Together with Wageningen University & Research (WUR), SPARK has designed a ‘toolbox’ to help NGO’s better plan their programmes. The Toolbox is a result of extensive academic and field research and aims to support young people by creating better entrepreneurial opportunities for them in fragile states.

Preserving Hope

The project began with six months extensive research in Burundi and South Sudan, where researchers were delighted to meet some inspiring youngsters with enterprising attitudes in two of the world’s most fragile states.

A common misperception is that youth unemployment breeds violence, whereas WUR researchers found that despite the frustrations young people were experiencing, the majority did not turn to crime or violence. The toolbox was designed based on these individual’s ability to preserve dignity, cohesion and hope. It is intended to capture and develop these traits so that young people in fragile states can continue to lead their societies into prosperity.

Six Critical Questions

The researchers found it was important to have a broader approach to young people’s motivations and to understand their social needs. With this knowledge, NGO’s can better organise their projects and ways of approaching young people.

The Toolbox consists of six key questions, surrounding peace-building, that were formulated based on the findings of the research. They allow NGO’s to critically assess their own projects. For example, a Project Manager might ask him/herself: “How do your programmes tie in with the needs and ambitions of young people?” or “How do your programmes reduce violence?”

We hope these types of analytical questions will stimulate NGO’s to reflect on past experiences that may hold the key to present dilemmas.

 Launching the Toolbox in Style

Last month, the five international organisations involved in the project; CARE, Save the Children, ZOA, Oxfam Novib and SPARK, gathered to celebrate the launch the Toolbox at the Institute of Global Justice in The Hague. The researchers were able to present their findings and discuss with attendees the wonderful experiences they’d had meeting young, talented and motivated people in Burundi and South Sudan, and NGO’s were given a taste of how these individuals can influence the way they work in the future.