Young men and women in fragile settings want to get ahead in their lives and build a future, but they experience numerous obstacles, related to poverty, instability, and various forms of exclusion. How do they deal with this situation? What are their needs and ambitions and what opportunities and limitations do they experience? How do NGOs working on economic opportunities for young people help meet (some of) their needs? And how does this impact young people’s engagement with violence? Based on field research in South Sudan and Burundi, this research centred on young people’s economic agency and how, in fragile settings, this agency might be strengthened.