Banyan Global


Our Work in Youth

Young people in developing countries offer the promise of the future. If they are healthy, educated, and employed or self-employed, young people can accelerate development, stabilize their communities, and meet the global labor market demand for innovation and growth. Conversely, if developing countries fail to prepare and engage their youth, they could face high unemployment among young people, resulting in instability as well as a development gap. According to UNESCO, 20 percent of young people in developing countries fail to complete primary school or to develop the skills needed for sustainable, high quality employment. For some countries that percentage is even higher, as it is for specific groups such as young women and at-risk youth.

Banyan Global’s Positive Youth Development approach connects youth with their families, schools and communities to better navigate the opportunities, risks, and challenges of adolescence and young adulthood – especially in areas that present high risk of insecurity, crime, and violence. To ensure our work is appropriate to the needs of young people, we target and design our programming to be suitable for each age and socio-economic condition of the target population.

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Our engagement with youth and at-risk youth is cross-sectoral, helping to build assets and skills in the following areas:

  • Vulnerable youth: We work with all types of youths—migrant or displaced youth, refugee youth, youth in conflict environments, trafficked youth, youth living with HIV, rural youth, and at-risk youth who have fallen away from the education and employment tracks.
  • Economic opportunities and livelihoods: We conduct assessments, design and implement livelihoods programming that targets youth.
  • Workforce development: We conduct labor market analysis, identifying the gap between labor needs and available skills, designing programs that engage youth, and strengthen education and soft skills and technical training to match employment trends and real opportunities. We also build the capacity of private and government vocational training institutes and private universities and expand student financing options to increase enrollment and graduation rates.
  • Gender and youth: We bring a gender focus to our work with youth—in our project design, by mainstreaming gender into project implementation, and in our monitoring and evaluation by disaggregating findings by gender.
  • Health: We seek to increase access to youth-friendly HIV and AIDS, reproductive health, nutrition, and maternal child health services.
  • Security: We promote protective factors and behaviors, which extensive research has shown lead to youth behaviors associated with positive outcomes.
  • Youth-inclusive financial services: We conduct market research and develop youth-inclusive financial products, helping financial institutions to target this underserved population.
  • Conflict environments: We have designed and implemented youth programming in conflict, fragile and crisis- and crime-affected environments.
  • Information technology: We seek to engage youth through social media and connect youth to the internet and advances in technology.


To learn more about our approach to Positive Youth Development and our work on the YouthPower IDIQ visit: