Education Update: Youth Skills and Employability Receives Peer Learning Treatment and Other News

November 26, 2016

Washington, D.C. – November 26, 2016 – As globalization and technological advances change labor markets around the world, the need to equip young people with the skills they need for work is greater than ever. Over the past year, R4D Education has worked with implementers and funders to analyze the skills needed for employability in the 21st century. Our research has uncovered innovative, effective ways to deliver these skills to students both inside and outside the classroom.

Here is a snapshot of our recent youth skills and employability activities:

New research:

  • Leveraging R4D’s experience in collaborative learning for health systems, R4D is conceptualizing how this model could be used to address challenges in other sectors such as youth employability. With support from the Umsizi Fund, we examined the potential for a learning network to increase collaboration between implementers and other actors engaged in youth employment in Africa. To learn more about this workand ongoing activities in this area, contact Shubha Jayaram.
  • Last month, R4D and FHI 360 released a report that explores the fundamental question of why 20 million young people (ages 15–24) in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) are neither working nor in school. In particular, the report explores current trends in the school-to-work transition in the LAC region and offers recommendations for policymakers and stakeholders on how to bridge the skills gap. Read it here.
  • In collaboration with the Skoll Foundation, R4D conducted a rapid ecosystem analysis to examine the trends and drivers around youth entrepreneurship and leadership models in Africa. Browse the slide deck here.
  • R4D is one of several USAID partners contributing to the ‘Youth Power: Evidence and Evaluation’ initiative to research and evaluate youth programming and facilitate technical leadership and dissemination of knowledge in the field of positive youth development. R4D has contributed to this initiative by leading the Cross-Sectoral Skills for Youth Community of Practice, and co-authoring a forthcoming meta-review on positive youth development programming in low- and middle-income countries. Learn more about YouthPower here.
  • R4D’s Center for Education Innovations (CEI), aims to increase the evidence base by identifying, analyzing and connecting innovative education programs. CEI has an online database of 700+ programs, and as of October 2016, includes 150 programs focused on skills development around the world. Visitors to the website can also explore a ‘Skills for Work’ topic portal that summarizes common themes and trends observed across featured programs.

Event highlights:

  • In October 2016, R4D and FHI 360 launched Bridging the Skills Gap: Insights from Employers, Educators, and Youth in Latin America and the Caribbean at an event in Washington D.C. The event brought together key players engaged in addressing the youth employability challenge in the LAC region and around the world. See discussion highlights here.
  • This year’s Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summit brought together leading organizations from 50 countries to discuss how to increase the impact, scale and sustainability of their youth economic opportunities programming, policies, and partnerships. R4D was at the conference presenting our recent research around youth skills and workforce development. We shared our work at two sessions on September 29 and September 30. For a snapshot of the discussion themes and outcomes, click here.
  • The Jacobs Foundation’s TRECC program builds on the commitment of the private sector in Cote d’Ivoire to sustain the cocoa industry and improve the livelihoods of cocoa farmers. Last month, the program hosted a Learning Exchange in Abidjan to share lessons around labor market youth inclusion. Learn more about the South-South sharing of lessons here. During the meeting, R4D presented research on bridging the skills gap in Africa and Asia, and discussed trends and themes seen across youth entrepreneurship and leadership programs in Africa.


  • Joint learning — A model for future success in global development
    Using the Joint Learning Network (JLN) as an example, R4D President Gina Lagomarsino explains the collaborative learning approach, how it has helped JLN members advance universal health coverage and how it can be used to tackle other global development challenges – including education
    Read more…
  • A new era for youth entrepreneurship programs: 4 trends you should know
    By 2050, Africa will be home to a billion young people. The future of Africa’s development will undoubtedly be shaped by its youth – either through a demographic dividend or, calamitously, a demographic burden. In this blog, R4D’s Arjun Upadhyay highlights 4 characteristics common to entrepreneurship and leadership programs on the continent.
    Read more…
  • Pan-African Awards Select 4 CEI-Profiled Innovators as Shortlisted Finalists
    The Pan African Awards reward projects which are using enterprise and entrepreneurship to innovate in the field of education. There were over 400 nominations from across the continent this year, and we’re thrilled to share that four of the Shortlisted Finalists – Camara Education, Junior Achievement (JA), LivelyHoods, and ORT-South Africa- are members of the CEI innovation community!
    Read more…

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