Gender equality and social inclusion among the youth

INTERNATIONAL Youth Foundation (IYF) believes that educated, employed, and engaged young people possess the power to solve the world’s toughest problems. It has led and sustained coordinated action to harness the talent and potential of the world’s young people, now numbering 1.2 billion.

At the heart of its efforts is building partnerships, initiatives, and curricula that prepare young adults to succeed as citizens, employees, entrepreneurs, and change-makers.

Since IYF’s founding in 1990, it has helped more than two million young people in SubSaharan African turn their talent and enthusiasm into jobs and careers.

To enable young men and women to enter growth sectors such as service industries, agriculture, and construction. It focuses on understanding private sector employer needs.

Having identified life skills as a critical need, its initiatives include its ‘Passport to Success®’ curriculum. For example, through a key partnership, Hilton Worldwide is integrating PTS into training at all its Africa and Indian Ocean properties. So that the positive changes are sustainable, we build the capacity of youth-serving organizations and government agencies.

Across Sub-Saharan Africa, change-makers are gaining support for their social ventures through ‘YouthActionNet®’. IYF takes concrete measures to counteract youth marginalization, because it threatens individuals’ personal agency, economic opportunity, power to make their voices heard, and ability to participate fully in society.

For young people to benefit fully from our interventions, IYF programming considers all types of exclusion, including based on gender, race, ethnicity, socio-economic status, disability, and religion.

It also recognizes the intersectionality that exists for people within many marginalized communities. While we’ve learned valuable best practices from its three decades of youth development work, its approach and initiatives treat all young participants as individuals with specific experiences, challenges, skills, and potential.

When drafting its 2025 strategy, IYF identified six grounding principles that work together to allow us to drive change for young people, communities, and partners. Here’s how these principles tie into our Gender and Social Inclusion policy:

Positive youth development (PYD)

In everything IYF does, it engages young people as partners—along with their families, communities, and/or governments. PYD approaches build skills, assets, and competencies; foster healthy relationships; strengthen the environment around young people; and transform systems. IYF believes that achieving lost-lasting social inclusion outcomes requires addressing all four of those domains.

Evidence-based learning

IYF is committed to using evidence and knowledge to inform programs and achieve results that improve the lives of all young people. Institutional data collection and disaggregation requirements allow us to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of our programs for distinct populations.

Social inclusion

IYF pushes to address the needs of all young people throughout our initiatives. Its Gender and Social Inclusion policy operationalizes this third grounding principle. Local ownership While well versed in global best practices, IYF does not presume that an approach that has succeeded in one place will work in another. Its Gender and Social Inclusion policy prioritizes the expertise of local partners and local IYF staff in contextualizing GESI to make sure IYF programs do no harm in the pursuit of more equitable outcomes.

Partnership

Working in collaboration with corporations, employers, governments, young people, and other stakeholders allows IYF to serve as a catalyst and convener and creates the best solutions to specific challenges. The implementation of this GESI policy happens with and through global and local partners who are best equipped to identify and address barriers in context.

Ecosystems IYF creates greater systemic change impacting youth at scale and enables young people to influence the systems around them. We recognize that changes in social inclusion require addressing knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors at individual and systemic levels.

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