Young people in developing countries offer the promise of the future. Healthy, educated, and employed young people can accelerate development, stabilize communities and drive innovation across the globe. Yet, if developing countries fail to prepare and engage their youth, they could face high unemployment among young people, instability and a development gap. According to UNESCO, 20 percent of young people in developing countries fail to complete primary school and lack skills for work.
Banyan Global’s Positive Youth Development approach connects youth with their families, schools and communities to better navigate among the opportunities, risks, and challenges of adolescence and young adulthood. To ensure our work is appropriate to the needs of young people, we target and design our programming to be suitable for each age and socio-economic condition.
Our engagement with youth is cross-sectoral, helping to build assets and skills in the following areas:
- Vulnerable youth: We work with all types of youths—migrant or displaced youth, refugee youth, youth in conflict environments, trafficked youth, youth living with HIV, rural youth, and married girls.
- Economic opportunities and livelihoods: We conduct assessments and design and implement livelihoods programming that targets youth.
- Workforce development: We conduct labor market analysis, identifying the gap between labor needs and available skills, making recommendations to engage youth, and strengthening education and training opportunities to match employment trends. We also build the capacity of vocational training institutes and private universities and expand student financing options to increase enrollment and graduation rates.
- Gender and youth: We bring a gender focus to our work with youth—in our project design, by mainstreaming gender into project implementation, and in our monitoring and evaluation by disaggregating findings by gender.
- Health: We seek to increase access to youth-friendly HIV and AIDS, reproductive health, nutrition, and maternal child health services.
- Security: We promote protective factors, which extensive research has shown lead to youth behaviors associated with positive outcomes. Our work encourages behaviors that prevent negative outcomes.
- Youth-inclusive financial services: We conduct market research and develop youth-inclusive financial products, helping financial institutions to target this underserved population.
- Conflict environments: We have designed and implemented youth programming in conflict, fragile and crisis-affected environments.
- Information technology: We seek to engage youth through social media and connect youth to the internet and advances in technology.
To learn more about our approach to Positive Youth Development and our work on the YouthPower IDIQ visit: www.youthpower.org/consortium-pages-banyan.