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Youth Livelihoods: Scoring Program Effectiveness

Training ChildFund Uganda staff in using the Youth Employment and Well-being Scorecard.

If the worldwide emphasis of NGOs on promoting livelihoods for youth is comparatively new, then the area of monitoring and evaluation of youth enterprise programs is even more so. As ChildFund moves forward in its groundbreaking work in youth livelihoods, it is critical to measure the effectiveness of our programming. Enter the Youth Employment and Well-Being Scorecard, a simple 14-question survey.

With funding from the Brinson Foundation, ChildFund has developed the Scorecard as a simple, cost-effective monitoring tool for ChildFund’s youth employment and livelihood enhancement interventions. When we presented the survey at the 2008 Global Youth Enterprise Conference, it generated considerable interest among the 350 participants.

The survey is designed to assess change not just in income but in overall welfare, which encompasses preparedness for the workforce and parenthood, health, physical well-being (i.e., food security) and capacities for leadership and social engagement. “Youth could be given skills in work force preparation and health, but if they’re not engaged, they’re not reaching their potential,” explains Dev Miller, a ChildFund senior specialist in microenterprise development, who developed the survey with ChildFund’s Lloyd McCormick, youth development technical advisor for Africa. “The Scorecard is a holistic measure for well-being.”

Trainings for trainers on the Scorecard have been conducted for ChildFund staff in Senegal, Ethiopia, Uganda and Zambia, and baseline surveys have been completed in Senegal and Ethiopia. In Senegal, a re-survey performed
a year after the baseline showed a 13 percent increase in the average overall score of the participants, who were youth clients of our microfinance partner, IMCEC.

That’s significant in light of current economic conditions, notes McCormick. “Thirteen percent may seem small,” he says, “but they didn’t go backward.”

“Through a comparison of baseline and resurvey results,” adds Miller, “the Scorecard gives ChildFund insight into the types of interventions that are most likely to yield significant change in the lives of youth and identifies gaps that require an adjusted program approach.”

For instance, “if you have a reproductive health program and you find there’s not change in behavior between baseline and re-survey, or if you find that certain programs seem to give a boost to civic engagement, you might ask, ‘What’s going on here?’”

What’s more, the Scorecard is flexible enough to apply across a variety of diverse programming, and can even be fine-tuned, according to Miller. “There’s no law that says there can’t be 16 questions,” she says.

The Scorecard is an invaluable resource in ChildFund’s continuing efforts to offer the programs most likely to improve the lives of children and youth.