In a piece in The Huffington Post, Bill Reese, MFAN Principal and CEO of the International Youth Foundation, applauds USAID’s new youth policy, Policy on Youth in Development. Reese highlights the policy’s efforts to elevate youth as partners and not just beneficiaries in their communities’ development process.
Reese writes: “I frequently advocate that ensuring young people can find decent jobs or create their own livelihoods through entrepreneurship gives societies a 50-year ‘return on investment’. Those who can work their way out of poverty will gain the dignity and self confidence to be more actively engaged in their communities. As a result, they will contribute to society, both economically and civically, for decades to come, and their children will be far more likely to succeed in school and in the job market. Policy on Youth in Development buttresses this argument, by making young people’s ability to get a job and support their families a critical piece in USAID’s larger goal of boosting economic growth and reaching those at the base of the socio-economic pyramid. Our foundation’s programs focus on expanding opportunities for this same under-served population. Put into practice, this strategy can turn the demographic “bulge” into a meaningful demographic “dividend.””