Mercy Corps helps young people develop market-driven capabilities and access opportunities in order to secure income and develop a sense of Responsibility, Identity, Creativity and Hope (become RICH). Ultimately, our goal is to see young people transition into global citizens who are responsible for and capable of building secure, productive and just communities at home and around the world.
Today, half the world's population is under 25 – the largest proportion of young people ever recorded. 80% live in developing countries where economic, civic and social opportunities are insufficient to address the diverse needs of transition to adulthood. The International Labor Organization (ILO) predicts that in the 2009-2015 period, around 300 million new jobs will have to be created just to absorb the growth in the labor force . Global peace and prosperity will be determined by how well this youth bulge is integrated into both the labor force and social fabric. Because employment alone cannot absorb such a surge in labor supply, youth energy must be channeled towards other productive activities in their community. Our greatest challenge today is to provide young people with the capabilities and opportunities they need to drive and sustain development. Fortunately, young people are hungry to make a difference and represent an extraordinary window of opportunity to propel profound change in the world.
To learn how we help youth rise to the challenges of the modern world, take a look at the following information:
All stories about Youth Development
Jordan, Syria: From Jordan to Jihad: The Lure of Syria’s Violent Extremist Groups
Though Jordan is one of the few countries in the Middle East region blessed with relative stability, Jordanians are actively contributing to the growth of fighters in neighboring Syria and Iraq. Mercy Corps conducted research to better understand what drives Jordanians to fight in order to influence evolving policy and programming seeking to mitigate violence and promote stability.
Syria: Adolescents inside Syria: No One Hears Us
In a new report addressing the needs of adolescents inside Syria, we found that adolescents dealing with the war face hopelessness and isolation. See our recommendations and download the report.
Economic Recovery Assessment: Sierra Leone
The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has devastated communities in the three most affected countries: Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.
Lebanon: South Lebanon Labor Market Assessment
Youth are currently the most under-employed group in Lebanon.
Afghanistan: Does Youth Employment Build Stability?
A study of our INVEST program yields insights for improving the effectiveness of investments in youth employment and stability interventions in Afghanistan and similar fragile states.
Kenya: Wealth and Warriors: Adolescents in the Face of Drought in Turkana, Kenya
What is life like for girls in traditional pastoralist communities? This study examines their daily responsibilities, social roles, and how they contribute towards household resilience in times of crisis.
Afghanistan, Colombia, Somalia: Youth & Consequences: Unemployment, Injustice and Violence
Getting youth development right has never been more pressing. Countering narratives of grievance, along with offering a better vision of the future, is the job of development. The question is how to do it.
The world of work
Failure to address unemployment now will impact the global economy for years to come. Read about Mercy Corps' strategies, definitions and principles for finding local, sustainable solutions to widespread unemployment.
Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria: Advancing Adolescence
Adolescence is a critical time for young boys and girls, and within the Syria Crisis Response, they require specific and targeted programming that addresses their needs.
South Sudan: South Sudan, Through Youth’s Eyes
Understanding drivers and incentives for youth violence in the pre-crisis context.