CARE’s work with adolescents and youth

CARE works around the globe to save lives, defeat poverty and achieve social justice. As adolescents and youth are the leaders of the future, we promote a focus on girls, boys and young women and men as positive change agents bringing creativity, energy and commitment to their communities.

Congolese man en vrouw

Youth and adolescent empowerment framework

We invest in adolescents and youth, to enhance their assets and agency, but have also realised that their ability to change and make change will be limited unless the environment around them facilitates change. Supportive relationships, networks and norms as well as supportive structural environments are the fertile soil that can support their development. CARE therefore works for change across three core domains: building agency, change relations and transforming structures.

What it looks like in practice

Our youth and adolescent empowerment work usually goes hand in hand with our work focusing on women’s rights. Since each society has unique strengths and challenges, we are agile in our approach according to the specific context.

As part of our Women in Enterprise programme in Côte d’Ivoire, the project team engaged with the Ministry of Women, Family and Children to include entrepreneurship modules in the curriculum of the Women’s Training and Education Institute, which provides Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) to women and girls aged 15 to 35. Over 50 teachers received training on the entrepreneurship modules and at least 2500 girls and young women will benefit from strengthened entrepreneurial capacities.

In Somalia, through the Education is Light programme, CARE together with partners and the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, works to increase access to quality primary and secondary education as well as TVET reaching over a 100,000 students in Puntland State. In Puntland, we also facilitated meetings with the Ministry of Youth and Sports (MoLYS) and female youth representatives, as part of the Every Voice Counts programme. As a result, young women successfully influenced the government to adapt the Youth Policy to address their needs and priorities. It was the first time MoLYS committed to mainstream gender within the Youth Policy and add more budget to the youth portfolio.

Peaceclub in Burundi

In Burundi, the Conjoint programme promoted adolescent and youth sexual reproductive health and rights working together with partners and stakeholders in the education and health sector. The programme reached over 300,000 adolescents and youth with comprehensive sexuality education, increasing skills for preventing unwanted pregnancy, infection with sexually transmitted diseases and reducing risk of engaging in transactional sex. Young people also reported increased aspirations and ambitions to become financially independent and engage in income generating activities.

As part of our Women, Peace and Security programme in the Democratic Republic of Congo, CARE promotes the participation of youth in peace processes. We support young people at risk of becoming enlisted in armed forces to become change agents promoting peace. Using a network of youth facilitators, young people are brought together in youth clubs to learn about themes such as gender equality and peacebuilding. Social dialogues are held between these youth clubs, local civil society organisations and community structures. These dialogues encourage youth participation in conflict mediation, from which they are usually excluded, despite often being perpetrators or victims of conflict.