Home | 2011 Workshop

Shaping the Youth Bulge:
Responding to Challenges of Economic Growth, Security and Health
August 18, 2009 – 10:30 a.m.

Presenter:Emmanuel Jimenez, World Bank

Moderators:Clare Ignatowski, USAID Office of Education
Alexandria Panehal, USAID Bureau of Economic Growth and Trade

The opening plenary session on Tuesday featured an engaging presentation by Emmanuel Jimenez from the World Bank. Jimenez presented the purpose and findings of the World Development Report 2007 (WDR), which emphasized the policy effects of the youth bulge on education and human capacity development. Demographic trends worldwide are producing a bulge among youth ages 10-24, which is becoming a relevant issue for labor productivity and human development as youth move into the labor force.

Jimenez emphasized five transition points at which youth make key decisions about their future:

  1. Schooling: Completion of primary education is the first seminal point of youth transition. Continuation on to secondary school or job placement is important when determining success. Children that drop out have a very hard time re-entering or finishing school.
  2. Working: The job that youth get first in their working life can affect the rest of their working career. Youth unemployment is a serious issue.
  3. Health Risks: Youth are risk-takers and this can lead to enormous challenges. Taking health risks will tend to peak around the teenage years.
  4. Forming Families: When youth become heads of households (have children): the age at which this happens significantly affects youth development.
  5. Participating in Civil Life: Behaviors in terms of disengagement can be shown in youth voting patterns.

The WDR focused on youth transition policies through three lenses: i) opportunities; ii) capabilities; and iii) second chances. Under the heading of opportunities, the WDR assessed how youth can be included in the labor force; international donors and country governments need to focus on the linkages between education and the labor force. In terms of youth capabilities, the education sector needs to shape the level of information and knowledge that youth possess in making key decisions. Second-chance programs are sustainable if they are designed to attract young people who may have made mistakes. These programs need to help youth re-enter mainstream society, whether through job training or education equivalency programs. The largest challenges in addressing education programs for youth are: coordination of government ministries to include youth, providing a united youth voice, and creating evaluation mechanisms to provide evidence that integrated youth programs work.

During the discussion section, it was noted that several USAID programs have been able to successfully address youth multisectorally, by integrating issues of health, economic growth and others with education and training. USAID has been working on a cross-sector platform for youth, both in designing programs and providing funding from several sectors or agencies.

Key take away points of this session included understanding the effects of the youth bulge and being aware of the shifts in demographics among the youth when implementing USAID programs. Country programs and strategies have a window of opportunity in taking advantage of the youth bulge and its opportunities in building a generation of educated and engaged youth.

To view the presentations, please click on link below:
World Bank, Jimenez : Open

For questions related to the 2009 Education Workshop,
please contact Rebekah Levi at rlevi@jbsinternational.com