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February 24, 2024

Impact Report: Positive increase in youth and women employment, reduction in desire to migrate

The International Security and Development Center conducted an Impact Assessment of one of SPARK’s programmes (LEAD 2) in Tunisia and Somalia/Somaliland. The report presents significant positive outcomes, indicating that the LEAD 2 intervention resulted in notable increases in employment opportunities and business registrations, particularly among women and youth.

Unemployment, particularly among youth, remains one of the primary challenges for economic development in the context of fragility. In areas affected by conflict, ongoing violence and instability can create significant risks for young women and men, preventing them from integrating into the labour market.

Since 2022, the International Security and Development Center‘s (ISDC) Peacebuilding Research Program has been evaluating the impact of one of SPARK’s programmes, Local Employment in Africa for Development (LEAD 2), financed by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. LEAD 2 focuses on job creation and the development of entrepreneurs, aligning and connecting local labour demand and supply in Tunisia and Somalia/Somaliland.

The comprehensive report, ‘Impact Assessment: Evaluation of Jobs-Based Programming for Stability’ presents the academic institutions’ findings on LEAD 2’s effects on new start-ups and existing SMEs, thereby assessing the efficacy of jobs-based programming in promoting stability and economic development in the region.

Key Findings:

  • The quantitative portion of the study revealed significant positive outcomes, indicating that the LEAD 2 intervention resulted in notable increases in employment opportunities and business registrations. Participants of the programme exhibited a 16% increase in business ownership and a 10% increase in formal business registration, when compared to non-participants.
  • These effects were particularly evident among female and youth participants, demonstrating the programme’s capacity to facilitate economic empowerment and entrepreneurship.
  • We also find positive effects of the training in reducing justification of violence, especially through improving economic outcomes, notably higher income.
  • The qualitative assessment underscored the programme’s role in enhancing professional networks, improving job-matching capabilities, and fostering capacity-building within participant and partner organisations.
  • Regarding impacts on social attitudes, it is noteworthy that a lesser desire to migrate abroad emerged as a dominant topic, particularly in Tunisia, while Somali respondents more strongly emphasised positive self-perception and community integration.

Overall, the findings paint a positive picture of LEAD 2’s impact, in line with SPARK’s Theory of Change, and provide insights into the ways through which employment initiatives can impact stability and peace in conflict-affected areas.