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Journeys to Success: Supporting Young People on the Move with Tech-enabled Solutions to Harness their Potential

With access to quality education and training, youth on the move will develop a sense of belonging, identity and purpose.

Photo of Kate Radford

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What problem does the idea help to solve and how does your solution work? (2,000 characters maximum)

Globally more than 70 million people are displaced, many driven from their homes by conflict and violence. The start of crisis is often the end of schooling. During crises and displacement, education and training create an environment where young people can develop a sense of purpose and identity. Young people on the move deserve new approaches to build the skills and connections to thrive in the face of the challenges of ongoing conflict and poverty. As large numbers of youth are out of school, and access is unpredictable, traditional education responses are no longer adequate. Technology plays an increasingly important role in the provision of learning in conflict and crisis. Technology can support a new approach to learning – from rigid, linear and risk-averse to agile networks of entrepreneurial, lifelong learners. Building off field-tested platforms, Journeys to Success (supported by Mercy Corps, Nethope, NRC and War Child) will develop a platform that empowers youth on the move globally with access to learning resources, enabling environments, and livelihoods opportunities. By platform we do not mean just a technical solution, but a modular ‘learning and work ecosystem’ that connects how young people learn and how they access economic opportunities, and encourages other entities with youth-appropriate support services to contribute to it. Journeys to Success will adapt and reuse existing and effective content and technologies, create new functionalities and content to meet the needs and leverage both established and emerging technologies. Journeys to Success provides: 1. Learning that is accessible to all youth — regardless of who they are, meeting them at their skill level wherever they are - on and offline; 2. Learning that provides skills that prepare youth to pursue what is meaningful to them. Putting youth at the center of this platform; 3. Learning that that sparks their interest; and 4. Economic opportunities that are meaningful and decent.

Geography of focus (500 characters)

We work in Uganda and Somalia. There are over 1.2 million refugees in Uganda, with nearly 90% aged 15-18 are out of school. Often refugees have dropped out of school before arrival. Once in Uganda, stigma and household responsibilities mean many do not return to school. Somalia has more than 1.5 million internally displaced. Many Somali youth drop out of school due to conflict or lack of funds. Assessments show youth have lost faith in the education system to provide relevant skills.

Building Bridges: What bridge does your idea build between people on the move and neighbors towards a shared future of stability and promise? (500 characters)

We envision the platform being a single, cohesive platform for every user (youth), teacher, parent and service provider, allowing bridges to be built between youth on the move and host community. It will include a community engagement element for communication between youth, peers and teachers for cross learning and community building. To deliver lasting impact, we’ll employ a human-centered approach including co-design with youth and iterative development for relevancy and adoption.

What human need is your idea solving for? (1,000 characters)

The start of crisis is often the end of schooling. In many contexts, it is because schools are destroyed during a disaster or youth must flee their homes. During crises and displacement, education and training play a key role in creating an environment where all young people can develop a sense of purpose, identity and belonging, gain livelihood skills and become positive agents of change. The lack of education undermines young peoples’ ability to obtain accurate information, discern danger or define realistic choices for their futures. Research conducted by UNICEF and IOM revealed that youth on the move who had higher levels of education had a reduced likelihood of exploitation during their journeys. Youth, who could be positive change agents in these conflict regions, are suffering from a growing sense of hopelessness. They yearn for access to opportunities to learn, earn a dignified livelihood and contribute to their communities.

What will be different within the community of focus as a result of implementing your idea? (1,000 characters)

The approach will increase access to quality, youth-friendly, tech-enabled educational opportunities that improve learning outcomes for 60,000 youth on the move from South Sudan to Uganda and from Kenya to Somalia. As a result, young people on the move will gain the relevant and transferable skills needed to improve livelihoods, increase prospects for employment, and positively contribute to society. Other key results include: 1. Young people on the move gain and apply relevant skills for improved education, economic, and social outcomes; 2. Young people are able to pursue individual transition pathways leading to further education or increased access to earning potential opportunities; and 3. Marginalized and vulnerable youth on the move have improved psycho-social well-being. This will be measured by youth satisfaction surveys and other evaluation methods.

