Not all youth employment programmes in fragile and post-conflict settings contribute to peace, even if they create jobs. It is important for funding agencies to decide prior to designing such programmes whether job creation is their main goal or if employment is a mean to achieve peace. To achieve impact beyond employment, there is a need to focus on decent jobs, as well as conduct in-depth analyses of labour markets and the political economy, which must inform programmes’ theories of change and monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL) frameworks. Donors should remain open to programme adaptation and encourage iterative learning for improved practice. Finally, connecting the body of knowledge on youth employment programmes and programmes in fragile and post-conflict settings can teach us important lessons on how to design more effective youth employment programmes for peacebuilding in specific fragile contexts.
These were some of the main points raised by Valeria Izzi (PhD) and Marjoke Oosterom (PhD) during the plenary (webinar) session on ‘Promoting Decent Employment for African Youth as a Peacebuilding Strategy’ organized by INCLUDE for the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Sustainable Economic Development Department (DDE) on 9 June. The objective of this plenary session, which attracted over 50 participants, was to share important reflections and a set of recommendations on youth employment programmes in fragile setting. The presentation was based on the findings from the evidence synthesis paper of the same name by Valeria Izzi prepared within the frame of the ‘Boosting decent employment for Africa’s youth’ partnership between INCLUDE, the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and the International Labour Organization (ILO), under the umbrella of the Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth.