USAID’s Free Toolkit on Youth and Conflict

This toolkit is part of a series that explores how development assistance can address key risk factors associated with conflict. One area that is receiving increasing attention is the relationship between young people and violence. Recent studies have found a significant correlation between large youth cohorts and political instability and violence. A large pool of young people does not need to be destabilizing, however if young people — particularly young men — are uprooted, intolerant, jobless, and have few opportunities for positive engagement, they represent a ready pool of recruits for ethnic, religious, and political extremists seeking to mobilize violence.

The toolkits in this series explore individual risk factors in depth. They do not identify all relevant factors linked to violence. As such, they are designed to serve as companion pieces to conflict assessments. Conflict assessments provide a broad overview of destabilizing patterns and trends in a society.

Using the Conflict Assessment Framework, they sift through the many potential causes of conflict that exist and zero in on those that are most likely to lead to violence (or renewed violence) in a particular context. While they provide recommendations about how to make development and humanitarian assistance more responsive to conflict dynamics, they do not provide detailed guidance on how to design specific activities. The toolkits in this series are intended to fill that gap by moving from a diagnosis of the problem to a more detailed discussion of potential interventions. Together, the assessment framework and toolkits are designed to help Missions gain a deeper understanding of the forces driving violence, as well as to develop more strategic and focused interventions.

This document:

  • examines key issues related to youth participation in violence;
  • discusses lessons learned in developing programs for at-risk youth;
  • presents a range of program options; and
  • identifies relevant USAID mechanisms and implementing partners.

You can download this toolkit for free here.