Targeted household-level economic inclusion programs are on the rise: nearly 100 programs across 43 countries have reached an estimated 14 million people to date, according to the Partnership for Economic Inclusion’s (PEI) 2018 State of the Sector report. These programs provide a “big push” to help the extreme poor and other vulnerable people move into sustainable livelihoods, and can play an important part in poverty reduction and the new “social contract”, as noted in a recent blog.
Social enterprises have plenty of potential to make concrete impacts on youth employment outcomes. For those not familiar with this model, social enterprises are businesses that conduct commercial, profit-generating activities but focus more on social outcomes than profits. This innovative approach in development has caught the attention of many in the youth employment space, especially over the last five years, partly because it relies less on public sector and donor funding -unlike many conventional programs.
Among Solutions for Youth Employment (S4YE)’s Impact Portfolio community of innovative youth employment projects, there are two projects that take the social enterprise model to practice: Digital Divide Data (DDD) and UNICEF’s UPSHIFT program. Each project represents a different way of applying the concept of social enterprise: Digital Divide Data itself is a youth employment project that operates as a social enterprise, while UPSHIFT works on creating young social entrepreneurs.
Many people in Sub-Saharan Africa still work in agriculture; on average, over half of the labor force, and even more in poorer countries and localities. Yet the share of the labor force in agriculture is declining (as is normal in development), leading African leaders and economists to focus on job creation outside agriculture.
Planning for jobs of the future matters. The 200 million young people (those ages 15-24 years old) either looking for jobs or constructing livelihoods now, will increase to 275 million each year by 2030, and 325 million by 2050. Is the neglect of agriculture in job creation strategies and public investments premature?
Let’s face it: assessing the results of a development project can be as complex as designing and implementing it. This is particularly true for projects that aim to create more and better jobs for all population groups and often work across sectors: how do we measure the number of newly created jobs through a private sector development project? Or the increase in earnings for young women and men who participated in a skills training, benefited from a coaching, or received stipends to help them move from low to higher quality jobs? Wouldn’t it be great to have a common terminology and definitions, and a set of ready-to-use tools to standardize the measurement of jobs outcomes?