Mercy Corps partners with young people (10-24 yrs) to build stronger, more peaceful and productive communities. We believe that if young people learn relevant knowledge and skills, and engage socially, peacefullly and economically, then they will be able to lead secure and productive lives.
Our world is currently home to nearly 1.8 billion young people 10-24 years old, more than any other time in human history. The vast majority of them – nine out of ten – live in less developed countries where economic, civic and social opportunities are insufficient to address the diverse needs of transitioning to adulthood. Others are facing this transition while living in prolonged humanitarian crisis that presents significant challenges to their safety and well-being in the form of forced migration, recruitment, and crime, and early marriage and pregnancy for adolescent girls. These circumstances impede young people’s ability to contribute to their country’s growth and stability. They demand our attention, support and action, as their life choices will fundamentally influence the chances for stability and productivity in the world’s most challenging places.
Global peace and prosperity will be determined by how well young people are 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 capacities 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 young people rise to the challenge of making a successful transition to adulthood, take a look at the following information:
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.
Youth As Agents of Positive Change
In many of the places Mercy Corps works, youth represent more than half the population.