging
Allow participants to make educational young people to join groups of only extremely
gains or earn achievement certifications in poor or unskilled individuals is not nearly as
manageable blocks, offering flexibility (e.g., effective as joining groups with members from
in pacing classes and allowing students to diverse backgrounds.
easily enter and leave programs) to youth
and their families who must often defer or One promising vehicle for social capital de-
interrupt educational pursuits to address velopment is service learning, whereby youth
day-to-day survival needs. combine community service work with a form
Have schedules and locations that are of human capital development (literacy, life,
compatible with the participants livelihood or work skills development). Service learning
and family demands and security concerns. engages and retains youth not by emphasizing
Enable even the most marginalized their deficits, but by inviting them to make a
(illiterate or semi-literate) groups positive contribution to their communities.
to participate.
Recover some costs, if feasible, via user Another promising catalyst for the develop-
fees, which encourage program staff and ment of social capital is the use of sports-based
their sponsors to continually maintain and interventions. The convening and mobilizing
improve program quality, while reminding power of sports is well known. Some pilot
participants and their households that they projects have linked sports with health and
should invest their scarce resources only in education outcomes; others have begun to
programs that are beneficial. make the connections between sports and live-
Further guidance on how to design nonformal lihood preparation. One powerful advantage
basic education programs for out-of-school of sports-for-development programming is its
youth is provided by a companion document, ability to attract private-sector funding.
the Guide to Developing Literacy Programs for
Out-of-School-Youth.1 Building Financial Capital
Perhaps 1520 percent of the existing client
Building Social Capital base for microfinance is already young people
Young people frequently rank access to men- aged 1824. Efforts to expand youth participa-
tors, peer support, new ideas, and a sense of tion have achieved mixed results and yielded
some important lessons.
Document soon to be published by the EQUIP3 Project.

vi | Youth Livelihoods Development Program Guide

One lesson is that failures are most often due Building Physical Capital
to inexperienced youth development orga- Outright grants to help youth sustain their
nizations that lack the technical capacity to livelihood activities are sometimes necessary.
manage microfinance products. Better results For example, USAID and other donor agen-
occur when youth development providers build cies frequently help youth in rural areas or in
alliances with community microfinance provid- fishing communities get back on their feet by
ers. In these alliances each group plays a more providing them with equipment or supplies
specialized role, and both respect the essential after an armed conflict or natural disaster. It is
technical skills of the other. Such efforts do not important to not overlook womens potential
have to be large to be effective. Adding a sav- to use infusions of physical capital, and not
ings and financial literacy component to a short- exclusively support the bigger, commercial
term youth employment scheme, like those activities of the men.
often found in post-conflict or post-natural di-
saster countries, can open new doors to project Sometimes helping youth acquire physical
completers and can serve to build in a measure capital is a good strategy to reward positive be-
of sustainability to project outcomes. havior. For example, vocational training schools
sometimes reward new graduates with a set
Another lesson is to substantially invest in of tools or special work clothing. Sometimes
market research and development. Best prac- it is a good strategy to reward positive group
tices in adult microfinance do not necessarily behavior, for example, providing farming or
work with youth. One outcome of research is sewing cooperatives with laptops and access to
that youth, perhaps more than adults, need the Internet after they achieve a certain level of
to be part of a solidarity group that enforces group savings. Such tools could help them get
discipline in using loans wisely and in repaying weather reports, technical assistance to help
them. Recent microfinance research also shows increase production efficiency, literacy lessons,
that savings products may be more appropri- etc.
ate for youth than loans in many contexts.
Savings is a precursor to a loan, and teaches Building Cross-Cutting Positive Youth
youth about financial management without Development Assets And Programs
becoming indebted. Savings can be used for The 40 positive assets for youth development
business purposes, or more broadly, for school elaborated by the Minneapolis-based Search In-
or consumption, which are also important stitute (SI) should be built into youth livelihood
to young people. Savings (from family mem- programs (SI 2006). A research base of now
bers or friends) are often utilized for start-up over 3 million youth has shown that regard-
businesses more so than grants or loans. less of race, gender, ethnic heritage, economic
status, or geographic location, these assets
Finally, research is showing that youth livelihood promote four positive behaviorsleadership,
programs should not expect youth to become good health, valuing diversity, and success in
fully independent breadwinners. In fact, rela- schooland protect youth from four high-risk
tively small changes in income can lead youth behaviorsalcohol abuse, violence, drug abuse
to build or strengthen ties to their extended and premature sexual activity. Examples of
families, thus limiting the need to create their the 40 assets include achievement motivation,
own households. One recent project found that reading for pleasure, adult support, establishing
street children would often return to extended boundaries and expectations, constructive use
family households if they could develop rela- of time, commitment to learning, and positive
tively stable incomes through street vending or identity. Acquiring these assets helps youth
other low-barrier-to-entry livelihood pursuits. thrive and serves as the foundation for their

Youth Livelihoods Development Program Guide | vii

eventual contribution to family and community CONCLUSION
life as prepared and engaged adults. Youth livelihood programs must engage and
support youth, most of whom are already
Research is also beginning to show that blend- economically active and focused on the im-
ing livelihood development with sector-specific mediate needs of their households, and who
programs in basic education, economic growth desire more sustainable and socially construc-
and workforce development, agriculture, public tive livelihood pathways. The challenge is to
health, humanitarian assistance, or social stabil- determine how to encourage these youth
ity in post-conflict settings is more cost-effective and help them acquire the relevant compe-
than investments in stand alone prevention or tencies and resources necessary to enhance
mitigation efforts. their livelihoods, and ultimately the liveli-
hoods of others within their communities.
Building Capacity Of Local Service Providers
Youth development practitioners and their or-
ganizations should have opportunities to learn
how to:

Use market research-type appraisal

and assessment tools.
Develop cross-sectoral programs that equip
youth with multiple types of capital.
Collaborate with traditionally adult-serving
micro-enterprise/microfinance providers
and build on current programs.
Ensure youth livelihood programs
complement and do not supplant
family livelihood strategies.
Develop youth development assets as part
of livelihood development programs.
Understand the legal framework that
governs livelihood activities (e.g.,
licenses, control of savings, use of public
spaces) and advocate for pro-social
changes and resources to serve youth
in the informal sector.
Develop a program budget and revenue
plan along the full continuum of livelihood
investmentsfrom governmental
assistance to commercially-viable products
and services (such as microfinance
products and services and skills training)
where households and youth co-invest
by paying user fees or interest.
Develop and use M&E tools that capture
sector-specific and cross-sectoral outcomes
at the individual and cohort levels.

viii | Youth Livelihoods Development Program Guide


Imagine a country where half of the youth based on the assumption that the private sector
older adolescents and young adultsis neither is growing and has jobs for qualified applicants.
in school nor employed in the formal economy, But suppose jobs are scarce and employers
where private sector jobs leading to careers are are reluctant to invest where literacy rates are
scarce, where youth unemployment rates in low? What good are workforce development
the formal economy exceed 50 percent, where programs when there are no jobs? And if
educational opportunities beyond the fourth workforce development can benefit only a small
grade cannot be accessed by half the popula- percentage of youth because of dire economic
tion, where there is a clear mismatch between realities, what can be done to improve the well-
the skills that schools and universities teach and being of the rest and give them hope?
the ones that employers want, where the well-
off attend universities and the poor are left with In response to this dilemma, USAID and other
out-of-date vocational programs with obsolete donor agencies have become increasingly
equipment and under-prepared instructors, and interested in supplementing workforce develop-
where the growth of the countrys economy ment strategies with what is called livelihood
has trouble keeping up with the rapid growth development, especially for young people
of its youth population. Such would describe aged 15-24 from marginalized backgrounds.
the plight of todays youth in many developing Donor agencies increasingly recognize that
countries, particularly those in countries emerg- millions of young people working in the in-
ing from conflict (IRIN 2007, World Bank 2007). formal sector are finding ways to eke out a
living and make something from very little or,
FOCUS: INFORMAL AND in some cases, something from almost noth-
Most youth in developing countries, especially World Bank 2007). They take whatever paths
those from more marginalized backgrounds, are available to them, pro-social or other-
find livelihood opportunities in the informal wise. Acknowledging this reality, agencies are
and household-based sectors (UNESCO learning that successful strategies must build
2001). Thus, this Guide focuses on improving on where the youth are until they can break
opportunities in these domains. Compared into the formal economy, and that interven-
to formal employment, the informal sector tions should assist and accelerate this process
is generally an underserved segment of the while improving the short-term well-being of
youth economic opportunity continuum. youth and their households (see Figure 1).
Readers are encouraged to see
ILO.org/YEN for technical guidelines that Donor agencies, non-governmental organi-
focus on employability and employment zations (NGOs), host country governments,
creation in the formal sector. and civil society are also coming to realize
that youth can and should be key actors in
Over several decades international agencies the strengthening, rebuilding and transfor-
have been supporting education and training mation of their nations. When appropriately
programs that prepare youth for the workforce engaged and adequately prepared for roles
and higher levels of education. Programs are in the worlds of work, family life, and civil

Youth Livelihoods Development Program Guide | 1

society, youth can be definite assets for com- Thus, the presence of livelihood development
munity development. However, when govern- (to complement workforce development) is a
ments and communities disregard the huge strategic necessity for national development,
numbers of youth with minimal attachment especially when delivered in careful coordina-
to the formal sector, youth can also become tion with traditional investments in youth-spe-
a profoundly de-stabilizing force. Specifically, cific health, education, democracy and gover-
the absence of livelihood development op- nance, and economic growth activities.
portunities for youth can impede a nations
development in the form of increased crime, This Guide responds to the interest on the
violence, poor health, disease, extremism, and part of USAID and development practitioners
both social and political instability (IRIN 2007, worldwide for a common language to describe
NRC 2005, UN-DESA 2005, World Bank 2007). youth livelihood programs, and a practical
set of suggestions and reference materials
Figure 1: Graduating from Livelihood to improve youth livelihood development
Development to Workforce Development practices and to expand programming in this




Livelihood Development Programs Workforce Development Programs
Meet Needs of Youth Meet Employer Needs

Undocumented youth and Youth counted in employment

little statistical information surveys and statistics
Little or no schooling Progress from:
most youth not ready 1. Fundamental learning skills to
for career training 2. Generic work skills to
Limited number of private 3. Labor exchange system
employers & formal sector jobs that matches employers
Youth generally involved in and workers to
household livelihood activities 4. Industry-specific skills
Flexible, nonformal basic Career guidance available
education offerings that do Industry skill standards and
not interfere with existing assessments drive curricula
livelihood activities Applied academics to solve
Peer support groups, workplace problems
access to adult livelihood Training provided by formal
coaches, service learning, schools, employers, unions,
or sports activities community organizations,
Access to microfinance and nonprofits

2 | Youth Livelihoods Development Program Guide

increasingly important area. The document has are involved in the design and planning of the
four sections: program. Another would be the importance of
establishing a supportive policy framework with
Section A: A Common Language for Youth respect to youth in the informal sector that is
Livelihood Programs: This section orients respectful, responsive, relevant, legally support-
users to common terms and concepts that ive, and sufficiently resourced to be sustainable.
describe youth livelihood programming.

Section B: Conceptual Framework for Youth

Livelihood Programs: This section provides
a frame of reference for effective youth
livelihood interventions by presenting nine
key areas of learning synthesized from current
programming and research.

Section C: Designing Effective Youth

Livelihood Strategies: This section of the
Guide identifies the resources (i.e., the
abilities, social networks, and financial and
physical assets) that help young people
develop successful livelihoods; the program
strategies that help youth acquire these
resources; and the types of youth livelihood
capacity-building activities that can help
achieve sector-specific program goals.

Section D: Additional Information and

Resources: This section offers readers a
wide range of supplementary print and web
resources they might turn to for further
information or programming examples.


This Guide is set within the overall context of
youth development programming. While it
enunciates a fairly detailed set of principles for
designing youth livelihood development pro-
grams, it does not pretend to replicate all the
how to steps of such programming, such as
identifying goals and objectives or establishing
a strong M&E system to assess their attain-
ment. Similarly, the Guide assumes there are
programming elements that are essential for
any successful youth development initiative,
including youth livelihood development. One
such element, for example, would be to ensure
that youth and other in-country stakeholders

Youth Livelihoods Development Program Guide | 3


This section includes several terms and concepts Readiness-oriented youth livelihood programs
that development professionals tend to use to can include formal and nonformal basic educa-
situate and describe the field of youth livelihood tion, vocational and technical skills training,
programming. These include the following: and programs that focus on employability and
the development of key cross-cutting work and
Readiness-oriented youth life skills.
livelihood programming;
Access-oriented youth ACCESS-ORIENTED YOUTH
livelihood programming; LIVELIHOOD PROGRAMMING
Interaction of readiness- and Livelihood development programming also
access-oriented programs; refers to interventions that improve young
Acquisition of human, physical, peoples access to market-driven products and
financial, and social capital; services that can enhance their economic suc-
Measuring outcomes and impacts; and cess or that of their households. These can in-
Cross-cutting contributions clude access to microfinance products (savings,
to strategic planning. credit, micro-insurance), business development
services, technical skills training, linkages with
READINESS-ORIENTED YOUTH mentors or business skills coaches, and sup-
LIVELIHOOD PROGRAMMING port in improving the value-added proposition
Livelihood development programming refers of their livelihood activities (through improve-
to interventions that enhance the readiness of ments to quality, cost, or market access).
young people to engage in sustainable liveli-
hood activities such as: (1) employment in the INTERACTION OF READINESS- AND
formal and informal sector; (2) contributions ACCESS-ORIENTED PROGRAMS
(paid and unpaid) to household-based liveli- Readiness- and access-oriented youth livelihood
hood activities (in agriculture, fishing, or small development interventions are interconnected.
scale manufacturing); and, (3) self-employment In order to benefit from access-oriented op-
micro-enterprise activities in areas such as portunities, many marginalized youth will need
petty trading, the production of food or trade youth livelihood readiness investments (from
goods, and the delivery of informal services. government, donor or household actors, in-
cluding youth themselves). Similarly, in order
to convert readiness-oriented investments
into viable livelihood activities, youth should
have access-oriented interventions available to
Readiness-oriented: Access-oriented: them. The success or failure of these interven-
Enhance readiness Improve access of tions often depends on providing both kinds of
of youth to engage youth to market- programs concurrently while building dynamic
in sustainable driven products partnerships or alliances among mainstream
livelihood activities and services adult microfinance institutions (MFIs), business
Develop human Develop financial development service providers, and youth- or
capital capital family-oriented community-based organizations.

4 | Youth Livelihoods Development Program Guide

ACQUISITION OF HUMAN, PHYSICAL, single sector. Thus, well-conceived cross-cutting
FINANCIAL, AND SOCIAL CAPITAL programs are more cost-effective than efforts to
Both readiness- and access-oriented programs mount a program for every problem identified
can contribute to the on-going acquisition in every sector.
and development of the broad types of capi-
tal youth can apply to any livelihood activity.
Section C.2 of this document provides descrip-
tions of the various types of livelihood capital
(human, social, financial, physical) and how to
augment them.


Indicators of the impact of youth livelihood
programming include improved competencies
or skills, enhanced income, increased employ-
ment/self-employment, and improvements in
the sustainability of new or existing economic
activities. Increasingly, youth livelihood pro-
gramming is also shown to be a key driver of
outcomes in other development sectors such as
improved health (including decreases in sexual-
ly-transmitted infections and substance abuse),
enhanced civil society engagement (including
reduced crime and violence or a decrease in
extremism), improved social and economic op-
portunities for young women (which is linked to
later marriages and increased personal agency),
or increased investments in continuing educa-
tion by young people and their families. Change
in young peoples contributions to household
income has also been linked to changes in the
ways families prioritize spending on health and
education for younger family members, includ-
ing dependent children (AREU 2006).

As USAID Missions look to develop their Strate-
gic and Operational (S&O) Plans, investments in
youth livelihood programs represent a power-
ful cross-cutting contribution to key strategic
priorities in education, health, economic op-
portunities, humanitarian relief, and democracy
and governance. USAID is favorably disposed to
such programmatic interventions because they
tend to be more cost-effective than programs
that address only a single issue at a time in a

Youth Livelihoods Development Program Guide | 5


Too many programs that endeavor to improve A FOCUS ON INTERVENTIONS

the economic situation of marginalized youth
Interventions are investments made by
fail because of insufficient attention to articu-
donors, governments and others in youth
lating and then examining the assumptions livelihood development. These investments
that under gird these programs. Effective youth take place within an existing marketplace
livelihood interventions must build upon a of economic opportunities, constraints and
clear conceptual and programmatic framework, barriers that youth and their households
which, in turn, must be driven by a number of are already attempting to navigate. Program
emerging understandings derived from re- developers should take this marketplace
search and best practices, namely that: into consideration at every stage of the
appraisal, design, and implementation of
Most youth are already economically active projects they support. They should also
Young peoples economic activities are fully engage youth and their households
linked to household livelihood strategies in program design and implementation.
Households are actively engaged in
planning for youth livelihood development B.1 MOST YOUTH ARE ECONOMICALLY ACTIVE
Youth must often balance One of the greatest misconceptions about young
education with work people is that since a high percentage is deemed
Livelihood programming should by traditional macro-economic surveys to be
reflect marketplace realities and build unemployed (i.e., lacking stable formal sector
from existing assets and activities employment), they are necessarily economically
Livelihood is the key driver of positive inactive. This view of young people leads to calls
youth development outcomes for quick-fix youth employment schemes, or
The youth cohort is diverse short-term grant and credit mechanism, both of
Youth livelihood programs should be cross- which are ostensibly designed to help youth to
sectoral and track both livelihood-specific start a new work activity (presumably their first).
and cross-cutting outcomes and impacts Alternatively, it leads to the general conclu-
sion that youth invariably need more technical
Concluding that the eight propositions above training or vocational skills preparation in order
constitute a fully formed consensus among at some point in the future to become economi-
funders and practitioners may well be prema- cally productive members of society.
ture, as much research and field-based learning
still needs to take place in this nascent field Research carried out by a wide range of devel-
(ILO 2004, ILO 2005, IRIN 2007, Making Cents opment practitioners raises questions regarding
2008, NRC 2005, Population Council 2004, the accuracy of this assumption (ADB 2004, ILO
World Bank 2007, USAID 2005, UNESCO 2001, 2004, ILO 2005, Myers 1998, Population Council
USAID 2006, YEN 2007). Nevertheless, each 2004, EQUIP3 2005, EQUIP3 2007, USAID 2005,
area signals an important dimension of youth USAID 2006). This research indicated that most
livelihood development programming that young people ages 14-25 years in develop-
ought to be considered by funders and practi- ing countries are already economically active,
tioners alike. contributing to household income through

6 | Youth Livelihoods Development Program Guide

work in the informal sector, in household-based should focus on stand-alone employment or
enterprises, or in family-based farming, fishing, self-employment schemes, or the technical-
and petty trading activities. This correlates with vocational preparation required for an indepen-
the findings of other major studies (IRIN 2007, dent career or formal employment pathway.
World Bank 2007, NRC 2005, UNESCO 2001) EQUIP3s field research with youth consistently
and reflects a growing awareness of the diver- reveals that the primary focus of 15-24 year-
sity and complexity of youth economic partici- olds is, in reality, to contribute to family or
pation and preparation at the household and household-level economic survival strategies, as
community level. opposed to economic independence (as might
be the case in industrialized western nations)
For more information on the Youth, (EQUIP3 2005, EQUIP3 2007, Population Council
Microfinance and Conflict case studies see 2004, SC 2006). Young people understand how
www.microlinks.org or go to the EQUIP3 family support to help them acquire additional
portion of the www.EQUIP123.net site. livelihood assets (through access to education,
technical training, or mentorship opportunities)
Youth use this work (paid or unpaid) to de- will enhance their ability to contribute to imme-
velop key livelihood capabilities and to begin to diate household needs. Young people also see
acquire core livelihood capital (human, social, the link between their ability to generate income
financial, and physical). In many world regions, and the familys ability to send younger siblings
work in the informal sector generates the to school (UNESCO 2001).
majority of all employment and self employ-
ment opportunities for youth and adults alike. YOUTH CONTRIBUTIONS TO HOUSEHOLD
Far from being marginal, such work represents SURVIVAL
the employment mainstream in many countries It is not unusual for youth to wish to
and the first step on a wide range of livelihood contribute to the welfare of their household-
development pathways (ILO 2004, ILO 2005, IZA or extended family as well as to their own
2007). Many youth also report that these kinds economic welfare. In fact, most youth
of early livelihood pursuits form the first steps live within households, and most of their
to wider livelihood options, including oppor- economic activity is linked to those of other
tunities in formal sector employment or small family members.
enterprise development. Thus, these pursuits
are not the dead-end survivalist activities long In the West Bank, for example, over 80
assumed by mainstream researchers. Youth percent of all employment is via household-
frequently use their work in the informal sector based activities (in agriculture, petty trading,
as a means of paying for continuing education and light manufacturing) (World Bank
and building informal peer networks linked to 2002). Moreover, extended families play an
accessing start-up capital or introductions to important role in enhancing the readiness of
employers (ILO 2005, SC 2006, UNESCO 2001, youth to take on new livelihood development
USAID 2005, USAID 2006). activities, and families commonly facilitate the
access of youth to financial and non financial
B.2 YOUNG PEOPLES ECONOMIC ACTIVITIES supports in the community.
Another common misunderstanding is that ENGAGED IN PLANNING FOR YOUTH
young people uniformly seek to gain economic LIVELIHOOD DEVELOPMENT
independence or self-sufficiency. This, again, Households and extended families help youth
leads to the assumption that all interventions prepare for earning their livelihood in sev-

Youth Livelihoods Development Program Guide | 7

eral ways. More often than not in developing irregular attendance in training programs due
countries, programs offered by schools and to competing family economic activities. For
community-based organizations complement example, a USAID-supported project working
these family strategies. Field research in Bolivia, with former child soldiers in Sierra Leone en-
the Philippines, Uganda, Indonesia, and the countered significant setbacks when it did not
West Bank has shown how families seek out initially consult with parents and other house-
technical training and/or vocational immersion hold members about the skills young people
experiences for their youth with members of should be learning (Making Cents 2008).
their immediate and extended families, or from
neighbors and other community members (SC B.4 YOUTH MUST OFTEN BALANCE
2006, USAID 2005, USAID 2006, World Bank EDUCATION WITH WORK
2007). Families tend to involve their youth in Three important policy issues are emerging as
multiple economic activities as a way of both funders and practitioners focus on the extent to
earning income, but also of developing a wide which education and training should be part of
base of livelihood experience to be drawn upon youth livelihood development programs.
in the future.
1. Does support for youth livelihood initiatives
(especially those serving 15-18-year-olds) in-
advertently promote school abandonment?
Many young people live within households 2. What extent of training should be for-
made up of extended family members mal training versus livelihood coach-
and find themselves in non-traditional ing and accompaniment?
living arrangements. In HIV/AIDS-affected 3. Is attempting to recover the cost
communities, for example, youth may take of training from the participants
on the role of primary caregiver for both themselves a viable strategy?
younger siblings and older relatives (especially
those who are ill). Young men and women Balancing education with work
may also take on head of household roles The fear is that once exposed to employment or
within communities impacted by high levels self-employment opportunities, young people
of migratory work, or they may set up their will be tempted to end their studies premature-
own households or other informal living ly. The debate raises questions about how to
arrangements if they themselves are involved provide flexible continuing education opportu-
in migratory or street-based work. Successful nities to older children and youth whose family
development of youth livelihood interventions circumstances require them to start working
requires understanding of these different before completing their education. A positive
household configurations and continual aspect of the debate is that development plan-
assessment of their impact on existing ners are beginning to recognize that simplistic
livelihood practices. efforts to convince or mobilize poor parents to
understand the importance of education belies
Households also help their youth make deci- the reality that they cannot always afford it and
sions about continuing education, vocational must make difficult, direct and opportunity cost-
training, and the use of microfinance services related decisions on a daily basis (Myers 1998).
and products. Leaving families out of assess-
ment and planning exercises generally has a Emerging research from multiple world regions
negative impact on livelihood-oriented pro- shows that instead of making poor youth and
grams. Problems can arise with, for example, their families choose definitively between con-
the diversion of loan capital by families or tinuing education and earning income, such

8 | Youth Livelihoods Development Program Guide

For more on the links between livelihood Figure 3: School AND Work Paradigm
and education see the publications: Realizing
the Potential of Tajik Youth from Street
Kids International (2006), and Child Labor:
Promoting the Best Interests of Working
Children (1998) from Save The Children UK. S Continuing Ongoing Economic
C Education: Activities: W
youth are often best served with flexible, modu-
H Formal/ Formal/ O
O Nonformal/ Informal,Paid/ R
lar programming that allows them to complete O Informal/ Unpaid, Individual/ K
secondary school (or some kind of equivalency L Work-Based Household
certificate), develop specific technical skills and
cultivate cross-cutting work readiness skills,
all while continuing to work at least part time
(SC 2006, UNESCO 2001). Such learning while Transition is seen as an interwoven process
earning programs are pro-poor and youth that takes place over a long period of time
friendly, and represent an excellent balance Metaphor is one of a balancing act or a
between meeting immediate household needs dynamic exchange between education
and the longer term accumulation of sustain- and economic activitieswith a hope for
able livelihood capital and capabilities by young virtuous cycles of opportunity and growth
men and young women. Figures 2 and 3 capture Flow of activity is seen to be a parallel
the shifting view of some education and liveli- process marked by the spiraling acquisi-
hood planners from a school-to-work paradigm tion, application and continuous develop-
to a school-and-work paradigm. ment of knowledge/skills/ capabilities in
and for work (including lifelong learning)
Figure 2: School TO Work Paradigm Focus is on matching demand for learning
outcomes with the development of
options that understand the importance
of relevance and accessibility in the
SCHOOLING [ WORK (1) location, (2) timing, and (3) content
of offerings

Transition is seen as an event or a Training versus livelihood coaching

point in time and accompaniment
Metaphor for intervention is one of One of the biggest shortcomings of traditional
building a bridge from school to work NGO-based youth livelihood development pro-
with an emphasis on making a seamless grams is their sole reliance on training. Typically,
transition, and escaping the vicious these youth entrepreneurship or youth self-
cycle of poverty employment projects are premised on the belief
Flow of activity is seen to be generally that young people are inherently inexperienced
from a focus on the preparation of and lack business skills such as planning, bud-
knowledge/skills to the application of geting, marketing, and decision making. Never-
these to the world of work theless, a recent multi-country study of youth
Focus is on dropout prevention and self-employment strategies found that whereas
successful transition youth development workers consistently ranked
Focus is on improving the supply and training as a critical factor in helping entre-
quality of learning inputs preneurs succeed, the young people themselves
consistently ranked it as one of the least im-

Youth Livelihoods Development Program Guide | 9

portant factors (after factors such as guidance in Guinea, the goal of the project was conflict
and wisdom, having good ideas, a bold mitigation, and the beneficiaries were relatively
heart/courage, access to capital, supportive volatile clientele, that is, ex-combatants and
friends) (USAID 2005, USAID 2006). Although youth at risk of criminal behavior. ARC found
the study did not examine the reasons for these that cost recovery was not appropriate in this
divergent responses, investigators hypothesized setting, and felt that adding a fee for service
that the youth development workers did not would be a disincentive to participate, thus de-
appreciate the fact that many young people feating project goals (Making Cents 2008).
have been economically active for years before
connecting with youth-serving organizations B.5 LIVELIHOOD PROGRAMMING SHOULD
(YSOs), either in their own small businesses or REFLECT THE MARKETPLACE AND BUILD
as part of household enterprises (USAID 2006). FROM EXISTING ASSETS AND ACTIVITIES
This is not to say that training is unimportant or For youth livelihood programs to be both scal-
that young people are aware of all of the skill- able and sustainable, they must build from
sets they will need to become successful. But existing youth and family-driven livelihood
it is important to acknowledge their economic strategies and be driven by the wants and needs
experience and to build from where they are of the customer (in this case, young people
and not necessarily at the beginning. and their families) in relation to the realities of
the marketplace. Thus, service providers must
Is cost recovery for training feasible? engage clients in the development of programs,
There is livelihood-related training in both the instead of relying only on assumptions and
formal and informal sectors. In the formal sec- pre-dispositions of YSOs, government actors,
tor, many groups have begun to experiment or mainstream microfinance providers. Client
with fee-for-service skills training. In some involvement in the planning process becomes
cases, these mimic the kind of services families particularly important when beneficiaries and
(and youth themselves) already provide to one their families are expected to increasingly co-
another in the informal sector. Even where some invest their time and resources. Thus, develop-
degree of subsidy is warranted in order to reach ers of youth livelihood interventions must: (1)
especially vulnerable groups, the market disci- understand what young peoples current liveli-
pline fostered by recovering some costs via user hood activities are; (2) appreciate their existing
fees is often a strong driver of the development repertoire of livelihood assets and capabilities;
of sustainable, demand-driven offerings that are and (3) co-design programmatic interventions
seen to be of genuine relevance and measurable that assist youth and their families in addressing
value to potential participants and thus some- chronic barriers or in seizing key opportunities.
thing they and their households will co-invest in.
Connecting youths survivalist pursuits with
While there is not yet extensive research on interventions that will increase their livelihood
cost recovery for youth livelihood training, it capitaleducational, financial, social, physical
is most likely to succeed in relatively benign and someday their standard of living is impor-
environments such as those where households tant. Such interventions would, for example:
are already investing in their childrens educa-
tion. Cost recovery is more of a challenge in Provide flexible nonformal basic
post-conflict settings. Both the American Refu- education offerings that build assets
gee Committee (ARC) and International Rescue of literacy, numeracy and livelihood
Committee (IRC) have begun youth livelihood skills while not interfering unduly
programs with cost recovery components in Af- with existing livelihood activities.
rica, but final results are not in. In ARCs project Enhance the readiness of youth to access

10 | Youth Livelihoods Development Program Guide

mainstream microfinance offerings and and nonformal/household sectors is now appar-
therein build up their financial assets (e.g., ent. This is particularly true of livelihood readi-
financial literacy programming works best ness investments connected to vocational
when combined with savings schemes
rather than access to credit products alone). ADAPTING TRAINING TO MARKETPLACES
Address key gaps in social assets through The field of microfinance must adapt
peer support groups (including savings training programs to marketplace realities.
clubs), access to positive adult livelihood Currently, microfinance institutions in
coaches, or connection with service learning several countries are adapting adult-
or sports activities. oriented financial literacy tools to a diverse
range of youth populations in a wide range
Research is also beginning to show that youth of market settings. For more information,
and their families are prepared to cover some see www.microfinanceopportunities.org.
or all of the cost of these services and that
youth livelihood interventions should consist of training, which are often mismatched with mar-
a full range of offerings (SC 2006). These com- ket demand. Access-oriented investments also
prise a continuum that begins with traditional, need to take careful note of marketplace reali-
government-funded supports (i.e., basic educa- ties, and much work has been done in recent
tion, skills development); continues through years to adapt adult-focused market research
co-investments (by governments, NGOs, youth, tools and protocols to youth-oriented microfi-
and their households) in technical training, nance programming. Private employers can be
vocational readiness, financial literacy, or non- an important source of information on skill re-
commercial savings and credit products; and quirements, and they should be involved in the
arrives at commercially-viable and financially- planning of skills training interventions. Howev-
sustainable microfinance services and products er, realities of local economic development will
that leverage or add value to new or existing determine if the best private sector sources will
livelihood activities and are paid for by interest come from large enterprises or from the small-
rates or fees (Hatch 2002, CGAP 2006). and medium-enterprise sector.

