September 10, 2013

SPARK to Host Expert Meeting


SPARK, in cooperation with the Clingendael Institute and the Knowledge Platform Security & Rule of Law, will be holding  its annual expert meeting on;

Youth Entrepreneurship Development in Conflict Affected Environments

Wednesday, September 18th 2013.

Theories of change, linking youth entrepreneurship development to peace, encounter a number of dilemmas.  The purpose of the expert meeting is to discuss these dilemmas and jointly develop practical approaches for addressing them.   The event will bring together experts in the field of youth entrepreneurship development in conflict affected environments  as well as development practitioners, private sector representatives, policy makers, academics and entrepreneurs.

SPARK shares the belief that the creation of economic opportunities for young women and men in conflict affected environments can contribute to social cohesion and peace.  Lessons learnt in its various programmes in different post-conflict regions add to the growing evidence that youth entrepreneurship can act as a driver of trust within local communities and   legitimacy for governments.

The expert meeting will address two key dilemmas:

  • Dilemma 1: Who are the (future) entrepreneurs who bear the most potential for economic success?

The targeting rationales are generally linked to either stability concerns or development goals. The most commonly targeted groups for economic development in the immediate aftermath of conflict include the poorest sections of society, women, marginalised groups, youth, and ex-combatants. With low performance rates of microenterprises (WDR 2013; IFC 2013), programmes in FCAS that select entrepreneurs based on their potential contribution to economic development and entrepreneurial ability may be more efficient vehicles for addressing conflict and peacebuilding challenges.  Nevertheless, a narrow interpretation of ‘potential’ based on conventional business skills or formal qualifications may overlook other more dynamic measures found in an FCAS environment; and not all conventional entrepreneurial characteristics will be as relevant in FCAS. Consequently, there is scope to look further into precisely how ‘potential’ is defined.

  • Dilemma 2: Linking QIPs to long-term economic development strategy.  How can much needed “quick win” interventions for youth, in the immediate aftermath of violent conflict, be linked to sustainable and inclusive private sector development?

QIPs are often associated with the type of short-term stabilisation described in the first of three tracks in the UN Policy framework on Post-Conflict Employment Creation, Job Creation and Reintegration (2009) (See Figure 1).  This policy represents the UN’s effort to systematise and facilitate a smooth transition from short- to long-term interventions. Whilst the Policy aims to be sustainable, there is a risk that activities within each of the three tracks may be concomitant without necessarily being congruent.  For example, by selecting target groups for short-term employment programmes without anticipating how these groups – upon completion of those programmes – could apply their (newly acquired) skills in more longer-term economic recovery interventions.  Aligning QIPs with an immediate ‘stabilisation’ goal with long-term economic development remains a challenge for many practitioners.

For more information about the event visit our event listing here