Meaningful youth engagement

The Youth Network Committee in Ethiopia ensure youth-responsive implementation of PROSPECTS activities

The committee met for their third quarterly review meeting, visited an urban refugee settlement and learned about monitoring and evaluation techniques to support Advancing Meaningful Youth Engagement initiative of the ILO PROSPECTS programme.

News | Addis Ababa | 24 November 2023
Members of the Youth Network Committee in Ethiopia meeting in Addis Ababa ©ILO
Addis Ababa, ETHIOPIA (ILO News) - The Youth Network Committee (YNC) in Ethiopia convened its third quarterly review meeting on 30 and 31 October 2023 in Addis Ababa. Beyond the discussions, the committee members used the opportunity to interact with urban young refugees to understand their issues and even picked up on programme monitoring and evaluation techniques, enabling them to provide better technical support to youth empowerment initiatives.

The YNC, formed in Ethiopia in 2022 to serve as a formal advisory group the PROSPECTS initiative, “Advancing young people’s engagement and meaningful participation in forced displacement contexts”, jointly implemented by the International Labour Organization (ILO), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), represents voices of young refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs), and host communities and ensures their insights and aspirations are reflected in the programme implementation.

At the recent meeting, representatives from the three UN agencies provided the YNC with a programme update underlining youth engagement initiatives. The committee inputs were sought to further enhance youth participation and realign programme design to suit the needs of young persons. Among various recommendations, documentation support for the young refugees, especially Government recognized identity cards (ID) came forward as a strong demand from the members.
The YNC members attending the monitoring and evaluation workshop ©ILO

The YNC – organized into sub-committees focusing on Communication and Advocacy; Gender and Disability; and Reporting, Monitoring and Evaluation – shared their respective reports detailing progress, challenges faced and lessons learned since the last quarterly review meeting held in June 2023. They also outlined the financial and technical support needed for future activities.

The committee engaged in comprehensive discussions to address the challenges identified and devised a strategy to overcome them with support from the UN and partner organization officials.

An integral part of this meeting was a visit to the Urban Refugee Centre of Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) office in Adis Ababa. YNC members and the delegation of UN and JRS officials observed and discussed the challenges and opportunities faced by young urban refugees in accessing education, decent work, financial services and protection.

The committee recognized the challenges of urban refugees, especially in terms of finding livelihood opportunities and pointed out the UN agencies and other partners to work in collaboration to address them.
The YNC members participating at the discussion during field visit to urban refugee settlement in Addis Ababa ©ILO

Marta Mamuye, a member of the YNC from Addis Ababa, said "We were impressed by the services provided to urban refugees at the center, which assist them in starting their own businesses or finding employment, gaining access to financial resources and receiving training opportunities. But as the majority of the refugees in these locations are young adults, there is a need for collaborative and scalable efforts to meet the demands."

Jean-Yves Barba, Chief Technical Advisor for ILO PROSPECTS in Ethiopia, emphasized the importance of site visits for committee members to gain first-hand insights through direct engagement with refugees and host communities.

“The field visits enhance YNC members' knowledge and understanding of the situation of refugees, IDPs and hosts. With an improved understanding of forcibly displaced context, they are able to provide insightful recommendations and participate in the implementation and monitoring processes,” said Jean-Yves Barba.

He underlined the responsibility of the committee members to critically review the activities of PROPECTS Partnership to make sure the challenges urban and camp refugees face are incorporated.

Additionally, the committee members underwent training in Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E). The training facilitated by ILO PROSPECTS’ Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, Louis-Pierre Michaud, enhanced committee members' understanding of the principles of Results Based Management (RBM) in M&E, relevant tools and their application for improvement of programme results.

Marta Tsehay, National Programme Officer for ILO PROSPECTS in Ethiopia, highlighted the importance of this training in empowering the YNC. She mentioned, “It will enable to YNC members to review the progress of programme activities and most importantly, the sub-committee to report, document and present their work.”

Abdifatah Ismail, a YNC member expressed his appreciation to the organizers for organizing the training. “We are accountable not just the PROSPECTS initiative but also to the young people in the community whom we represent. The M&E training has enabled us to track progress and report on them. We have demanded training on similar programming techniques in future to improve our participation,” said Abdifatah.

About the Youth Network Committee:

With the generous support of the Government of the Netherlands, with the leadership of the ILO, UNICEF and UNHCR joined hands to establish and launch the Youth Network Committee on 10 October 2022 under the PROSPECTS initiative “Advancing young people’s engagement and meaningful participation in forced displacement contexts.” This formal coordination mechanism has been serving as a platform to ensure meaningful engagement of young people in program planning, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation. The platform has been serving as a tool to unleash the leadership potential of young people by providing designed capacity building and technical assistance to young emerging leaders of the Youth Network Committee.