Ultimately, the assessment, design and imple- B.6 LIVELIHOOD IS THE CORE
mentation of youth livelihood development DRIVER OF POSITIVE YOUTH
must be driven more by youth and their house- DEVELOPMENT OUTCOMES
holds than by funders or service providers. It has become increasingly clear that older
Engaging youth and their households in each teenagers and young adults need livelihood
stage of programming is a development neces- development (i.e., connections to work and the
sity, not a mere courtesy. Youth from marginal- economy) in order to thrive (NRC 2005,
ized backgrounds and their families are quite UN-DESA 2003, UN-DESA 2005). For example,
able to understand trade-offs and both direct HIV/AIDS prevention programs with marginal-
and opportunity costs associated with participa- ized populations of adolescent girls are provid-
tion in the interventions being considered. They ing evidence that livelihood development is the
deserve the respect and appreciation of those principal driver of program success. Efforts that
who design and implement programs that will focus exclusively on information dissemination,
improve their livelihoods. skills development, or the provision of youth-
friendly reproductive health services are not
At the same time, the importance of linking as successful as those that include strategies
youth livelihood development investments with to assist livelihood development (Population
marketplace opportunities in both the formal Council 2004). For it is young womens lack of

Youth Livelihoods Development Program Guide | 11

economic security and livelihood opportunities development of young people in those societ-
in many cultures that underpins risky behavior, ies. The publication emphasizes the importance
despite their exposure to mainstream preven- of seeing youth as a heterogeneous cohort and
tion programming. The lack of holistic livelihood not a monolithic onewhether at a global,
development opportunities, therefore, contrib- regional, national or even local level. While
utes in no small way to girls 14-24 continuing to one can talk in purely demographic terms about
have the highest prevalence of new incidences a single youth cohort (or in some countries
of HIV/AIDS among any cohort (UNAIDS 2006). a youth bulge), any meaningful appraisal
of needs, aspirations, assets, and obstacles
In the case of conflict prevention, or post-con- must disaggregate youth data in a number of
flict re-integration of youth, the key driver of ways (by age, gender, ethnicity, rural vs. urban,
sustainable peace and community engagement household income, marital status, in- vs. out-of-
is increasingly understood to be youth livelihood school status, and developmental stage). Gen-
development. When young people acquire tools der, for instance, still plays a major role in how
and opportunities to enhance their livelihood young people are socialized, and it can provide
and that of their families, they become more ac- unique barriers and/or novel entry points into
tive and effective participants in helping society youth livelihood development.
relieve community trauma and assist with de-
mobilization, conflict mediation, and community B.8 YOUTH LIVELIHOOD PROGRAMS SHOULD
Growing Up Global (NRC 2005), perhaps the For all of the reasons enumerated in this con-
most important recent international study on ceptual framework, USAID and other agencies
changing transitions to adulthood in developing concerned with youth development should
countries, recognizes that globalization is hav- consider that investments in youth livelihood
ing a profound impact on local cultures and the could well be the most effective or efficient way
to achieve desired sectoral outcomes in democ-
PAYING ATTENTION TO GENDER AND racy and governance, health, education, or eco-
HOUSEHOLD ROLES nomic growth. By helping youth with what they
There are profound differences in programs value mostsucceeding in the adult role of sus-
that serve 18-year-old unmarried girls with taining themselves and their householdsthey
no children who work in a factory and would become more enthusiastic, persistent
programs that serve married 18-year-old participants in other sectoral efforts. Of course,
girls who stay at home and care for children it would be naive to infer that such investments
(Population Council 2004). By the same token, would automatically drive broader positive
at increasingly younger ages many youth youth development outcomes or contribute to
in AIDS-affected countries, such as Zambia, country-level development goals. The pre-con-
or in migration-impacted countries, such as ditions for success in youth livelihood programs
the Philippines, are forced to take care of are the same as those for any other USAID
younger siblings or older relatives with health programthey must be effectively designed,
problems (IRIN 2007). In both cases the led, administered, monitored, and evaluated.
livelihood development needs of these young
women and men are driven less by age or Research by groups such as the Search Institute
traditional practices and more by accelerated suggests that youth livelihood programming
life-cycle stages, social forces, and changing can improve outcomes in other sectoral areas.
household dynamics (UNESCO 2001). Specifically, their research has shown that the ac-

12 | Youth Livelihoods Development Program Guide

quisition of livelihood-specific competencies or financial and non-financial outcomes for their
assets is strongly correlated with the promotion largely adult clients which can be adapted for
of positive behaviors and attitudes in the areas use with younger populations. Cross-cutting
of leadership, health promotion, valuing of di- outcomes in health, or democracy and gover-
versity, and success in school. Acquisition of such nance, can similarly be tracked by developing
competencies also correlates closely with a dimi- M&E protocols that correlate impacts in liveli-
nution of high risk behaviors, such as substance hood development with outcomes in health or
abuse, violence, or premature sexual activity. civic participation (see Figure 3). Groups such
as the Population Council have been examin-
THE SEARCH INSTITUTE ing the linkages between risk and protective
Extensive research available at factors in reproductive health and the pres-
www.search-institute.org demonstrates the ence/absence of livelihood assets (Population
strong correlation between the acquisition of Council 2004). Their pioneering work, along
developmental assets and both the promotion with that of the Search Institute, can serve as
of thriving behaviors and protection from high models for broader efforts that link livelihood
risk behaviors (SI 2006). development with a range of thriving and resil-
ience indicators.
With a research base now over 2 million youth,
these ongoing studies are having a powerful The Cross-Sectoral Youth Working Group
influence on youth development programming within USAID Washington is developing
in all areas, including: education, health, sports, common indicators for youth development
juvenile justice, AIDS prevention, after-school that blend existing sector-specific
programs, service learning, and community indicators with newer cross-cutting ones.
centers. Regardless of race, gender, ethnic Many of these new measures developed
heritage, economic status or geographic loca- by groups like the Search Institute (SI
tion, the Search Institutes research has shown 2006) are increasingly used by both U.S.
that the acquisition of assets such as adult sup- domestic and international agencies that
port, establishing boundaries and expectations, are active in the field of youth work.
commitment to learning, and positive identity
are essential for youth to thrive. Furthermore, Indicators for an M&E framework might well be
they serve as the foundation for young peoples organized into the same four personal capital
eventual contribution to family and community categories that are described in detail in Sec-
life as prepared and engaged adults (SI 2006). tion C of this Guide. These four categories are
Indeed, in many cases investing in livelihood human, financial, social, and physical capital.
development may produce broader and deeper Illustrative M&E indicators that fit within these
results in public health or social stability than categories appear below in Figure 4. Of course,
spending increased resources on stand-alone the establishment of M&E indicators normally
prevention or mitigation efforts (Population follows program design. The ones in Figure 4
Council 2004, UNESCO 2001). assume that more positive activity is better,
whether in education, household livelihood
Such research notwithstanding, it is still impor- development, social activity, or accumulation
tant to gather data to determine how well a of assets. The indicators track how much of this
particular program is performing. Fortunately, positive activity is occurring and assume the sum
M&E systems for youth livelihood programs of such positive individual behaviors eventually
can draw on best practices from a number of will translate into improved sector outcomes in
sectors. The microfinance sector, for example, economic development, education, democracy
has developed well-regarded tools for tracking and governance, health, and conflict mitigation.

Youth Livelihoods Development Program Guide | 13

Figure 4: Illustrative Monitoring and
Evaluation Indicators for Livelihood
Development Programs
Number of youth participants (15-24 years old) in different Periodically counting the
activities after becoming participants in program number of participants helps
determine the programs
growth and youth penetration
rate in different domains.
Human Capital:
# and % enrolled in formal education
Academic subjects
Vocational subjects
# and % enrolled in nonformal education activity Data analysis should also
Literacy and numeracy determine the number of
Financial literacy and/or business skill training youth who are involved
Vocational skill training simultaneously in several
Entrepreneurial training livelihood development activities.
# and % moving from out-of-school or nonformal education
status to formal education
# and % receiving an educational credential, (e.g.
completing grade in school or vocational program, Ideally, participants literacy
primary school diploma, occupational skill credential) levels would be assessed before
Learning units achieved per 100 hours of instruction if tested participating and upon exiting a
for literacy/numeracy before and upon exiting a program particular education program.

Financial Capital:
Savings mobilization
# of individual savings accounts
# in group savings programs
Student financial aid
# receiving student loans
# receiving scholarships or stipends to
cover education expenses
Self-employment loans
# of self-employment loans for young adults
# who progressed from small test loans to larger loans
Average size and monetary range of loans

Movement to formal economy

# and % moving from unemployment or informal
employment to employment in formal sector
# obtaining internships or unpaid work experience Movement from informal to formal
with entrepreneurs or employers. sector is important to measure.

14 | Youth Livelihoods Development Program Guide

Social Capital:
Livelihood coaching
# and % with livelihood planning coaches or mentors
# of coaches or mentors helping youth in project
Community service and humanitarian assistance
# and % joining groups with community
improvement or humanitarian assistance goals
# and % contributing voluntary services
to disease prevention, health promotion,
environmental and other civic projects
Civic engagement
# and % voting in elections
# and % active in political campaigns or social causes
# and % joining sports teams or recreational leagues
Positive behaviors For complete list of 40
# of hours per participant reading for pleasure positive behaviors see
# of hours per participant spent learning new skills www.search-institute.org.

