Pathways to Opportunity

Youth in Action Program brings together tested holistic approaches based on three on programmatic pillars and two cross-cutting themes. YOUTH LEARN, YOUTH ACT, YOUTH CONNECT. The active Participation of youth and building Partnerships are crosscutting the three programmatic pillars and key to their success.

Youth in Action supports youth to develop a key set of skills that they will need to start and grow successful livelihoods. To support this learning process, the program uses its youth-centered, participatory and experiential “Learning for Life” curriculum that develops and contextualizes skills specific to the youth’s personal situations, including their goals, family situation, community life, their desired learning aspirations and livelihoods opportunities. It also builds on young people’s own knowledge, perspectives and experiences. There is a continuous progressive skill build up, as youth move through the curriculum that contains five key focus areas:

  • Life skills
  • Literacy
  • Numeracy
  • Financial literacy
  • Employability*

*Using Save the Children’s respected Literacy Boost method, Youth in Action draws upon Save the Children’s widely-tested Literacy Boost methodological approach to learning for in-school and out-of-school children. This three-pronged approach includes assessments, teacher training, and community action, to significantly improve children’s core reading skills. Literacy Boost focuses on the five core skills that research shows are central to learning to read: letter knowledge, phonemic awareness, vocabulary, reading fluency, and comprehension.

Practical application of skills is exercised during the learning phase and more comprehensively during the action phase, as youth are prepared to navigate and access their local markets and test an income-generating pathway initiative, such a small enterprise, technical training, or by returning to school. Youth also receive peer-to-peer and community mentorship on the pathway they choose.
Through the Youth Act pillar the program supports youth to:

  • Formal or non-formal education This is a key focus for the younger adolescents (12-14). Young people who choose the education pathway are provided with the tools and resources they need to attend school or instructional courses.


  • Vocational training/Apprenticeship Young people who choose vocational training/Apprenticeship receive funds for technical vocational skills training and raw material costs in community-based agri-training centres or in coordination with Ministries of Agriculture where possible


  • Entrepreneurship Youth will be mentored to identify and try out viable local business opportunities and develop business plans, they choose themselves.This practical learning opportunity gives youth start-up funds or links them to financial services in their community for additional resources.


  • Employment Young people, of legal working age, who want to seek employment, are supported by local partners to find safe, productive work in the private sector.



As youth move through the program, they have the chance to test and apply the skills they acquired through navigating new pathway initiatives and access their local markets. Youth can choose one of the following pathways while they receive peer-to-peer and community mentorship on the pathway they choose:

  • Formal or non-formal education
  • Vocational training/Apprenticeship
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Employment

Cross-Cutting Themes

Youth in Action’s approach includes encouraging youth to participate in all activities, make their own decisions, and act on them independently. The youth are also given structured support through advisory groups, peer-to-peer support networks, youth-led market assessments and procurement of business supplies. Through these activities, the youth are able to make informed decisions about their future livelihood options.

Youth in Action works to create partnerships at different levels to facilitate youth engagement and advocate for systemic changes in each of the program countries. We partner with:

  • Families and community members to recruit, select and mentor youth through livelihood options, and advocate for youth who face specific barriers to participation, such as girls.
  • Local NGOs in each country to deliver the program, build capacity and support them to leverage their organizational strengths.
  • Local businesses, trade and business associations, and financial institutions to help the youth become more active in their local markets.
  • Government ministries to promote the rights of youth to decent livelihoods and promote sustainability of the program.