Youth Economic Inclusion at Scale: Experts Weigh In

four young adults arm-in-arm

On July 30, 2015, Making Cents International hosted the first #YouthEO Twitter chat in partnership with MasterCard Foundation, Udemy, EDC, Management Systems International and Microfinance Gateway. The chat sparked a conversation around “Scale in Practice”, the theme of this year’s annual Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summit taking place Oct. 6-8 in Washington DC, by bringing together insights from stakeholders who are using technology, policy, markets and technology to advance youth economic inclusion at scale.

There are over 1.1 billion young people in the world who need to be able to find decent jobs, start and grow businesses, gain access to appropriate financial services and overall, participate in the global economy. Given the size of the youth bulge and the current lack of economic opportunity for young people around the world, youth development stakeholders recognize the imperative of scaling their initiatives. However, there is a significant knowledge gap about how to scale effective youth programming, with the default strategy being simply ‘using more money to reach more people’.

YouthEconOpps A1: Effective partnerships between organizations, private sector, TVEYs and FSPs can bring proven models to scale. #YouthEO

With the #YouthEO Twitter chat on Scale in Practice, Making Cents and its partners are expanding understanding of important considerations and strategies for scale by harnessing expertise from agents working to bring economic opportunity programming to scale.

Leveraging technology is a must for scaled solutions — online education and virtual work are a few trends that excite us. #YouthEO

The following key questions were discussed during the Twitter chat:

  • Aside from spending more money, what strategies exist to scale youth economic opportunities?

  • Is there a formula for reaching scale? What are the key principles and strategies any plan to scale should consider?

  • How should the private sector get involved in scaling initiatives that increase youth economic opportunities?

  • What key indicators can be used to determine if a program is fit to scale?

  • What if what works in one place fails in another? Can large-scale programs address circumstances of youth with diverse backgrounds?

  • What resources and insights do you need to develop your strategy for achieving scale?

View the entire chat through our Storify here.

A2: Evidence of effectiveness & replicability. Be sure your program is appealing and feasible and addresses a compelling need. #YouthEO

Are you interested in continuing the conversation on scale, deepening your expertise and knowledge of who’s doing what in this area? The upcoming Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summit will feature sessions on bringing youth economic opportunity programming to scale. Featured sessions include a plenary on “Scale in Practice” and practical “Scale Learning Labs”. In the plenary you will learn about the roadblocks as well as key principles required to take initiatives to scale. During the “Scale Learning Labs”, you will have the chance to deepen your understanding of the options, decisions and trade-offs that donors, implementers, researchers and others face as they refine their individual approach to scale. Register for the Summit here.