Physical Capital/Assets:
# of electronic communication devices acquired by
household members during course of program, such as
cell phone, TV, radio, computer, etc.
# households with member(s) participating in program that
acquire work tools or clothing during course of program
# of household appliances acquired during program, such as
refrigerators, stoves, vacuum cleaners, washing machines, etc.
# of furniture pieces added to household during program,
such as beds, bureaus, sofas, tables, chairs, etc.
# of rooms added to residences/households of participants A menu of indicators by program
# and % of households of participants that sector is available through
gain legal property status EQUIP3s Guide to Conducting
# of participants who establish independent households Cross-Sectoral Youth Assessments

Youth Livelihoods Development Program Guide | 15

Figure 5: Connecting Youth Livelihood Development to Community Change

Youth Livelihoods Development Program Guide

ORGANIZATIONS AGENCIES, AND PUBLIC-PRIVATE There is a well- Improving young peoples translates into
TO IMPROVE PARTNERSHIPS coordinated and livelihoods by increasing improved scores on
YOUTH Improve Increase basic well-funded system their human, financial, social, sector indicators
LIVELIHOODS human capital literacy and work of high-quality youth and physical capital will in economic
Create and/or formal and application skills development services impact the community in the growth, education,
maintain coalition nonformal Encourage further in place, so that following ways: democracy and
with the following education education and work everyone in need of A literate, skilled work- governance, health,
resources and goals such services will have force creates a stronger conflict mitigation,
ingredients: Improve instruction, ready access to them. economy by attracting and humanitarian
Vision, Mission, program design, more private employers assistance.
Goals, Objec- management, evalu- 4 with jobs paying higher
tives, Action Plan ation INDIVIDUAL CHANGE 5 wages, which in turn cre-
Funding Improve Savings mobilization Young people in the ates higher productivity
Personnel financial Student financial aid community can reach and a community with less
Time capital Self-employment their potential in their poverty and crime.
Space financial loans roles as workers, family Stronger families and
Materials institutions Job placement members and citizens households support
Technology work with youth move from through increased education and improve the
Partners youth-serving informal to formal skills, assets and economy with better finan-
Evaluation organizations economy healthy behaviors to cial practices that reduce
enable them to: debt and increase savings, The logic model
Improve Savings mobilization represented by
Gain access to and ensure the well-being
social capital Student financial aid
connect Self-employment information and of all family members. Figure 5 shows
resources Greater civic participa- how livelihood
young people loans
Have a voice to tion moves communi-
to each Job placement ties toward justice and
express ideas and
other, their youth move from
opinions with confi- equality for all, generates activities impact
communities informal to formal individuals, and
dence volunteerism and chari-
and adult role economy
models Take action to solve table work, energizes an eventually their
problems and make informed electorate, and communities, if
Increase Through all of decisions without creates a cleaner, safer
physical assets above, accumulate environment.
these activities
having to rely on
wealth property that can others A healthier population are brought to
accumulation provide collateral Learn to learn in raises the quality of life, scale and reach
for investment in order to keep up reduces morbidity, and a critical mass
future livelihood improves the management
with the world as it of youth in the
activity changes of major chronic disease.

16 |
Adapted from Literacy USA by Barry Stern

Youth livelihoods are the work and service relat- property or assets they can readily convert
ed activities that young people pursue as they into cash money; their access to credit and/
transition to adulthood, from being mainly a or savings; and, their overall level of financial
dependent of a family and community to being literacy. Many youth begin to manage finan-
a householder and/or a full-fledged community cial capital from an early ageconverting
member. Youth livelihoods can take many dif- income from wage labor or simple services
ferent forms, from contributing to a family-run such as brick-making or water selling, into
rural farm to small-scale urban street-based capital that can be used to accumulate sav-
enterprises to assisting others in child care. ings, cover education expenses, or be used
to invest in a new livelihood activity.
This section identifies the resourcesthe abili-
ties, social networks, and financial and physi- Cluster 3: Social Capital
cal assetsthat help young people develop This area includes an individuals social ties,
successful livelihoods, the program strategies support networks, trusting relationships, and
that help youth acquire these resources, and ability to draw on the knowledge, skills, and re-
the types of youth livelihood capacity-building sources of others in their households, extended
activities that can help achieve sector-specific families and communities. Social capital is the
program goals. broad foundation of support for most livelihood
activities, where personal ties and the ability
C.1 RESOURCES TO STRENGTHEN YOUTH to navigate both formal and informal economic
LIVELIHOOD CAPACITIES environments depend as much on whom you
Youth livelihood resources tend to fall into one know as what you know. Social capital is also
or more of the following four clusters: closely linked to how you know what you
know, based on your interactions and social
Cluster 1: Human Capital networks, along with the formal and informal
This area includes ones cognitive, emotional, knowledge sharing and capacity building spaces
intellectual, and spiritual abilities. It encom- you have access to.
passes the formal, informal, and cross-cutting
learning-to-learn life skills that youth acquire Cluster 4: Physical Assets
from the family, peers, and community, as well These include fixed capital goods that are
as from formal and nonformal education and necessary for a business or the participation
practical work experiences. It specifically in- in a particular form of productive employ-
cludes their level of literacy and numeracy, the ment. These assets can range from proper
practical things they know how to do or make, working clothes, tools, and equipment to
the technical knowledge and skills they have the physical space for work. These assets
developed, along with some specific vocational also include ownership of, or regular ac-
skills and broader life and employability skills cess to, productive farmland, along with
that they have acquired. access to on- and off-shore fisheries.

Cluster 2: Financial Capital

This area includes an individuals savings; the

Youth Livelihoods Development Program Guide | 17

C.2 DESIGNING STRATEGIES THAT BUILD development when these programs meet five
YOUTH LIVELIHOODS criteria (World Bank 2002).
The following are programmatic strategies that
can help youth acquire the resources to pursue Five criteria for effective nonformal
livelihood activities, including human, social, education offerings
financial, and physical capital. 1. Are the offerings relevant to the day-to-
day lives of participating youth? Do they
Strategies to Help Youth Develop build upon their existing knowledge and
Human Capital experience? Do they acknowledge value and
Nonformal basic education programs provide incorporate existing livelihood activities, and
youth with access to relevant education and anticipate ways these might be improved or
training on a pace and schedule that fits the transformed? For example, youth in a farm-
time they have available to participate. These ing community with knowledge of small-scale
programs provide youth with opportunities to agricultural production could be exposed to
master core literacy and numeracy skills, basic science instruction that introduces practical
employability and life skills, and vocational skills. skills in the area of experimentation, observa-
They can be designed as a second chance path- tion and analysis such as that found in the In-
way to a primary or secondary school degree, an tegrated Pest Management (IPM) curriculum.
opportunity to gain the skills needed to return
to formal education, or a vehicle to acquire the 2. Are the offerings relevant to the local
skills needed to get a job or start a business. economy? Do they reflect an understanding
of the predominant household and individual
Current examples of nonformal basic educa- sustainable livelihood strategies in the com-
tion programs include USAIDs IDEJEN Project munity/region where prospective students
in Haiti, the nonformal learning component of live, and do they intentionally relate to the
the Philippines EQUALLS Project, the Literacy skills, attitudes and behaviors required to
and Community Empowerment Program (LCEP) succeed in these kinds of activities? For
in Afghanistan, and the new World Bank-spon- example, are youth in a fishing community
sored second chance programs in the Do- learning how to improve seaweed produc-
minican Republic. Further guidance on how to tion by using fertilizers? Are they learning
design nonformal basic education programs for math linked to weights and measures rel-
out-of-school youth is provided in a companion evant to the buying and selling of products?
document that will be published by the EQUIP3
Project entitled Guide to Developing Literacy 3. Are the offerings progressive in design?
Programs for Out-of-School-Youth. Do they allow a participant to measure
educational gains or earn achievement out-
Of course, some educational programs are bet- comes/certification in manageable blocks
ter than others, and all are influenced mightily versus one-time terminal outcomes? Do
by a host of variables such as teacher quality, they offer flexibility (e.g., pacing classes
resources, accountability practices, discipline, and allowing students to easily enter and
parental involvement, and curriculum design. leave programs) to youth and their families
Nevertheless, even where optimal conditions who must often defer or interrupt edu-
do not prevail, many students still benefit. cational pursuits to address day-to-day
However, there is growing evidence that very survival needs? For example, nonformal
poor youth and their households are more education offerings can make use of stu-
likely to spend their limited time or resources to dent portfolios to track acquisition of key
participate in educational and livelihood skills competencies and thus reduce the need

18 | Youth Livelihoods Development Program Guide

for students to start over continually when starting with credit may not be the best entry
they re-enter an educational program. point after all (CGAP 2006, Hatch 2004).

4. Are the offerings user friendly in their In recent years a range of alliances between
design? Do hours of operation, day-to-day at- YSOs and microfinance providers has begun to
tendance expectations, and location of ser- foster a pioneering round of youth-oriented
vices complement or conflict with the childs microfinance initiatives. For example, the Gates
or households livelihood demands? For ex- Foundation recently funded the well-regarded
ample, are students who work in early morn- microfinance pioneer Pro Mujer and its local
ing fishing work able to access later in the day youth serving partners in three Latin Ameri-
nonformal education classes? Or are youth can countries to develop new youth livelihood
living in more remote communities able to do programs with microfinance elements (www.
more home-based independent work in order promujer.org). The Population Council has ex-
to save on transportation costs/travel time? perimented with a range of microfinance-linked
livelihood interventions for young women in
5. Are the offerings low-barrier-to-entry? Kenya via their widely publicized TRY project
Does the program design ensure that the with the MFI K-REP (Population Council 2005).
most marginalized groups are not excluded NIKE has become an active funder of livelihood
from participation because of being illiterate programs for young women and is interested in
or semi-literate? For example, are there non- the role that financial literacy and access to mi-
formal education offerings that start with ba- crofinance can play in holistic, positive develop-
sic literacy classes or integrate literacy compo- ment programming for girls in countries such as
nents into hands-on livelihood skills training? India and Malawi (Population Council 2004).

Strategies to Help Youth Develop Such innovations are giving rise to the concept
Financial Capital of entry finance (Akkord 2006), which takes the
Perhaps the most promising tool to facilitate best of adult-oriented microfinance and makes it
youths acquisition and development of financial more accessible to youth clients. This approach
capital is microfinance. While microfinance ex- provides a continuum of programming that
ists for adults, by and large microfinance pro- begins with fully subsidized social investments
grams are not available to young people, espe- such as basic education and technical skills
cially unmarried ones, perhaps because youth training; then co-investments in such activities
are perceived as a risky group to serve. For by institutions, youth and their households; and
example, microfinance institutions (MFIs) rarely finally on to commercially-viable and financially-
offer credit to a person under the age of 18 with- sustainable services and products that are paid
out an adult guarantor, since a loan contract of- for entirely by interest rates and fees.
ten requires an adult signatory. Youth older than
18 must generally meet the requirements for Thus, entry finance increases the readiness of
other adults seeking loans (e.g., have an existing older children and youth to make use of microfi-
business). MFIs are usually reluctant to lend to nance services (including both savings and credit
new businesses, irrespective of the age of the products) and makes microfinance providers
owner. The orthodox response to financing a more accessible to a younger clientele. Entry
new business would be to increase the interest finance is not meant to be a segregated set of
rate and/or request more collateral to mitigate services, rather it is designed to overlap and in-
the risk of failure of the new business. Some tegrate within existing microfinance product and
groups have explored this option with higher risk service delivery structures and to graduate as
youth, while others have begun to reason that many young people as possible, as early as pos-

Youth Livelihoods Development Program Guide | 19

sible, into mainstream adult serving programs. Open Societies Institute-funded project for the
children of migrant workers in Tajikistan illus-
The goal of entry finance is to fully realize the trates this four-step process. In the engagement
potential of microfinance by helping to build and investment phases SKI used its Street Busi-
a more intentional bridge or ladder between ness Toolkit (SKI 2001) to provide at-risk youth
youth ages 1524 and traditional microfinance previously involved in a health education pro-
providers and, in so doing, open up new down- gram with small business training. In the mobili-
market opportunities for microfinance provid- zation phase, SKI provided successful graduates
ers and new livelihood development pathways with small start up grants if their business plan
for youth and their households. Savings is key. was approved by a panel of parents, community
Savings products teach savings discipline to leaders and youth workers. Grant recipients
youth and provide MFIs with liquid collateral for had regular access to a livelihood coach and
a future loan in case a youth business fails. En- met regularly within small support groups.
try finance consists of a four-step process that These successful young entrepreneurs were
a young person (or cohort of peers) progresses then introduced to microfinance providers in
through according to his (or their) own unique their community for either direct loans, or loans
circumstances. This process can be supported guaranteed by their parents or older relatives.
by services from interested MFIs or YSOs.
A youth livelihood project in Bolivia run by the
Four-step entry finance process Center for Alternative Education (CEDEA) in
1. Engagement outreach services, relation- partnership with a number of local YSOs in El
ship building and appreciative inquiry into exist- Alto and La Paz, provides further insight into
ing MFIs and services; both the mobilization and graduation steps
of work. CEDEAs Pasanaku toolset helps young
2. Investment capacity building, financial entrepreneurs set up group savings and loan as-
literacy work, enterprise practicum, apprentice- sociations that fund each others business start-
ships with entrepreneurs, livelihood guidance ups or expansions. CEDEA also invites microfi-
services, intensive coaching by peers and sup- nance groups to meet with Pasanaku members
portive adults, and market research with youth and to use their session to recruit potential new
and their families to develop new microfinance clients (CEDEA 2004).
services and products;
Embedding microfinance components within
3. Mobilization linkages to commercially-vi- other youth livelihood programs
able or non-commercial entry finance products Many multi-sectoral youth livelihood programs
(e.g., savings, group credit) and services (e.g., have begun to explore the incorporation of
business development, value chain analysis), microfinance components to complement tech-
the formation of peer support groups, and on- nical skills training and basic education. These
going work with a livelihood coach; have had mixed results. Failures most often are
due to inexperienced youth development orga-
4. Graduation linkages to traditional adult mi- nizations that lack technical capacity to manage
crofinance institutions and their commercially- microfinance products.
viable products and services, follow-up liveli-
hood coaching, and an opportunity to serve One apparently successful example of a youth
as a livelihood mentor or coach for younger service organization using microfinance comes
members in the community. from Albania.1 Launched in May 2005, Youth

Street Kids Internationals (SKI) work on an 1

Apparently successful because no independent
evaluation was available.

20 | Youth Livelihoods Development Program Guide

Business Albania (YBA) provides young entrepre- Stick to organizations specialized roles and
neurs with technical training and financial sup- capabilities. Initial efforts by youth serving or-
port. By May 2006, more than 50 young people ganizations to offer their own savings and credit
became employed as a result of 17 loans made programs have proven to be generally unsuc-
to 20 young entrepreneurs (ages 21 to 29) to cessful. YSOs tend to lack capacity in sustain-
begin small enterprises. The loan amounts were able microfinance delivery, and they frequently
less than $4,000. YBA is a partnership between confuse the role of youth worker as both a live-
the Balkan Children and Youth Foundation lihood coach who counsels youth through their
(BCYF), Youth Business International (YBI), and ups and downs and a loan officer who focuses
the MJAFT! Foundation (Making Cents 2008). first and foremost on repayment rates.

Two other successful youth service organiza- Better results should occur when youth devel-
tion projects with microfinance components opment providers build alliances with com-
were in Peru and Ecuador. Both were supported munity microfinance providers, but concrete
by Street Kids International. In Peru, the NGO examples of these alliances are scarce. In
called MANTHOC provides credit to working theory, YSOs should focus on readiness activi-
children and youth in the cities of Lima and ties and MFIs should focus on (financial) access
Cajamarca. The small loans have been used interventions. Thus, both organizations co-de-
by youth to start businesses or supplement velop bridging activities that intentionally break
their savings in order to later start business. down barriers between the two and promote
These individual loans have a 5070 percent clear alignment of their respective missions and
return rate (very low by microfinance stan- purposes. In these alliances each group would
dards but conceivably adequate for youth stick to its specialized role, and each would re-
micro-entrepreneurs in training). In Ecuador, spect the essential technical skills of the other.
the Program for Working Children provided Such efforts do not have to be large to be ef-
business start up training for unemployed fective. Adding a savings and financial literacy
youth in the city of Quito. Youth who com- component to a short-term youth employment
pleted the training and developed a business scheme in a post-conflict or post-natural di-
plan were able to obtain a loan up to $1,000. saster country can open new doors to project
Among the businesses established by these completers and can serve to build in a measure
youth were a catering business and a docu- of sustainability to project outcomes.
ment processing service (Making Cents 2008).
For example, the early stages of Kenyas TRY
Lessons learned from partnerships project unintentionally pushed the loan officers
between youth service organizations into mentoring roles. The social needs of the
and microfinance providers girls they were working with were overwhelm-
Experience with burgeoning microfinance pro- ing, but these conflicted with their responsi-
grams in recent years has yielded four impor- bilities to recover their loans. After the initial
tant lessons (Making Cents 2008): stages, the pilot project added mentoring staff
to relieve the loan officers of this role without
MFIs and YSOs should stick to their sacrificing the well being of the girls, which was
respective roles and capabilities. a much more effective strategy (Population
Market research is essential for youth Council 2005).
Use solidarity model for adolescent Market research is essential for youth micro-
participants. finance. As with adults, youth microfinance
Emphasize savings. requires substantial investments in market

Youth Livelihoods Development Program Guide | 21

research and development. Best practices in without becoming indebted. Savings can be
adult microfinance do not necessarily work with used for business purposes or, more broadly,
youth. For example, when the Population Coun- for school or consumption, which are also im-
cil teamed up with the development arm of the portant to young people. Savings (from family
well-known Kenyan MFI, K-REP Bank, it became members or friends) are often utilized for start-
apparent that the group micro-credit methodol- up businesses more so than grants or loans
ogy that K-REP used with adults was not appro- (USAID 2005, USAID 2006). Nevertheless, MFIs
priate for the girls and even had negative conse- have not dedicated sufficient energy to rolling
quences, as it increased the girls vulnerability out savings products specifically designed for
and damaged their fragile social networks. After young people, and many MFIs do not mobi-
a succession of setbacks, the Population Council lize savings even from adults. For those that
and K-REP revised the methodology to focus on do, more market research is needed to design
savings, which is what the girls had indicated youth-friendly savings products.3
was important to them since the beginning of
the project (Population Council 2005). One les- Strategies to Help Youth Develop Social Capital
son learned was that project staff need to learn Many youth lack social capital, particularly
from their beneficiaries, rather than imposing those from more marginalized backgrounds or
their own assumptions.2 those who have had their ties with mainstream
society ruptured by conflict, internal displace-
Use solidarity model for adolescent partici- ment, family breakdown, disease, or forced mi-
pants. A successful example of youth develop- gration. Social capital is one of the least under-
ment with a financial services component is the stood and researched of the livelihood capitals;
Employment and Livelihood for Adolescents but it is essential to the accessing and sustained
(ELA) program of BRAC Bangladesh. ELA pri- use of many livelihood development opportuni-
marily focuses on the financial empowerment ties. As described earlier, research has found
of adolescent girls who have graduated from that young people frequently rank access to
BRACs education programs. ELA groups are mentors, peer support, new ideas and a sense
comprised of 2040 members who use loans of self confidence or courage as being far more
to invest in poultry, livestock, nursery, fisheries, important to livelihood success than access to
and other small businesses. This model exem- financial capital or skills training (USAID 2006).
plifies how young peoples lack of collateral can
be overcome by application of the solidarity Among the strategies that help youth acquire
model (Making Cents 2008). social capital are:

Emphasize savings. As suggested by some of Peer support groups;

the lessons learned just cited, recent microfi- Service learning;
nance research has shown that savings prod- Sports for development;
ucts may be more appropriate for youth than Mentorship and business coaching; and
loans in many contexts (ADB 2004, USAID 2005, Family reunification and
CGAP 2006). Savings is a precursor to a loan community re-integration.
and teaches youth about financial management
Peer support groups
Another example of insufficient market research is A consistent research finding on microfinance
when a microfinance institution in Mali, Kafo Jiginew,
found that its usual practice of providing short-term loans
and frequent payments to youth entrepreneurs they 3
USAID is about to encourage the development of such
had trained was not suitable for youth with entirely new new youth-oriented savings products as part of its Youth
businesses. This was due to the longer start-up period and Microenterprise Development Project that will begin
needed to launch new businesses (Making Cents 2008). in mid-2008.

