Design principles describe the most important elements that guide how and what we design.
For the Youth Empowerment Challenge, we have six design principles that all of our solutions to the challenge question should keep in mind:
DESIGN FOR GENDER EQUALITY AND INCLUSION
Women and girls bear the burdens of poverty disproportionately and the labour market is no exception. Cultural norms, social stigma and discrimination impact the ability of young women to fully participate in the workforce. Those with physical and mental disabilities may also face similar obstacles. As we consider ways to expand economic opportunities for youth, let’s ensure our solutions include the perspectives of women, girls and other marginalized groups, respond to their needs and involve them in the process of implementation.
YOUTH AS CHANGE AGENTS
At it’s heart, the human-centered design process empowers people to be their own agents of change. This challenge is no exception. We know that young people throughout East Africa are already working on thousands of initiatives to empower themselves and others. As we develop solutions, let’s remember to keep young people at the centre, not only as the recipients of programs and services, but as the creators of them.
SKILLS THAT MATCH MARKETS
Meaningful economic participation requires a relationship between the skills developed by young people and market demands. It also requires the interpersonal skills that allow one to thrive in working relationships with others. Let’s make sure that we are equipping young people with the hard and soft skills necessary to respond to opportunities and gaps in local markets.
DESIGN FOR TRANSITIONS
Impactful training programs facilitate the ability of young people to participate in the economic system. That often involves a constellation of other supports and services. While one implementer or organization may not be able to provide all of these supports, it’s important to consider the many inputs that contribute to successful transitions – and to draw upon existing resources to set youths up for the best possible outcomes.
DESIGN FOR LONG-TERM SAFETY AND SECURITY
Not all jobs are created equal. As we think of ways to give young people a foothold in the labour market, at a minimum, let’s ensure that the opportunities we are setting them up for today provide a safe environment to gain skills. And let’s keep the long view in mind – our ideas should aim towards a future where jobs for young people provide gateways to a secure livelihood, learning, growth and new opportunities.