Youth voices roadmap to guide funders in meaningfully engaging youth in youth employment programs

February 23, 2021


Plan International USA logo


Citi Foundation


Youth Employment Funders Group

 First-of-its-kind report aims to inform and strengthen the engagement of youth in funders’ and implementers’ investments, strategies and programs around the world.

New York, NY — As part of our global commitment to ensuring and protecting youth rights, Plan International is pleased to launch a new report exploring the meaningful engagement of young people in youth employment strategies and programs. Conceptualized by the Youth Employment Funders Group (YEFG) and commissioned by the Citi Foundation, this report establishes a first-of-its-kind roadmap in the youth employment sector on how to actionably and meaningfully place youth at the center of youth engagement strategies and programs.

The report, “Youth voices in youth employment: a roadmap for promoting meaningful youth engagement in youth employment programs” outlines the steps that funders and implementers can take along the various phases of a youth employment program to strengthen youth engagement and amplify youth voices, regardless of where they are in their youth engagement journey. Together, these elements help to bridge the knowledge gap that exists in the youth employment sector around what meaningful engagement means and how to engage youth in employment programs that impact them.

The report stipulates that meaningful youth engagement is achieved when under enabling conditions, youth representatives actively participate throughout the program life cycle and enter into youth-adult partnerships that empower youth and may contribute to positive and long-lasting market outcomes. Using this definition, alongside a set of key pillars and the roadmap, funders will be able to set goals and assess how to strengthen the engagement of youth in their programs, making use of step-by-step guidance and finding inspiration in the case studies and quotes provided by youth and practitioners on the potential impact of meaningful youth engagement.

“For funders who understand that meaningful youth engagement leads to better youth employment program outcomes, this roadmap gives stakeholders the common language and clarity on meaningful youth engagement throughout the program lifecycle,” said Alexandra Robinson, a member of the Youth Advisory Panel representing AIESEC International. The Youth Advisory Panel is a diverse group of youth members from around the globe, who informed and supported the development of the report. This Panel, alongside youth focus groups discussions and a global youth survey, played a central role in ensuring that youth informed the development of the roadmap.

“This user-centered approach will provide good practices to actionably strengthen the role of youth in programs that ultimately affect their lives,” said Youth Advisory Panel member Jihane Lahbabi-Berrada, representing Education for Employment – Morocco.

As a global girls’ rights organization, Plan International recognizes that meaningful engagement of young people is particularly important to those from vulnerable and marginalized groups, especially young women, young people with disabilities and ethnic minorities, who often struggle to have their voices heard in various participatory spaces.

“Strengthening the practice of meaningful youth engagement in youth employment programs is more important than ever. The gravity of the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated youth unemployment, profoundly impacting youth around the world,” said Tessie San Martin, CEO, Plan International USA. “When youth are meaningfully engaged, in ways outlined by this roadmap, the positive impacts can have ripple effects on young people and labor markets.”

“We hope that the guidance shared in this roadmap helps funders and stakeholders engage youth more intentionally and meaningfully in the programs that impact them,” said Dorothy Stuehmke, Senior Program Officer, Citi Foundation. “By listening to and elevating their voices, we are helping to strengthen the youth employment field and create a more resilient future for young people entering the workforce.”

For more information and to download the report, please visit:

About Plan International

Founded in 1937, Plan International is an independent development and humanitarian organization that advances children’s rights and equality for girls in more than 80 countries. Powered by supporters, Plan International partners with adolescent girls, young women and children around the world to overcome oppression and gender inequality, providing the support and resources that are unique to their needs and the needs of their communities, ensuring they achieve their full potential with dignity, opportunity and safety.

About Citi Foundation

The Citi Foundation works to promote economic progress and improve the lives of people in low-income communities around the world. We invest in efforts that increase financial inclusion, catalyze job opportunities for youth, and reimagine approaches to building economically vibrant communities. The Citi Foundation’s “More than Philanthropy” approach deploys the enormous expertise of Citi and its people to fulfill our mission and drive thought leadership and innovation.

About Youth Employment Funders Group

The Youth Employment Funders Group (YEFG) is a network of over twenty multilateral organizations and international donors, including private foundations, working together to generate and share more and better evidence-based knowledge on what works in the field of youth employment.

Robin Costello
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