22 | Youth Livelihoods Development Program Guide

for adult women is that besides changes in tion in a given community, especially towards
household income related to increased access marginalized populations. Moreover, forming
to financial capital, the most common impact groups of only extremely poor individuals can
reported by women is an increase in their posi- limit the development of new social capital that
tive peer network. Women involved in peer might better be stimulated through serving
lending groups or group loan associations find more diverse groups.
that they develop social skills, group problem
solving skills, and new levels of self-confidence Service learning
that they can then apply to other areas of their One promising vehicle for social capital devel-
lives, such as advocating for their childrens opment is service learning. In these projects,
health and education needs, claiming property youth, often from marginalized backgrounds,
or inheritance rights, or accessing public ser- combine community service work with some
vices (CGAP 2006, Population Council 2004). form of human capital development (literacy,
life, or work skills development). Pioneering
Youth livelihood programs can offer similar work in this area by City Year in South Africa
benefits for participating youth, often introduc- and the National Service Learning Coalition
ing them to new support networks and future- (NSLC) across the U.S., along with a growing re-
oriented peer groups. When told about a new search base on best practices in this arena, has
program, parents often ask what will my child led to an increasing awareness of this as a key
learn, whereas youth often ask who will be livelihood readiness intervention.
there. Adolescence and young adulthood are
critical periods of identity development and so- In 2006, USAID invited City Year to explore
cialization, so livelihood programs that address whether it could adapt its well-regarded U.S.-
these developmental needs are both more at- based service learning program to South Af-
tractive and effective (NRC 2005). rica. Working under the auspices of EQUIP3s
Education For All (EFA) Youth Challenge Grant
For young people with poor existing social Program, City Year found that it could dupli-
networks or a lack of family support (i.e., those cate three essential elements of its program
with very little social capital), the first step in in the South African context. These elements
livelihood development may well need to be included: (1) building dynamic partnerships
the development of social capital before they with large private sector firms interested in
acquire additional skills or financial capital. partnering with teams of youth; (2) provid-
Research from a girls microfinance project in ing participating youth with the opportunity
Kenya (the TRY project) illustrates this need. to upgrade their academic skills; and (3) con-
Specifically, an assessment of a pilot round of necting youth with ongoing opportunities
activities showed that Kenyan girls with lim- for learning and work within mainstream
ited social capital needed peer support before education and employment settings.
becoming involved with microfinance, and then
greater accompaniment by their adult supervi- Service learning lowers barriers to entry in hard-
sors throughout the life of the project in order er-to-serve communities, and it engages and
to obtain the same levels of success as girls retains youth not by emphasizing their deficits,
entering with more pre-existing social capital but by inviting them to make a positive contri-
(Population Council 2005). bution to their communities (see www.cityyear.
org). Service learning projects, however, should
At the same time, fostering peer support groups carefully consider the provision of some kind
can have the unintended effect of reinforcing of stipend (or re-imbursement of out-of-pocket
existing prejudices and barriers to participa- expenses) in order to serve the most marginal-

Youth Livelihoods Development Program Guide | 23

ized youth and households. Many of the most same in South Africa ahead of the 2008 World
marginalized can afford neither the direct costs Cup, as they prepare youth from marginalized
nor the opportunity costs accumulated by fore- communities for employment in sports-related
going household economic activities in order settings. The goal of this programsupported
to participate in a service learning experience. in part by GTZ (German Agency for Technical
Developers of service learning projects should Cooperation)is the use of sports to mobilize
carefully assess marginalized youth and their youth from disenfranchised communities and
families to address the trade-offs they are will- re-engage them in both continuing education
ing to make in order to participate. and formal sector employment.

Sports for development Mentorship and business coaching

Another promising catalyst for the development Youth often speak of the need for accom-
of social capital is the use of sports-based inter- paniment by caring adults when it comes to
ventions. The convening and mobilizing power succeeding in livelihood development. As
of sports is well known. Less recognized and opposed to trainingwhich youth tend to
researched is the impact of organized sports on downplayyouth consistently rank mentoring
young mens (and increasingly young womens) and constructive advice as important to start-
development, including their acquisition of ing, improving, and growing a small business
livelihood capital. The 2005 UN Year of Sport for or informal service sector activity (USAID 2005,
Development highlighted a number of inter- USAID 2006). The key, though, is that there be
national efforts to move sports into the main- a fit between the knowledge base of the men-
stream of development programming. Some tor and the needs of the young person. Despite
pilot projects have linked sports with health their good intentions, businessmen and women
and education outcomes; others have begun to in the formal sector may have little practical
make the connections between sports and live- advice to offer a young person operating in the
lihood preparation. One powerful advantage of informal sector.
sports for development programming is its abil-
ity to attract private-sector funding, as youth Bolivian microfinance provider Pro Mujer is ex-
and sports make a strong combination to attract ploring a number of mentorship models for its
corporate social responsibility efforts versus the younger microfinance clients (www.promujer.
purely philanthropic side of corporate chari- org). One promising approach involves paring
table giving (UN 2003). older women from its established adult solidar-
ity loan groups with solidarity groups made up
In Uganda, The Kids League (TKL), a local NGO, of younger clients ages 1824. This approach
has pioneered the use of sports in combination provides youth with insights and information
with educational and livelihood programming to about how to succeed in the informal sector,
re-engage youth affected by conflict in commu- and has proven more successful than matching
nities in the North. Both young men and young youth with formal sector mentors who often
women find that participation in organized have little practical awareness of how to oper-
sports leagues builds their internal and external ate in the rough and tumble world of street
assets, including their sense of empowerment level businesses.
and acceptance, their willingness to take posi-
tive risks, and their ability to set and achieve Family reunification and
personal goals. community re-integration
Programs that augment the social capital of
A consortium of private companies led by the youth can help to re-unify families or reinte-
German auto manufacturer BMW is doing the grate displaced youth (i.e., youth living on the

24 | Youth Livelihoods Development Program Guide

streets, former child soldiers, or other sepa- Livelihood sustainability grants
rated youth) into communities. Such program- Outright grants to help youth sustain their
ming is also important for youth aging out of livelihood activities are sometimes necessary.
institutional care. Many of these youth face For example, USAID and other donor agencies
tremendous barriers to livelihood development frequently help youth in rural areas or in fishing
because of their longstanding disengagement communities get back on their feet by provid-
from family, community and peer networks. ing them with equipment or supplies after an
armed conflict or natural disaster (USAID-CMM
Too many project designers erroneously as- 2006). But such grants need to be carefully
sume that youth livelihood programs should managed so as to avoid a series of common
expect youth to become fully independent pitfalls including flooding a limited local mar-
breadwinners. Experience has shown that ket with the same micro-enterprise start-ups
relatively small changes in income can in fact (in carpentry or tailoring, for example), or not
lead youth to build or strengthen ties to their understanding that capital goods can be re-sold
extended families, thus limiting the need to and the cash diverted for other purposes (Mak-
create their own households. A project sup- ing Cents 2008).
ported by the YMCA in the Dominican Republic
in the early 1990s found that street children GROOTS Kenya provides business training to
would often return to extended family house- build the capacities of youth group members
holds if they could develop relatively stable along with small grants and low interest loans
incomes through street vending or other to assist youth in starting up small-scale (indi-
low-barrier-to-entry livelihood pursuits. vidual or collective) enterprises in communities
(Making Cents 2008). GROOTS believes these
The Community Development Center Akkord initiatives have helped reduce young caregivers
and its local partners in Tajikistan experienced burden of caring for household members infect-
similar results in a livelihood program targeting ed with HIV/AIDS. Grants and subsidized loans
street active youth in Khodjent and Dushanbe. (below market rates) are not, of course, strate-
Participating youth often used income from gies for sustainable microfinance; thus, institu-
their small enterprises to negotiate entry into tions providing this type of support will need
the households of relatives or former neigh- ongoing funding from outside entities, or a
bors, many of whom could not afford to sup- for-profit business arm that sells other services
port another houseguest, but most of whom or products. Such programs might also attract
were willing to open their doors to a young concern from nearby microfinance institutions,
person, even one with only a modest income to which might worry that their own borrowers
contribute to household survival (Akkord 2006). will expect grants and subsidized loans as well.
As long as the MFI carefully targets its grants
Strategies to Help Youth Acquire and subsidized loans, and MFI entry require-
Physical Capital ments and messages to their borrowers about
There are several strategies to help youth the need to repay loans are clear, this issue
and their households acquire physical as- can be minimized, and participating youth can
sets (e.g., clothes, tools, equipment, land, eventually be graduated to mainstream microfi-
and physical space for work) to assist their nance (CGAP 2006).
livelihoods. These include livelihood sus-
tainability grants, special programs to pro- Rewarding individual and
vide access to assets for young women, group accomplishments
and land and housing access programs. Another strategy to help youth acquire physical
capital is to reward specific accomplishments.

Youth Livelihoods Development Program Guide | 25

For example, vocational training schools some- the importance of giving small grants to girls
times reward new graduates with a set of tools involved in household-based income generat-
or special work clothing. Sometimes it is a good ing activities, such as food preparation, market
strategy to reward positive group behaviorfor gardening, or livestock rearing.
example, providing farming or sewing coopera-
tives with laptops and access to the Internet Housing as a key urban physical asset
after they achieve a certain a certain level of Since many economic activities are run out of
group savings. Such tools could help them get the home, access to housing (and/or legal ten-
weather reports, technical assistance to help ure to informal housing) can be a key physical
increase production efficiency, literacy lessons, asset for youth in urban and peri-urban areas.
etc. Participants in any incentive system should Young peoples legal capacity to own property is
have opportunities to suggest the kinds of re- even more important in HIV/AIDS-affected com-
wards or incentives (including cash) that would munities where the death of a parent can leave
likely produce the greatest benefit to them- younger youth ages 1417 without the right
selves and the group. to inherit property (often the only productive
asset available to them as they take on the role
In its Guinea PATHWAYS program, ARC provided of lead caregiver for younger siblings). Lack of
grants of US$60 to youth who completed their legal control over housing and farm land often
training program and furnished a viable busi- leaves youth-headed households vulnerable
ness plan. The grants were used to start their to sudden shocks if older relatives appropriate
businesses. The more entrepreneurial youth these productive assets for their own use. This
were referred to local MFIs as well (Making risk can often only be mitigated through advo-
Cents 2008). cacy efforts and legal reforms at the national
level (Dempsey 2003).
Considering the physical asset needs
Young women household members (with or GOALS THROUGH YOUTH LIVELIHOOD
without children) often have a very important CAPACITY-BUILDING ACTIVITIES
role to play in household food security and Efforts to improve youth livelihood skills and re-
overall economic wellbeing. Often their small- sources frequently are used to help achieve sec-
scale but steady contributions to household tor-specific development program goals, rather
income enable the family to endure periods of than exist as stand-alone programs. Some key
economic hardship. Nevertheless, livelihood types of development programs that build youth
development programs all too often overlook livelihood skills and concurrently contribute to
womens potential to use infusions of physical achieving USAID sector program goals are:
capital, preferring instead to support exclusively
the bigger, commercial activities of the men. Basic education
Economic growth and workforce
Livelihood interventions with ex-combatants, development
for example, often overlook the need to sup- Agriculture
port the acquisition of physical capital by both Health
the demobilized soldiers and young people Conflict and post-conflict country programs
who might have lived in their base camps Humanitarian assistance programs
and formed part of their social unit. Similarly,
post-Tsunami recovery projects often focus on Basic education programs
replacing large, usually male-owned capital as- Given large out-of-school youth populations,
sets, such as fishing boats, while failing to see many countries are going to place increased

