Youth Microenterprise and Livelihoods: State of the Field

  • Date Posted: June 2, 2010
  • Organizations: Making Cents International
  • Document Types: Evaluation, Assessment
  • Donor Type: Non-Governmental Organization

With the global youth population reaching a historical high of 1.5 billion, economies worldwide are increasingly unable to provide young people with jobs. The situation has reached critical proportions in developing countries where 1.3 billion youth reside. Innovative and sustainable approaches are needed to ensure that young people are able to lead healthy and productive lives that contribute to socio-economic development in their communities. In this context, Making Cents International organized the first Global Youth Microenterprise Conference in September 2007 with the aim of building the youth microenterprise field and catalyzing groundbreaking work within it, and decided to write a post-conference publication focused on strategies and lessons learned.

The specific objectives of this publication are to 1) highlight the importance of youth economic initiatives; 2) provide insight into promising practices on youth livelihood development; 3) demonstrate the wide spectrum of stakeholders, sectors and approaches involved; 4) contribute to consensus building on the need for standardized indicators and improved monitoring and evaluation; 5) begin to identify opportunities for scaling up and replication of successful approaches; 6) extract some of the challenges members of all sectors are facing on this issue; and 7) raise awareness on the need to invest in youth livelihood opportunities as part of socio-economic development efforts. Ultimately, this publication aims to support efforts to increase the number of youth in the workforce, particularly through self-employment, and the ability of youth livelihood programming to achieve greater impact and sustainability.