2020 Global Youth Economic Opportunities (GYEO) Summit
“Re-Imagining Youth Economic Opportunity in a Post COVID-19 World”
2020 GYEO Summit Pivot to Virtual Engagement
In just a few months, the coronavirus pandemic had demonstrated the fragility of our social and economic systems, especially for young people. Yet the crisis had also demonstrated the resilience of youth and created new pathways to meet their livelihood goals. Youth economic opportunity practitioners, funders, and youth leaders met these challenges and navigating this changing landscape, adapting their activities in the short term to support resilience, and considered how to build stronger systems in the future to support youth social and economic inclusion.
In the past the GYEO Summit was an event for attendees to share best practices and develop new ones. However, 2020 required a different type of gathering: one that was ongoing as the crisis unfolded, convened expert and youth voices to better understand the current situations, and curated conversations and resources to provide our community with guidance for the future. This 2020 summit also needed to connect stakeholders who are working to respond to the crisis by providing support for cross-sector coordination. In 2020 we elevated stories of partners who are collaborating in innovating ways, and helped to gather and share critical information, tools, and ideas for supporting youth economic opportunities now, and after the pandemic.
Making Cents International changed the format of our annual GYEO Summit to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak from an in-person gathering to a dynamic virtual platform that engaged stakeholders in an ongoing conversation between April and September 2020.
We convened a series of seven online activities that followed our GYEO Summit’s updated technical tracks. The online activities used a variety of formats to:
Explore the immediate impacts of COVID-19: what the pandemic has meant for young people and how have our organizations responded;
Reflect on how what we are learning can inform a future “road map” for building more resilient systems for youth economic opportunity in a post-COVID-19 world;
Collaborate with thought leaders and key stakeholders to coordinate and curate content, reducing overlap and duplication.
Alongside our virtual engagement, our team worked with partners to develop, curate and share related thematic content for the GYEO community.
On Thursday, April 30 we jump-started the conversation with a GYEO Virtual “Town Hall” that brought nearly 300 attendees together with thought leaders from across our community to offer their insights on the impact of COVID-19 on youth economic opportunities. Speakers and discussants represented funders and policymakers, international implementing organizations, private industry, global youth networks, and young leaders. Together we explored:
The immediate impacts of COVID-19: what this has meant for young people and how our organizations have pivoted;
How what we learn now can inform a future “road map” for building more resilient systems for youth economic opportunity in a post-COVID-19 world.
The wide-ranging discussion surfaced key themes and topics that we explored in greater depth in the months after through online engagement, curated content, and newsletters designed to share information, learning, and opportunities for collaboration as our community worked to respond and rebuild.
2020 GYEO Activities
A kick-off event on Thursday, April 30, 2020 launched the GYEO Virtual-Series. The dialogue brought together thought leaders from across our community and provided an open space for information sharing and discussion that surfaced critical issues related to the impact of COVID-19 on youth economic opportunities.
From June through October five online gatherings reflected the GYEO technical tracks on skill-building, workforce readiness, self-employment and entrepreneurship, and cross-cutting issues (e.g., gender, conflict, policy, etc). The forums were followed by a week of deep-dive thematic content including live or pre-recorded videos by GYEO partners, and related information sharing online and via our newsletter.
A body of resources and information, linked to each online learning event, generated by our GYEO community and curated by the GYEO team. To explore these resources, please visit each Summit track session page.
Monthly newsletters highlighting relevant content and voices from the field, and a dedicated COVID-19 response page on youtheosummit.org, to help community-members find the most relevant resources to inform their immediate response and influence future plans.
Summit Technical Tracks
In just a few months, the coronavirus pandemic demonstrated the fragility of our social and economic systems, especially for young people. Yet the crisis also highlighted the resilience of youth and created new pathways to meet their livelihood goals. Youth economic opportunity practitioners, funders, and youth leaders are trying to make sense of this changing landscape, adapt their activities in the short- term to support resilience, and consider how to build stronger systems to support youth social and economic inclusion in the future.
To respond to the impact of COVID-19 on the youth development and economic opportunity sector, we invite you to develop proposals that speak to the challenges, lessons, and opportunities you are experiencing during this time.
Proposals should connect directly to one of the four technical tracks (click on the links below to learn more), but speak to the overarching theme of the 2020 GYEO Summit. As you develop your proposals, we invite you to consider one or more of the following questions.
In what ways have our systems failed young people and how have they supported youth during this global crisis?
What have you, your organization or industry learned as you adapted to the impacts of the pandemic? (e.g., what tools have you used? What partnerships and relationships have been most valuable and why? What lessons in innovation will you apply to future youth economic opportunities programs, policies, or investments)?
The informal or self-employed workforce is bearing the brunt of the economic fallout from the pandemic. What lessons have we learned to inform how we prepare youth for self-employment and entrepreneurship? What systems are needed to support this workforce against the next global pandemic or economic shock?
As global conversations shift from a focus on rapid economic growth to one of rebuilding after the pandemic, how are we preparing young people for that new economy? How do we ensure youth have the skills, access and resources to not just participate but help rebuild our global economy? What industries will represent opportunity and demand? And how do we avoid deepening inequality among young people in the rush to rebuild our global economy?
As we rebuild, how can we better protect young people against economic, social, and environmental shocks? What have been the most immediate impacts on the youth populations where you work? What are some specific ways young people’s experiences with the COVID-19 pandemic will inform how you design, implement, and evaluate your programs in the future?
While COVID-19 affects us all, the impact it has on at-risk and vulnerable youth (e.g., gender, disability, refugee and IDP populations, youth in conflict settings) is far greater. If your organization serves vulnerable youth populations, what specific lessons or insights from the COVID-19 pandemic should inform how we implement programs, design funding and policies, and/or engage youth?
What are you hearing and learning from young people in your programs or global networks about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their day-to-day lives? What concerns or hopes are they raising, and in way are young people themselves responding as leaders to the impact of the crisis in their communities?