Effect of Youth in Action on Work Readiness and Socioeconomic Outcomes: Findings from Ethiopia

About 89 million youth between the ages of 12-24 are part of a growing cohort of out-of-school youth, approximately half of whom live in Sub-Saharan Africa. While many of these youth aspire to be active members of their community, many out-of-school rural youth face limited formal socioeconomic opportunities, and are often unable to access systems and structures to help their aspirations.

This situation is especially true for Ethiopia, a country that has a notably young population. 45% of the ~90 million Ethiopians are under the age of 15 years while ~70% of the populations is under the age of 30 years. And this youth bulge is projected to remain at this level as the population grows to ~127 million by 20379. This youth bulge is accompanied by a moderate rate of unemployment of youth (15-24 years) in Ethiopia, with some projections noting a youth unemployment rate of 8% in 2014. Youth unemployment is more prevalent in urban areas compared to rural areas; however, the youth unemployment rates in rural areas is confounded by the high rates of underemployment for rural youth.

In response to this, the Youth in Action (YiA) program was implemented by Save the Children in partnership with Mastercard Foundation. The goal of YiA is to improve the socioeconomic status of around 40,000 out-of-school young people (12-18 years), both girls and boys, in rural Burkina Faso, Egypt, Ethiopia, Malawi, and Uganda.

The Program Outcome Study (POS) was designed to understand how youth work readiness (financial literacy, work support and resources, academic skills and transferable skills) might change for a sample of youth over the program period, and how those changes might impact socioeconomic outcomes (income earning status, adequate savings, credit access). It was designed as a pre-post study with no control or comparison group.

Published 2018-07-19