ChildFund is a US-registered, non-profit child and youth development organization working in Africa, Asia, and the Americas. Our goal is to empower children and youth, their families, and their communities to enjoy healthier, safer, and more productive lives.
ChildFund’s youth (Life Stage 3, ages 15 – 24) programs promote youth skills development and civic participation in development and emergency contexts. Interventions prepare adolescents and youth to find work in safe environments, free from physical danger, sexual harassment, and exploitation. Two of the core outcomes we seek through our programing for older adolescents and youth are for them to be employed at a living wage in non-exploitive work and be change agents in their families and community. Evidence from ChildFund’s impact report shows progress in youth graduating from basic business and technical skills training and youth reporting participation in civic behaviors. The issue of youth employment is critical to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially Goal 4: ‘Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote life-long learning opportunities for all’ and Goal 8: ‘Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all’.
The youth bulge is common in most of the operational ChildFund countries. This has implications for youth transitions and present and future programs that aim to equip youth with the skills and financial capital needed for employment and entrepreneurship. However, the availability of financing for youth employment and entrepreneurship is minimal. It is overstretched by the realities of economic crises, inadequate resource commitments of governments, disasters, conflicts, and the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has placed many youth livelihoods and entrepreneurs at risk. Funding for youth employment and entrepreneurship needs has also been impacted by dwindling funding from traditional development financing and grant sources. Moreover, since the 2008 global financial crisis, official development assistance to developing countries has reduced drastically.
In this challenging financial context where traditional forms of development aid are under severe pressure, innovative finance mechanisms that align with the Addis Ababa Action Agenda have emerged as a complementary approach to generate sustainable resources to support government and non-governmental actor’s efforts in promoting skills training, youth employment, entrepreneurship, reducing inequalities and meeting the SDGs. ChildFund wants to explore innovative financing mechanisms that could reduce the organization’s dependency on traditional grants and give ChildFund a competitive edge when applying for funding from major development finance institutions (DFIs) or development agencies. This will build upon the evaluation results of the CONFIO project in Central America and explore opportunities for innovative financing mechanisms and strategies to support employability and entrepreneurship opportunities for youth.
This consultancy aims to explore innovative financing options and sustainable partnerships that engage private and public sectors, local, regional, and international actors (including local and diaspora communities/banks), philanthropic and commercial actors to strengthen ChildFund’s skills development program.
Scope of Work and Deliverables
In consultation with ChildFund’s research, business development, grants and sponsorship, and technical staff, the consultant is expected to conduct a desk review of existing documents and literature on youth development financing in general, and financing youth employability and entrepreneurship in particular. The goal is to understand the existing and possible innovative approaches and their feasibility for ChildFund to access them across different countries and regions. This consultancy will involve three core deliverables:
- Mapping of innovative finance mechanisms for youth development. This will include:
- Identify trends and opportunities in impact investment in youth development and schemes for entrepreneurship
- Identifying entries for partnerships and synergies connecting the principles of USAID’s Positive Youth Development framework with the potential opportunities for collaboration within youth development
- Identify best practices being undertaken globally and locally within ChildFund’s countries of operation that, through cooperation (including south-south cooperation), can be adopted
- Mapping innovative financing tools for NGOs, highlighting best practices through case studies
- Mapping innovative finance for youth employability and entrepreneurship
- Review project CONFIO to identify strengths, weaknesses and areas of improvement from the lens of impact investment and entrepreneurship building.
- Identify innovative finance mechanisms for skills development, youth employability and entrepreneurship across both formal and informal sectors
- Assess and discuss these mechanisms’ feasibility, opportunities, and constraints within diverse national and regional contexts.
- Identify through stakeholder mapping the donor institutions and actors (private/public) that could be considered as potential donors for ChildFund’s program on youth development, skills training, youth employability and entrepreneurship, both through partnerships and/or other ways, including power and influence on youth development (including varying degrees of influence: social, political, financial, etc.)
- A comprehensive report on youth development and innovative financing
- The consultant is expected to produce a report (maximum 25 pages) that maps youth development, impact investment, innovative financing, and dovetails mechanisms for skills training, employability, and entrepreneurship. This will also include an assessment of the constraints and benefits of accessing such a financing mechanism.
- Provide recommendations (by global regions Africa, Americas and Asia) on diversifying revenue stream and possible structure of future programs supporting youth entrepreneurship globally, locally and regionally, based on lessons learned ChildFund projects and best practices.
Methodology and Data Sources
- Analysis of secondary literature and ChildFund’s reports and documents
- As needed, primary research (interviews) and consultation with individuals or organizations with experience or identified best practices on innovative financing.
Level of Effort and Assignment Timeframe
The consultant/supplier will be required to complete the proposed assignment within 25 days:
- Annotated outline, including documents reviewed or to be reviewed (3 days)
- Desk review research and analysis (5 days)
- Interviews with key individuals/staff, experts and ChildFund stakeholders to understand innovative financing mechanisms for NGOs (2 days)
- A comprehensive report on youth development and innovative financing – outlining current trends, gaps, best practices, new opportunities and recommendations (13 days)
- Final version of the report with comments from reviewers incorporated (2 days)