What is the inspiration behind your idea? (1,000 characters)

Despite the challenges they face, the will, motivation, and talent of young people on the move represents a critical opportunity to develop alternatives for youth to build the skills and connections necessary to thrive in the face of the challenges of ongoing conflict and poverty. The economic divide, the sheer number of youth in the world, as well as the unprecedented migration of families across the Middle East, Europe, and Africa demands new thinking, innovative and scalable approaches and partnerships. And, more importantly, young people demand that we engage them. Youth across the globe want to be active participants in shaping safe and prosperous societies. They must be part of the solutions, from design through to implementation and evaluation.

Describe the dynamics of the community in which the idea is to be implemented. (1,000 characters)

There are over 1.2 billion young people aged 15-24 in the world, of which 85% live in developing and emerging economies, and in countries affected by conflict. Youth has long been a neglected, underserved and misunderstood population. Lack of knowledge and skills has a sustained impact on young peoples’ futures. Young people on the move are confronted with unprecedented social, economic and cultural shifts and challenges that impede their ability to contribute to growth and peaceful development. Youth, who could be positive change agents in these conflict regions, are suffering from a growing sense of hopelessness. They lack access to opportunities to learn, earn a dignified livelihood and contribute to their communities. The inability to complete their education and gain the skills needed for safe and productive work and the lack of safe and decent jobs available even if one does have the skills shapes self-worth and the perception of what is possible in the future.

How does your idea leverage and empower community strengths and assets to help create an environment for success? (1,000 characters)

Youth-centered design and agile development: We will employ a human-centered approach which includes co-design of solutions with out of school refugee, displaced and host community youth and iterative development. We will: 1. Engage a diverse team to co-design the solution including youth and expert support; 2. Define the problem and the context in which the problem exists; and 3. Pilot solutions fast and iterate with end-user feedback. We will seek super-users of youth who wish to maintain engagement by testing new components as they are created and help guide peers through the platform. We know localized and culturally specific skills, based on community and market demands, are more likely to set female and male youth up for success. Therefore, the program will engage gender- and age-specific youth segments to customize and complement platform content. Ongoing consultation with youth users will ensure content is relevant to their goals and is closely related to their experience.

What other partners or stakeholders will work alongside you in implementing the idea, if any? (1,000 characters)

Journeys to Success is a collective endeavour of Mercy Corps, Nethope, Norwegian Refugee Council and War Child Holland. The collective will partner with youth and engage with local communicaty groups and content providers to provide relevant learning opportunities for youth. The collective will leverage member organizations' wide network of private and public sector collaborators.

What part of the displacement journey is your solution addressing

  • Being on the move, crossing borders, and/or temporarily settled

Tell us how you'd describe the type of innovation you are proposing

  • Platform: Creating a community or market that facilitates interaction between users and resources

Idea Proposal Stage

  • Blueprint: We are exploring the idea and gathering the inspiration and information we need to test it with real users.

Group or Organization Name

A collective including Mercy Corps, Nethope, Norwegian Refugee Council and War Child Holland.

Tell us more about your group or organization [or lived experience as a displaced person?] (1000 characters)

Together we share a vision to develop a scalable model that offers youth on the move, affected by conflict, access to quality learning and livelihood opportunities. War Child focuses on enabling a peaceful future for children and youth affected by armed conflict. Their award winning Can’t Wait to Learn approach enables learning where there are not enough (or no) classrooms or teachers, The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) delivers high quality assistance to refugees and IDPs across 31 countries. A determined advocate for displaced people, NRC reached 628,386 displaced learners through its education interventions in 2017. As a global leader in reaching marginalized youth, Mercy Corps has helped 3.5 million crisis-affected youth aged 10-24 across 33 countries since 2010. Their Yes Youth Can! Program which mobilized 260,000 youth in 12,000 youth groups to reach 3 million youth in 25 counties. NetHope connects private sector expertise and technology resources with the humanitarian sector.

Website URL:

Type of submitter

  • We are a registered Non-Profit Organization

Organization Headquarters: Country

Mercy Corps and Nethope have their HQs in the United States. NRC is registered in Norway and War Child Holland in the Netherlands


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Photo of Kate Radford

Question for experts: Which technology companies (with experience working in conflict affected regions) might be interested in working with the team to support this initiative, either from a CSR or commercial perspective?

Photo of Isaac Jumba

Dear Kate Radford ,
Thanks for posting sharing with us the expert questions. Could you be able to provide the same information (the questions) on your submission form so it is easier for experts to see them under your idea and provide feedback?
To do this, click "Edit Contribution" at the top of your idea post, then scroll down to see and answer the first added question. This way, it is easier for experts to see the questions and provide feedback.

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