The International Youth Foundation (IYF) is launching a major needs assessment in eight Sub-Saharan countries to identify the conditions and gaps in services impacting African youth and their communities. Drawing on its expertise in the assessment field, with support from the US Agency for International Development (USAID), IYF’s new YouthMap initiative will seek to capture a comprehensive picture of the lives of young people in each country, including how they spend their time, how they interact with each other and society, what services they utilize, and what needed services are not accessible. As part of the initiative, the YouthMap Innovation Fund has been established to support pilot activities that grow out of the findings of each assessment.

“Gaining a real understanding of the conditions that young people are facing in their communities, as well as their aspirations for the future, is absolutely essential if we are to design and implement programs that are relevant to their needs,” said Bill Reese, IYF President and CEO. “This is a terrific opportunity for us to dig deeper into how young people across Africa view their lives and what kinds of skills or opportunities they think they need to be successful.”

The USAID-supported $10 million program will survey both in- and out-of-school youth, as well as those who are unemployed, and investigate opportunities and challenges related to youth development across sectors. Countries expected to be surveyed through the program include: Angola, Ghana, Mozambique, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia. Issues of interest in the survey will include education, livelihoods, economic growth, health, democracy, governance, and local institutional capacity to respond to young people’s needs. The YouthMap Innovation Fund will support pilot activities based on the assessment findings; test promising practices; support the transfer of results and experiences to stakeholders across participating countries; and scale up interventions in education and employability.  

YouthMap is a project of Youth:Work, a five-year youth employability initiative implemented by IYF and funded by USAID through its Office of Urban Programs. Currently, Youth:Work has launched projects in Jordan, Latin America, the Caribbean, Mexico, Morocco and Palestine.