Increasing labour productivity, and reducing the unemployment rate, especially for young people, is an essential component of sustained and inclusive economic growth. All children should be considered stakeholders in economic activities, with an understanding of their potential and they need to be given information about work opportunities. Children, especially from marginalized groups, should be trained and supported to enter the labor market, to look after them, their rights, safety, development and education.
In 2017, 20 social ventures in our portfolio worked to reduce the proportion of youth without employment, education or training (SDG target 8.6). Here are two examples:
Sandra Kinnaman Nordström - Sweden (SDG target 8.6)
In Sweden, the amount of opportunities that are available to a child depends on the neighborhood he or she lives in. Studies show how the gap between children and youth from different areas continues to increase, affecting Swedish children and youth when it comes to gaps in education, health and quality of life - according to UNICEF. The Good Talents provide youth with their first opportunity to recognize and explore their talents, through leadership training, social entrepreneurship, and networking with mentors and professionals from companies, municipalities and civil society organizations.
Stoyana Stoeva & Maya Doneva - Bulgaria (SDG target 8.6)
Young people who have been institutionalized in Bulgaria have difficulties accessing the labor market. Social Teahouse provides a mentorship program, which helps institutionalized young people achieve personal and vocational development, many of them receiving their first job after the program.
children and youth were better equipped for adult life and entering the labour market, through interventions carried out by our social ventures in 2017.
of our social ventures felt that reporting to Reach for Change contributed considerably or greatly to learnings about their organization’s results and progress in 2017
Tracking outcome results helped Catalysts learn how to improve the effectiveness of their mentorship program
Only 65 % of youth from a minority background are in education or employed, compared to 86 % of ethnic Norwegian youth, and this has some serious societal repercussions. It has been estimated that moving one youth from a path of unemployment to employment, has a net value of 11.6 million NOK in savings for society. Social entrepreneur Lisa Cooper, and her organization Catalysts, offer a six-month mentoring and coaching program for youth from a minority background. The program’s goals are to help youths build up their self-esteem, since research shows that a higher self-esteem increases the probability of finishing school.
Before Lisa entered the Incubator she set targets and monitored results, but not in terms of impact. Lisa explains: “Many social entrepreneurs design phenomenal programs but only monitor progress around their activities and the number of people they reach, rather than collecting data around the outcomes of those programs. Before we entered the Incubator, Catalysts was also stuck in that ‘hole’ of too much focus on our activities.”
One of the first activities in our Incubator, is helping our social ventures map out the outcomes for children that they aim to achieve, and what indicators to use for monitoring the development.“When Reach for Change introduced how to measure our targeted outcomes, it hit me that these tools allowed me to bring the results-orientation I learnt from the private sector into my social business, and at some point I might even be able to say to potential funders that ‘We can guarantee you a 30 % return on your investment’.”
In Lisa’s view, Catalysts’ focus on impact and impact measurement has strengthened their fundraising efforts: “Few social entrepreneurs focus on impact measurement like we do, which makes us stand out.” Lisa also sees how the impact measurement has supported their learning and development: “Our quantitative impact assessment has allowed us to confirm many of our qualitative impact observations, but also to see where we need to tweak our method to maximize impact. For example, our work has shown that unaccompanied refugee minors have much lower self-esteem when they enter our program. Based on this insight, we are now extending their program from six to twelve months”
During 2017, Catalysts revenues close to doubled (from 150 000 to 295 000 USD), their number of paid staff increased from 2 to 5 and their pool of volunteering mentors expanded from 35 to 129. Furthermore they scaled their operations from 5 to 8 municipalities, in which they supported a total of 176 youth.
Impact measurements conducted during 2017 show that, among the 61 youth assessed, using the Rosenberg Self-esteem scale, the average self-esteem score increased from 21.53 to 23,28 (out of 30). Juan is one of the youths that has been positively impacted by Catalysts’ work.
“When Reach for Change introduced how to measure our targeted outcomes, it hit me that these tools allowed me to bring the results-orientation I learnt from the private sector into my social business"
Catalysts’ mentorship program paved the way to employment for Neba
Neba is from Iraq. She tried to complete her education in Norway, but dropped out of high school, as she was not able to handle the workload and language. She was later enrolled in a Catalysts partner mentorship program, which used a methodology based around the concept of appreciative inquiry, in order to put focus on what Neba did well. Neba felt that the program gave her a greater understanding of her strengths and resources, one of them being that she was good at working with children. With a more positive view of herself, and a new perspective on her opportunities, Neba saw education as a potential career path, and was eventually able to secure a half-time position at a school.
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