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USAID Launches Youth in Development Policy

This Policy on Youth in Development is the first of its kind for USAID.  It is both timely and necessary as more than half of the world’s population today is under the age of 30, with the vast majority living in the developing world. As Secretary Clinton said inTunisia in February 2012,“…in every region, responding to the needs and aspirations of young people is a crucial challenge for the future.” The policy is predicated on emerging best and promising practice for youth development and engagement that are gleaned from USAID and partner’s experience in youth programming, as well as through consultations with young people across the developing world. The policy is further informed by principles and practices articulated in the Presidential Policy Directive on Global Development (PPD), the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR), the National Security Strategy 2010, State Department Youth Policy 2011, USAID Forward, and the USAID Policy Framework 2011-2015. 

Youth in Development Policy: Realizing the Demographic Opportunity


1: Strengthen youth programming, participation and partnership in support of Agency development objectives. 

2: Mainstream and integrate youth issues and engage young people across Agency initiatives and operations. 

Expected Outcomes 

    Youth are better able to access economic and social opportunities, share in economic growth, live healthy lives, and contribute to household, community, and national wellbeing. 

        Youth fully participate in democratic and development processes, play active roles in peacebuilding and civil society, and are less involved in youth gangs, criminal networks, and insurgent organizations. 

        Youth have a stronger voice in, and are better served by local and national institutions, with more robust and youth friendly policies. 

Sizeable youth populations are both an opportunity and a challenge. Development can be accelerated when the majority of youth in any country are able to make significant contributions to economic, social, and political life in a way that lifts countries out of poverty, ensures greater stability and promotes healthier societies. Alternatively, peace, progress and prosperity are held back when countries are unable to meet the basic needs of their youth.With few exceptions, in the coming decades, developing countries have or will have a population age structure that favors economic growth. For some countries, the window to capitalize on this opportunity is short, while for others, it is just opening or still a few decades away. 

Reaching youth potential depends upon their preparation for and participation in development efforts; leveraging investments in early childhood in order to set the stage for tomorrow’s development outcomes.