Consider these facts: over 3 billion people—nearly one-half of the world’s population—are under the age of 25, and almost 90 percent of young people live in developing countries.
ACDI/VOCA engages youth as valued partners in building more prosperous and secure futures for themselves, their families and their societies. ACDI/VOCA harnesses and builds on the energy, creativity, skills and promise of the next generation.
At ACDI/VOCA, we view working with young people as integral to sustainable development. We also see the upcoming demographic shift—larger workforce and fewer children—as an economic and social development opportunity in many of the countries where we work. Our investments invite youth participation as partners, entrepreneurs, future employers/employees, and as citizens and leaders.
Youth as Development Partners
ACDI/VOCA collaborates with local partners to develop interventions where youth are informed, consulted and share decision-making power on matters of importance to them. Youth engaged as staff and project partners contribute to project design, implementation and monitoring. They play an important role as social agents in engaging all stakeholder groups.
- In East Timor, ACDI/VOCA facilitated a two-day open space forum for youth from associations such as national youth councils, women’s organizations, universities and refugee camps to discuss their roles in promoting peace, reconciliation and development.
- In Serbia, we engaged youth in our efforts to promote reconciliation among various ethnic and religious groups. Young people took a key role in the democratic community-driven projects, resulting in 20 municipal youth task forces that designed more than 150 youth projects.
Skilled Youth Drive Future Economic Growth
ACDI/VOCA transfers skills and practical tools to help youth meet their individual needs and expectations and create their own livelihoods—opening opportunities for participation in both the formal and informal economy.
- ACDI/VOCA introduced an apprenticeship program through our USAID-funded Community Action Program in six Iraqi provinces. The initiative provided on-the-job training for recent high school and college graduates. Paid apprentices earned positions in over 200 private companies, government agencies and nongovernmental organizations.
- In Liberia, we worked with 5,442 young people through initiatives including school demonstration gardens to strengthen farming skills and an internship program with the country’s top vacation resort.
- In India we trained farm youth in basic crop, soil, water and pest management, enabling them to sell cost-effective extension services.
Youth Key as Informed Future Citizens and Leaders
ACDI/VOCA contributes to an enhanced learning environment for citizens, including the next generation of leaders, applying service models such as peer counseling and social entrepreneurship models.
ACDI/VOCA works with youth in many ways, including interactive workshops with or without adults, civic education and leadership camps, peer education, scholarships and youth centers. Youth gain skills and the confidence to contribute to their communities and position themselves as future leaders.
- In Iraq, we tap and build on the potential of youth through diverse, inter-related activities including youth participation on community-elected boards and summer youth camps with focus on civic education and leadership to develop the country’s citizenry.
- In an area with high religious tensions and intolerance in Kazakhstan, we constructed three youth centers to encourage youth participation in community events and ethnic-based tolerance trainings.
- In Bolivia, ACDI/VOCA helps rural youth gain educational and vocational opportunities through a scholarship program to attend local, national and international universities. More than 600 recent graduates have received human development, leadership and vocational training, which graduates can bring back to share with their communities.
ACDI/VOCA believes nothing could be more important than investing in youth as a cross-cutting principle on all projects. Today’s youth are the future.
- Jamaica – Jamaica Rural Economy and Ecosystems Adapting to Climate cHange (Ja REEACH)
- Liberia – Agriculture for Children’s Empowerment (ACE)
- Liberia – Liberian Agricultural Upgrading, Nutrition and Child Health (LAUNCH)
- Russia – North Caucasus Agricultural Development Project
- Sierra Leone – Sustainable Nutrition and Agriculture Promotion (SNAP) Program
- Uganda – Literacy Enhancement and Rural Nutrition (Uganda-LEARN)
A Selection of Past Projects
- Bolivia – Integrated Community Development Fund (ICDF)
- India – Growth-Oriented Microenterprise Development Program (GMED)
- Iraq – Community Action Program II (CAP II)
- Iraq – Community Action Program III
- Iraq – Community Action Program (CAP)
- Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan – Community Action Investment Program (CAIP)
- Russia – North Caucasus Rural Credit Cooperatives & Agribusiness Development Program (NC-RCC&AD)
- Serbia – Community Revitalization through Democratic Action (CRDA)