5.6.4. Analytical Tools for Working with Youth

There are several analytical tools for working with youth using a value chain approach, including:

  1. Youth Livelihood Development Program Guide
  2. Rapid Youth Labor Market Assessments
  3. Guide to Cross-Sectoral Youth Assessments 
  4. Girl-Centered Value Chain Analysis and Situation Assessment

Youth Livelihoods Development Program Guide[1]

Developed by the Education Development Center, the youth livelihoods guide provides guidance to strengthen economic opportunities among young people. It analyzes youth livelihoods at an individual level, conceptualizing human, financial, social and physical capital as the primary contributors to building strong livelihoods. Programming recommendations are provided for how each of these four types of capital can be strengthened through programming. For value chain practitioners, the guide would be effective to use as part of a situational assessment prior to conducting value chain analysis. Identifying the primary gaps in capital among target youth allows practitioners to identify critical barriers that may exist to value chain upgrading and determine what supplementary interventions may be required to facilitate youth engagement in promising value chains. The guide is also helpful as a reference for strategies that address identified gaps among target youth in one or more of the four types of capital.

Rapid Youth Labor Market Assessments[2]

EcoVentures International (EVI) has developed a methodology for conducting rapid youth labor market assessments, which is illustrated by this study from North Eastern Kenya. Unlike many such assessments, EVI's approach is firmly anchored in the value chain approach. Important elements of EVI's methodology include a systematic look at employment, self-employment and unemployment; an assessment of the desires and behaviors of youth themselves and comparison with available market opportunities and employer perceptions; and a sector-based analysis of potential youth entry points for employment and self-employment. The product of this analysis is the identification of leading 'youth entry points' within growing value chains that are appropriate for youth skills and interests and characterized by unmet or increasing demand. EVI has illustrated these entry points within modified value chain maps.[3]

EcoVentures International (EVI): Waste Management: Entry Points Diagram

Guide to Cross-Sectoral Youth Assessments[4]

This guide, developed by Education Development Center, is designed to inform youth-oriented programming through an understanding of the context in which the initiative will be launched. The cross-sector assessment process is similar to the business enabling environment analysis that is an aspect of the value chain approach, but looks at a much greater number of factors contributing to youth assets and needs. The assessment is divided into six components:

  1. Assessment framework design
  2. Collection and analysis of economic, educational, agricultural, health, and demographic indicators
  3. Mapping other initiatives
  4. Identifying youth priorities
  5. Learning from the experiences of other key stakeholders
  6. Developing findings and recommendations

The guide can be useful for value chain practitioners in the design of youth-focused value chain initiatives or to understand how youth can be incorporated into an existing project. It can therefore be applied during multiple stages of the value chain program design cycle: value chain selection, value chain analysis, or design and implementation. Although the guide is written specifically for USAID, its approach has a broader application.

Girl-Centered Value Chain Analysis and Situation Assessment[5]

Cardno has developed an analytical approach to working with girls that combines a modified value chain analysis with a broader situational assessment. This enhanced value chain analysis is intended to be applied following value chain selection so that it can evaluate the best opportunities within the selected value chains. Cardno applied this approach to its Value Girls project in Kenya. To reflect the project’s focus on girls, Cardno placed girls as the center of the assessment by studying the applicability of the selected value chain to their situations; why girls and young women have not taken up core market functions; what barriers to or opportunities for entry exist; and what are the relative competitive advantages for integrating adolescent girls and young women into the targeted value chains. The situational assessment looked at the broader context for adolescent girls and young women in order to identify what social, physical and educational challenges they face, what specific interventions could address those challenges, and what barriers and opportunities exist for their involvement in the targeted value chains relative to other income opportunities in the region. Using these two tools, this approach to assessment strives to identify girl-friendly entry points into promising value chains as is depicted here.[6]

Value Chain Entry Points and Opportunities for Girls Diagram


  1. D. James-Smith, Youth Livelihoods Development Programme Guide, 2008.
  2. EcoVentures International, Youth Labor Market Assessment, North Eastern Province, Kenya: A study of market opportunities and workforce needs for youth, 2010.
  3. EcoVentures International, Youth Labor Market Assessment, North Eastern Province, Kenya: A study of market opportunities and workforce needs for youth, (2010) 32.
  4. Education Development Center, Guide to Cross-Sectoral Youth Assessments, 2009.
  5. Emerging Markets Group, Early Lessons Targeting Populations with a Value Chain Approach, 2009.
  6. Emerging Markets Group, Early Lessons Targeting Populations with a Value Chain Approach, (2009) 19.