Engaging Youth in Inclusive Market Development
Many developing countries today are faced with a growing youth population who want to engage in markets but remain unemployed or underemployed. At the same time, efforts to develop economies through more inclusive and competitive markets are not engaging youth in this process, creating a disconnect between the growing opportunities and the young people without the qualifications to fill them. While many market development projects target youth, we are still early in the process of learning how to meaningfully incorporate youth into market systems approaches. What are the benefits of engaging youth in market development? How can market development programs more meaningfully engage young people as value chain change agents? What are concrete ways to encourage youth participation throughout the project cycle?
In this seminar, the market systems community and youth engagement specialists came together to dialogue about what is being tried in the field and where gaps remain that programs should seek to bridge. Rachel Blum and Devon McLorg from USAID, and David Feige from Making Cents International, introduced key conceptual models and examples to frame the conversation. Participants then shared examples, tools, and approaches that they’ve used to engage youth, which resulted in a rich discussion.
Rachel Blum is the Youth Workforce Development Technical Specialist in USAID’s Bure
au of Economic Growth, Education, and Environment. She carries 17 years of experience in inclusive economic growth with a specialization in conflict-affected environments. In her role at USAID, she leads a learning and research effort related to youth workforce development and provides technical support to Missions in assessment and program design. Prior to working at USAID, Blum served as Senior Technical Advisor to the Economic Development unit at CHF International, where she supported 20 field offices in the areas of inclusive economic growth. Blum has also served as Country Director to USAID-funded programs in Kosovo and Azerbaijan.