Unbound Philanthropy will support the first year of the Women's Commission's three-year global research and advocacy project to address this knowledge gap.
WC will conduct desk and field research to (1) study the problem to understand the situation of young people in diverse displaced and post-conflict settings and (2) devise practical solutions that lead to employment opportunities. It will look at programs for displaced young people both while they are displaced and with consideration for their likely future homes (settlement in the country of refuge, return to home country, or third country resettlement). It will evaluate what skills and education are necessary for them to become employed at present and in the future. It will gather knowledge about the economies in which these young people are likely to participate. And it will assess the programs that currently exist for conflict-affected youth to identify what works, what doesn't and why. WC will also identify program components for an 'ideal' pilot project for the next phase of work.
With Unbound Philanthropy's support of the first year of its project, the Women's Commission will:
- Finalize criteria for country selection and select five sites of focus for the project
- Develop assessment methodology (research protocol, questionnaires, etc)
- Identify and engage key actors (youth groups, UN agencies, NGOs, donors, government, etc)
- Conduct desk research on each site: identify needs of youth, map existing programs, gather program evaluations and market surveys, identify and research possible durable solutions, economic realities, etc.
- Plan for field missions: meet with relevant HQ staff of UN agencies and NGOs, set up meetings, translate necessary documents, etc.
- Develop advocacy strategies: outline reports, develop communication strategies, continue outreach, etc.
- Conduct field assessments for each site: meet with youth, youth groups, UN, NGOs, donors, government officials; visit projects serving youth; conduct focus groups and interviews
- Plan, organize and hold youth advisory group meeting in Istanbul
- Write advocacy briefs from each field assessment highlighting main challenges, gaps, what's working and what more is needed in specific context
- Disseminate reports widely;
- Conduct briefings and promote findings with key stakeholders, through presentations and meetings with UN agencies, US government, European donors, media, etc.
- Identify possible pilot projects.
Performance Metrics for the project's Phase One include:
(1) Comprehensive needs of displaced young women and men in three conflict and post-conflict sites have been identified and analyzed
(2) Existing services and gaps in programming for youth in three sites have been documented
(3) Likely durable solutions and market opportunities for displaced youth in three sites have been identified
(4) Participatory assessments with young people have been conducted, including the establishment of a Youth Advisory Group to help inform/guide the project
(5) Promising program models that can be replicated in other settings have been identified
(6) Operational organizations begin modifying their youth programming to better prepare youth for market opportunities
(7) The necessary components that should be combined in an ideal project have been identified; and
(8) Learning and recommendations within the humanitarian community have been widely shared and the concept of providing a comprehensive package of services to youth (appropriate education, vocational training tied to market analysis, and life skills) has been promoted.
There are more than 40 million refugees and internally displaced persons globally. Of these, eight million are young people between the ages of 15 to 24 years. The majority of refugees are in prolonged situations that last an average of 17 years, with nearly eighty percent hosted in very poor countries that have great difficulty meeting the most basic needs of their own populations. As a result, many of the eight million young people have never been to school and have not acquired the vocational skills that they would have acquired at home or in their communities, for example, as subsistence farmers or craftspeople.
Young people are among the primary instigators as well as victims of violence. Forty-four percent of post-conflict countries return to conflict within five years and a key indicator of return to conflict is a large number of unemployed and unemployable youth. When provided with opportunities for skill development and jobs, youth can be a great resource for the rebuilding of their countries and promoting long-term peace and security.
Despite the great number of young people in need, few programs exist for teenagers who never went to school or for those who need secondary education or vocational skills training. Programs that offer alternative pathways to education and/or vocational skills training and life skills are critical if young people are to grow and develop-and are essential for the peace and security of their communities and countries. Tapping the Potential of Displaced Youth is a program of The Women's Refugee Commission that aims to address this lack of support for displaced and conflict affected youth.