26 | Youth Livelihoods Development Program Guide

emphasis on providing alternative nonformal crease the productivity of the enterprise itself.
education pathways to help youth achieve Such efforts can include the provision of basic
basic education competencies. Such pro- education and targeted technical skill training,
grams, if they integrate literacy and numeracy the provision of microfinance, and access to
with basic life and employability skills and physical assets such as land, seeds, or animals.
vocational education, will help youth de-
velop the human capital needed to increase Health programs
livelihood productivity. As their livelihoods Health programs offer interested youth a signifi-
improve, youth and families become more cant opportunity to develop livelihood skills and
able to invest more in formal education, thus resources. Many health programs in developing
creating a virtuous circle (AREU 2006). countries (e.g., HIV/AIDS, malaria, basic primary
health care) are both understaffed and in need
Economic growth and workforce of reaching large numbers of people. Engaging
development programs youth to serve as community health workers or
Traditionally, economic growth and workforce peer educators also provides young people who
development programs have addressed the participate with an opportunity to develop live-
issue of youth employment through the lens lihood skills and grow their human and social
of the formal private sector by establishing capital resources.
school-to-work transition, career counseling,
and labor market linkage mechanisms that Conflict and post-conflict recovery
connect youth with formal sector employ- Youth often are foot soldiers in the civil conflicts
ers. In many countries, however, the majority that exist in many parts of the world. The de-
of economic activity takes place in the infor- velopment of youth livelihoods and livelihood
mal sector. In these instances, investments in skills should be a high priority of conflict and
youth livelihood skill development, through, post-conflict country development programs.
for example, targeted technical training or the Countries such as Liberia have very effectively
provision of microfinance, will help harness used basic education and vocational training
the economic productivity of a vital segment to re-integrate ex-combatants into civil society
of the population. The cultivation of liveli- (Making Cents 2008). Well-designed conflict-
hood skills and resources of youth working in resolution, peace education, and tolerance
the informal economy will help young people training efforts can help raise awareness and
contribute to the economic well-being of their promote behavior change among at-risk youth.
family or community, start their own busi-
ness, and eventually transition to the formal Humanitarian assistance programs
economy (ILO 2004, ILO 2005, UNESCO 2001). Youth can be valuable assets in mitigating the
impact of natural disasters, such as earth-
Agriculture programs quakes, tsunamis, and famines. Livelihood skill
Subsistence and small-scale farming is the pre- training programs can help prepare youth to
dominant mode of economic activity in much play important roles in providing humanitar-
of the developing world. In such environments, ian assistance to their communities. The USAID
youth often play important roles, assisting their Ruwwad Project in the West Bank uses a service
families in the planting and harvesting of crops, learning model to train youth in how to assess
and the implementation of small-scale forestry community needs and provide much-needed
and fishing activities. In such environments, humanitarian relief services.
efforts to increase youth livelihood skills and
resources can strengthen the ability of youth to
contribute to their familys enterprise, and in-

Youth Livelihoods Development Program Guide | 27


There are currently a number of places where www.microsave.org for more on market-
additional information and resources related driven development of microfinance products
to youth livelihood programming can be found. and services
Some useful places to start include the follow-
ing web sites: www.ICRW.org for more on linking health and
livelihood interventions
www.EQUIP123.net for information on the
EQUIP3 Project and a range of youth liveli- www.USAID.gov (then go to the DCOF home
hood resources page)for more on economic strengthening
with OVCs
www.ilo.org for useful publications and tools
related to youth employment www.search-institute.org for more on Devel-
opmental Assets for youth
www.popcouncil.org for excellent informa-
tion related to adolescent girls livelihoods www.ymeconference.org for presentations
from a multitude of organizations working on
www.livelihoods.org for resources related to issues of youth microenterprise globally
the Sustainable Livelihood Approach (SLA)

www.microlinks.org for more on youth and


28 | Youth Livelihoods Development Program Guide


Economic and youth development practitioners One reviewer of this Guide made the follow-
should apply these youth livelihood program ing observation, which serves as both a helpful
suggestions with a degree of humility, especially last word in this publication, and a provocative
when these programs target marginalized youth. challenge to USAID Missions and their imple-
The major challenge faced by USAID Missions menting partners contemplating investments in
is notas it is often assumedthe need to youth livelihood development:
do something to give these youth a first step
into the labor force. Rather, the challenge is to The challenge for youth programs is
engage and support youth who are: 1) already not for outsiders to determine the type
economically active and focused on the immedi- of interventions that will engage and
ate need of household economic survival; and, prepare youth for whatever the outsid-
2) who desire more sustainable and socially-con- ers might see as socially constructive
structive livelihood pathways. To meet immedi- and politically benign lifestyles. The chal-
ate needs, this population often turns to liveli- lenge is to determine how to encourage
hood pathways that have a negative impact on and induce youths to organize them-
societypathways involving high risk activities selves and build on what they have in
(including commercial sex work), environmental- ways that enable outsiders to help them
ly-damaging pursuits (such as charcoal making), acquire the relevant skills, competencies
black market activities, crime, or linkages with and resources that can provide a foun-
extremist groups. Better livelihoods for these dation for enhancing their livelihoods
youth could reduce or even eliminate their need and ultimately the livelihoods of others
to undertake harmful livelihood activities. within their communities.

Youth Livelihoods Development Program Guide | 29


Akkord Foundation. 2006. Realizing the Integrated Regional Information Networks

Potential of Tajik Youth: Accompanied Youth (IRIN). 2007. Youth In Crisis: Coming of Age in
Livelihood Development Among Children of the 21st Century. New York: United Nations.
Migrant Workers and other Marginalized Youth.
Almaty: Akkord Foundation. International Labor Organization (ILO). 2005.
Being Real About Youth Entrepreneurship on
Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit Southern Africa (SEED Working Paper #72).
(AREU). 2006. Looking Beyond the School Geneva: International Labor Organization.
Walls: Household Decision Making and School
Enrollment in Afghanistan. Kabul: Afghan International Labor Organization (ILO). 2004.
Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU). Youth Pathways to Decent Work. Geneva:
International Labor Organization.
Asia Development Bank (ADB). 2004.
Microbanking With Adolescent Youth. Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA). 2007. Is
Finance for the Poor: Vol 5 # 4. Manila: ADB. There an Informal Employment Wage Penalty:
Center for the Development of Alternative Evidence from South Africa (IZA Discussion
Education (CEDEA). 2004. Pasanaku: Street Paper # 3151). Berlin: IZA.
Banking Toolkit. La Paz: CEDEA.
Making Cents International. 2008. Youth
The Consultative Group to Help the Poor Microenterprise and Livelihoods: State of the
(CGAP). 2006. Graduating the Poorest into Field. Washington: Making Cents.
Microfinance: Issue Note #34. Washington:
CGAP. Myers, William. 1998. Child Labour: Promoting
the Best Interests of Working Children. London:
Dempsey, Jim. 2003. A Guide for Agencies Save The Children.
Planning and Developing Economic
Strengthening Interventions for Households National Research Council (NRC). 2005.
and Communities Caring for Orphans and Growing Up Global: The Changing Transitions
Vulnerable Children. Washington: Displaced to Adulthood In Developing Countries.
Children and Orphans Fund (DCOF). Washington: National Research Council.

EQUIP3. 2007. Morocco Cross Sectoral Youth Population Council. 2005. Evaluation of
Assessment. Washington: EDC. a Savings and Micro-Credit Program for
Vulnerable Young Women in Nairobi. New York:
EQUIP3. 2005. Building a New Generation of Population Council.
Leaders in the West Bank and Gaza: Findings
and Potential Interventions. Washington: EDC. Population Council. 2004. Building Assets
for Safe and Productive Lives: A Report on a
Hatch, John. 2004. Expanding Microfinance Workshop on Adolescent Girls Livelihoods. New
Services to Young Adults. Washington: FINCA. York: Population Council.

30 | Youth Livelihoods Development Program Guide

Search Institute (SI). 2006. The Asset Approach: USAID. 2006. Job Creation in Post Conflict
40 Elements of Healthy Relationships. Societies. Washington: USAID.
Minneapolis: Search Institute.
USAID. 2006. Youth Microfinance and Conflict
Save the Children (SC). 2006. How Low-Income Case Study: West Bank Case Study. Washington:
Households Make Decisions About Investing USAID.
In Post-Primary Education: Pilot Research with
Youth-Driven Focus Group Tools and Approaches USAID. 2005. Youth Microfinance and Conflict:
in South Sulawesi. Washington: Save the Uganda Study. Washington: USAID
USAID-CMM. 2005. Livelihoods and Conflict: A
Sommers, Marc. 2003. Urbanization, War and Toolkit for Intervention. Washington: USAID.
Africas Youth At Risk. Atlanta: CARE.
USAID-CMM. 2004. Youth and Conflict: A Toolkit
Street Kids International (SKI). 2001. The for Intervention. Washington: USAID.
Street Business Toolkit. Toronto: Street Kids
International. World Bank. 2007. World Development Report
2007: Development and the Next Generation.
United Nations. 2003. Sport for Development Washington: World Bank.
and Peace. New York: United Nations.
World Bank. 2007. Youth and Development:
United Nations Department of Economic and Investing in the Next Generation. Development
Social Affairs (UN-DESA). 2006. Guide to the Outreach, June 2007. Washington: World Bank.
Implementation of the World Programme of
Action for Youth. New York: United Nations. World Bank. 2005. Demand Driven Approaches
to Livelihood Support in Post War Contexts.
United Nations Department of Economic and Washington: World Bank.
Social Affairs (UN-DESA). 2005. World Youth
Report 2005. New York: United Nations. Youth Employment Network (YEN). 2007.
Joining Forces with Young People: A Practical
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Guide to Collaboration for Youth Employment.
Cultural Organization (UNESCO). 2001. Learning Geneva: YEN.
to Create a Better Future: The UNESCO Special
Project for the Enhancement of Learning and
Training Opportunities for Marginalized Youth.
Paris: UNESCO.

Youth Livelihoods Development Program Guide | 31


The Educational Quality Improvement Program EQUIP3 is a consortium of 12 organizations with

3 (EQUIP3) is designed to improve earning, diverse areas of expertise. Together, these orga-
learning, and skill development opportunities nizations work with out-of-school youth in more
for out-of-school youth in developing countries. than 100 countries.
We work to help countries meet the needs and
draw on the assets of young women and men To learn more about EQUIP3 please see the
by improving policies and programs that affect website at www.equip123.net/equip3/index_
them across a variety of sectors. We also pro- new.html.
vide technical assistance to USAID and other
organizations in order to build the capacity of
youth and youth-serving organizations.

EQUIP3 Consortium: Education Development Center, Inc. n Academy for Educational Development n Catholic Relief Services
n International Council on National Youth Policy n International Youth Foundation n National Youth Employment Coalition n

National Youth Leadership Council n Opportunities Industrialization Centers International n Partners of the Americas n Plan
International Childreach n Sesame Workshop n Street Kids International n World Learning

32 | Youth Livelihoods Development Program Guide