PRO-Jeunes: Boosting (Self-) Employment for Youth in Ivory Coast and the Impact of Socio-Emotional Skills Training, Information and Norms

Due to years of forced idleness, most youth in Ivory Coast lack the skills, knowledge, and resources to grasp employment opportunities, while private sector partners struggle to find suitably trained employees and entrepreneurs. The PRO-Jeunes project aims to provide business and employment readiness services to a total of 10,000 disadvantaged youth over the course of five years. The youth targeted in the program are particularly vulnerable: they are economically disadvantaged, hard-to-reach young people ages 15-24 years in rural and urban Ivory Coast. 

The project’s blended learning approach, which encompasses foundational skills training, coaching and peer support through an e-learning platform and social media tools, along with in-person coaching and mentoring, is a first in Ivory Coast. The beneficiaries use tablets to access an e-platform of successfully-tested curricula on entrepreneurship, life skills, and financial management. Coaches guide youth through the curricula at an individualized pace. Following this foundational skills training, youth will search for employment, start-up businesses or participate in vocational training developed in partnership with selected industry leads, while continuing to receive coaching, peer support, and business mentoring. 

The goal of this study is to estimate the impact of two variations of the foundational skills training delivered under the PRO-Jeunes program and their combinations with incentives for women to cross over into male-dominated sectors, and strategies to reduce information gaps (about own aptitudes and employment opportunities). One version of the curriculum will focus on strengthening inter-personal skills like communications and negotiations, while the other version will focus on intra-personal skills like goal-setting and self-esteem. In addition, a randomly selected group of women participants will see a role model/ norm change intervention video while others will not.

The Airbel Impact Lab at IRC is a team of researchers, strategists and innovators committed to the accelerated design, rigorous evaluation and cost-effective scaling of the most impactful solutions supporting people affected by crisis.