This cross-cutting theme focuses on improving the effectiveness, sustainability, and scale of programs by sharing data on what works and what doesn’t, and methodologies for monitoring, evaluation, and impact assessment.   Improved practices in this area promise to provide stakeholders with enhanced understanding of which interventions have meaningful impact, what the likely return on investment will be, and how to design and implement improved monitoring and evaluation initiatives.

Where are we now?

As the YEO field matures, pilot programs and anecdotal data have given way to increasingly sophisticated approaches to program measurement and learning. These advances are critical to scale, replication, policy and government partnership initiatives. However, more work remains. Confusion about the purpose and practice of monitoring, evaluation and assessment, and the way it can contribute to learning with an organization or program still exists.  A common language for this area along with standardized measures of cost and benefit are also necessary to ensure discussions are productive and evaluations reflect a common framework of practice.

Trends and emerging practices

  • Donors are advocating for more rigorous evaluation to ensure greater accountability and learning.
  • Although randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are the gold standard, they can be expensive and time consuming, leading some donors to find quasi-experimental and impact evaluations very appealing, while others invest more significantly in M&E activities.
  • For corporations and foundations, evaluations are important to measure the social value proposition and social impact of their investments to consumers, customers, and employees.
  • More implementers are recognizing the importance of investing in good M&E, so they can demonstrate to donors their organization's social value proposition, particularly to impact investors.
  • More organizations are successfully using mixed methods approaches (both quantitative and qualitative data) to M&E.
  • Survey and focus group tools should be tested and finalized with young people for tools to achieve greater reliability and validity.
  • Data from young people should be triangulated with data from significant adults in their lives (such as parents, guardians, and teachers) to contextualize its meaning and importance.
  • More organizations are recognizing that existing M&E staff may not have the skills set required to engage young people, so training on how to conduct youth-inclusive M&E is important. 
  • Young people are not homogeneous, so questions need to be framed differently for young men and young women, youth from urban and rural communities, and/or youth from different socio-economic groups.


Five Steps to More Meaningful Youth Engagement

My name is Matthew French and I work for JBS International, Inc. This blog draws upon research conducted under contract with USAID’s office of Education (read the full youth engagement report here), as well as my own experiences working with young people.

Call for Proposals Opens: Present at the 2016 Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summit

Making Cents International
Feb 16, 2016 (All day)
To be considered as a presenter at the 10th annual Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summit, taking place September 28-30 in Washington, D.C., proposals must be submitted by March 25. Visit www.YouthEOSummit.org to learn more and access the proposal form. 
Key Information:
  • Summit Date: September 28-30, 2016
  • Location: Crystal Gateway Marriott, 1700 Jefferson Davis Highway, Arlington VA
  • Who can submit: Any interested parties

Matchmaking In The Digital Age

Originally posted by: Dalberg-Digital Sharing's Next Frontier

Globally, 75 million youth are unemployed and another 536 million underemployed, hindered by a lack of formal full-time jobs and a mismatch between skills and employer needs. 

Knowledge Management Platform to Increase the Scale & Sustainability of Youth Economic Opportunity Programs: 2015 Results & 2016 Summit Sponsorship Information

Meeting the needs of the global youth population requires evidence-based, scalable, and sustainable initiatives. In response, Making Cents International offers a demand-driven Knowledge Management (KM) platform that builds the capacity of youth development stakeholders to design, implement, and evaluate high-impact youth economic opportunity programs, policies, and partnerships. The platform components are:

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Workforce Connections Community of Practice: The Challenge of "Soft Skills" Measurement: Toward a Common Approach

Check out resources from Workforce ConnectionsCommunity of Practice launch eventThe goal of Workforce Connections is to promote dialogue and knowledge exchange among international youth workforce development professionals.

Complex Paths: Supporting Mixed Livelihoods in Liberia

The Prospects program’s Employment and Entrepreneurship program seeks to improve employment outcomes for ‘work-ready’ youth in Liberia – young people of legal working age with at least some education who are seeking employment or self-employment. This paper explains how traditional concepts of ‘employment’ as a singular state do not apply in Liberia – rather, almost all young Liberians earn income from multiple sources, with a mixed livelihood or portfolio of work.

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Beyond the Muddle: What are Soft Skills or Workplace Competencies?

This presentation, presented by ChildTrends at Making Cents International's Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summit, addresses Workforce Connection's research around the types of soft skills and character traits most relevant for positive youth development and success for employability.

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Advancing Labor Market Assessments (LMA): PowerPoint Presentation

At its Advancing Labor Market Assessments event, held November 25, 2014, Workforce Connections presented: an inventory of existing tools and methods identified to date, a proposed decision tree for labor market analysis, and a summary of new “open source” tools currently in development. Speakers included Bryanna Mills, Eleanor Sohnen and Lara Goldmark.

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Measuring Employment Outcomes for Workforce Development: PowerPoint

Check out Workforce Connections' PowerPoint presentation from the Measuring Employment Outcomes for Workforce Development event held February 5, 2015.

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