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Global Partnership for Youth Employment

Global Partnership for Youth Employment

Increasing our knowledge on young people’s transition to work

The Global Partnership for Youth Employment celebrates 3rd birthday

Since its inception in late 2008, the World Bank’s Global Partnership for Youth Employment has made important progress in generating new knowledge about youth employment outcomes and in bringing together a wide range of stakeholders to work together and learn from each other. For the future, the partnership will further strengthen local youth employment stakeholders in Africa and the Middle East and incubate new initiatives to benefit the international community at large.

Youth employment on the forefront of the development debate

Since the release of the World Development Report 2007 on Youth, we have seen what happens when more and more young people do not make the transition to adulthood successfully. In recent years, youth unemployment has been on the rise across the world, and this trend has arguably been one of the key factors underlying a lot of the unrest in today’s world, including the youth-led revolutions across the Middle East and North Africa.

What policies will address the growing global challenges facing young people and improve their economic opportunities? As noted in the WDR 2007, the international community still knows fairly little about what programs work to facilitate the transition to adulthood, because only a few programs have undergone rigorous evaluations.

Activities to foster new knowledge and policy

In order to address these challenges, the World Bank established the Global Partnership for Youth Employment (GPYE). The partnership comprises the International Youth Foundation (IYF), the Arab Urban Development Institute (AUDI), Understanding Children’s Work (UCW), and the Youth Employment Network (YEN). The primary goals of the partnership are to build and disseminate evidence on youth employment outcomes and proven methods to improve them, with a special focus on Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, where the evidence base has been particularly scarce in the past.

To achieve these objectives, the Partnership’s work focuses on three areas:

  • Applied research and learning: Build new knowledge to better understand the problems facing young people in their transition to work and on "what works" to increase their employability.

  • Policy dialogue: Promote effective policy dialogue by convening a broad range of stakeholders to raise awareness and share knowledge about youth employment issues and policies.

  • Local engagement: Support technical assistance for local governments, innovative pilot projects, and capacity-building for stakeholders from the public sector and civil society.

In this context, the partnership has

  • produced several studies on youth employment issues and policies (e.g. Senegal, Sudan);

  • supported the monitoring and evaluation of youth employment programs by developing a much-anticipated Practitioner Guide, organizing capacity building workshops and funding several impact evaluations;

  • provided technical assistance to local governments in the Middle East (e.g. in Tripoli, Aleppo, Cairo); and

  • organized several major learning events to disseminate findings and promote evidence-based policy dialogue (e.g. conferences in Amman, Beirut, Bogota, Damascus, and Washington DC).

GPYE achievements so far

After three years of existence, the GPYE partnership is bearing fruit. Today, we have a growing evidence base on youth employment in target countries; we see a stronger commitment by international and local stakeholders to support the transition to work among young people, improvements in design of programs and policies, and greater collaboration among the partner organizations and others.

Some of the key achievements to date include:

  • Improved understanding of the local situation and the employment challenges facing young people as a result of several country- and city-level studies, for example in Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Rwanda, and Senegal.

  • Better-informed policy dialogue and more context-specific program designs for youth employability programs due to GPYE studies and assessments. For example, in Senegal, findings from the “Private Sector Demand for Youth Labor in Ghana and Senegal” study informed a cross-sector youth assessment and were incorporated into the International Youth Foundation’s youth employability programming in the country.

  • Stronger results focus by practitioners in MENA and Africa, as well as more rigorous learning from youth employment programs. The GPYE has engendered a better understanding and use of monitoring and evaluation, as well as rigorous impact assessments, thanks to partnership-supported capacity building efforts, an active community of practice with over 500 members, and a new M&E Guide targeted at youth employment practitioners.

  • Increased commitment to youth employment by municipalities in the Middle East. For example, in Lebanon, AUDI and IYF have created a multi-stakeholder alliance in the Al Fayhaa Union of Municipalities (Tripoli, Al Mina, and Baddawi) to create a model for public-private partnerships on youth employment at the municipal level from which other cities can learn.

  • Greater engagement of policymakers and other donors. For instance, a regional learning event and policy dialogue organized in Amman, Jordan, articulated local priorities on youth employment and was followed by a Rapid Community Appraisal. This needs assessment, in turn, provided the basis for a large-scale youth employability initiative supported by the Jordanian Ministry of Social Development and USAID.

Looking forward

In 2012, the GPYE is building on its work and achievements over the first three years. Selected activities include:

  • operations research and programming in the area of rural youth employment in Sub-Saharan Africa;

  • the Taqeem evaluation initiative in the Middle East and North Africa to strengthen M&E systems and capacity among youth-serving organizations and to conduct impact evaluations;

  • enhanced collaborations with local governments to support them in youth employment programming ;

  • inventory and mapping of youth-serving organizations in MENA and their capacity-building needs;

  • continuation of the annual regional learning event on youth employment in MENA

To learn more about past and ongoing activities of the Global Partnership for Youth Employment, please visit and sign up to the distribution list.

For questions or comments, please contact Mattias Lundberg ( or Kevin Hempel (

Quick facts:

  • The Global Partnership for Youth Employment was established in 2008 to increase the evidence base on youth employment in Africa and the Middle East.

  • The partnership supports new research, policy dialogue, and local programming and capacity building among donors, governments, and civil society.

  • Members of the partnership include Understanding Children’s Work (UCW), the Youth Employment Network (YEN) - both interagency initiatives among the World Bank, ILO and the UN, the Arab Urban Development Institute (AUDI), and the International Youth Foundation (IYF).

  • The partnership is funded by the World Bank's Development Grant Facility with an expected USD $8 million over a five-year period.

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