Examining the Evidence: Topics of interest to USAID in youth development & education Rachel Blum, USAID and Christy Olenik Caroline Fawcett Nancy Guerra Valerie Haugen from JBS International, Inc.
• To provide USAID’s Office of Education with information on the latest research regarding youth workforce development, youth education in conflict environments, and holistic or cross-sector youth development. • To provide USAID’s Office of Education with support in setting priorities for a youth focused research and evaluation agenda. • Work supports USAID Education Strategy Goals 2 & 3, as well as the impending USAID Youth in Development Policy.
Literature Scan Topic
Youth Workforce Development
Number of Studies Reviewed* 36
Youth Education in Conflict Environments
Holistic, Cross-sector Youth Development
*Numbers in each review overlap as some studies were considered evidence in more than one topic area
Types of Studies Topic
QuasiPerformance experimental Evaluations 6 17
Youth Workforce Development*
Youth Education in Conflict Environments Holistic, Crosssector Youth Development
*The youth workforce development scan also included 3 meta-analyses not listed here.
• • • •
Workforce Development Initial Findings Positive impacts on employment and earnings Less clear about rural youth and university educated youth Youth are gaining skills that foster outside employment including interviewing, resume development, and job search Entrepreneurship strategies seem to increase gaining targeted knowledge and skills in customer service, marketing of products, accounting, record-keeping, and understanding the market Youth are also acquiring life skills like positive work ethic, financial literacy, and other developmental assets (e.g., honesty, responsibility, decision-making) Institutional capacity development trends include labor market assessments, national-local partnerships, flexible short term training and active participation of youth
Potential Research and Evaluation Topics Most essential, cost-effective components for youth in general Most essential, cost-effective components for rural youth Most essential, cost-effective components for highly educated youth Link between life/soft skills and employment How programs can reach scale and sustainability What strategies are effective at integrating youth into value chains
Youth Education in Conflict Initial Findings • Access to education including classrooms, community centers, and non-formal learning groups. • Positive impact reported in reading, writing and math skills after access to basic education. • Youth are gaining employability and life skills. • Positive feelings and attitudes and also increased healthy behaviors. • Positive impact on the longer-term outcomes of less violence and increased tolerance and feelings of belonging and empowerment. • Long-term outcomes achieved through multi-component interventions: employment, psychosocial, peace-building, and conflict mediation.
Potential Research and Evaluation Topics What works at increasing youth access to education
Link between youth education and country stability/mitigation of violence Link between youth employment and youth crime or violence What works to build youth-friendly systems
What makes some youth more resilient than others
Holistic, Cross-sector Youth Development Initial Findings • A broad set of academic and social-emotional skills predict academic achievement, positive social behavior, and resilience for youth across cultures and countries. • As youth get older, these skills are complemented by specific technical, vocational, and health knowledge and skills (often called life skills) to facilitate the transition to adulthood. • These skills and behaviors represent short-term developmental outcomes of PYD interventions; these shortterm outcomes predict long-term, sector-based outcomes. • These socio-emotional skills, academic skills, life skills, and behaviors can be improved through a range of different programs including school-based curricula, out-of-school training, and engagement with youth organizations. • Cross-agency and cross-sector collaborations, although difficult to implement, produce the most enduring effects for
Potential Research and Evaluation Topics Should youth programming be universal or based on youth needs/risk factors What short term outcomes serve as milestones for long term outcomes What factors impact young people’s decision to engage in risky behaviors What assets do youth need at (10-15 yrs.) vs. (16-19 yrs.), vs. (20-29 yrs.) The impact of youth engagement in program design and implementation What benefits can be gained from cross-system, cross-sector collaborations
Questions & Answers
Thank You Rachel Blum – [email protected]
Christy Olenik – [email protected]