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Youth Situational Analysis

Programme Management Tool

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Young people constitute a significant proportion of the population in the developing countries, but their lived lives and living conditions differ widely from the rest of the population. In the process of developing country policy papers and thematic programmes, it is therefore important to employ a proper youth situational analysis to ensure a youth perspective and sufficient information about youth related issues are taken into consideration. For an example of a youth analysis please refer to USAIDs Cross-Sectoral Youth Assessment Situational Analysis for Ethiopia1.

The MFA Aid Management Guidelines (AMG) templates for the formulation of projects and programmes include a template for context analysis (Annex 1) which includes a brief section on youth. The below material is supplementary to the AMG.

Youth participation
A recommended approach to ensuring a youth perspective in the analysis is by consulting youth and actively involving young people in conducting the analysis. Consultations with a representative group of youth3 will often be in the form of focus group interviews whereas youth involvement can be ensured by engaging existing youth organisations/movements as lead for the analysis or by including graduate students or members of youth advisory/sounding boards in the expert team conducting the analysis.

Youth consultation and involvement will among other things facilitate:
• Bridging gaps between different generations’ assessment of priorities
• Youth perspectives included in analysis and validation of findings
• Empowerment/capacity building of youth who will acquire new skills and an improved understanding of their own context.

Perspectives supporting a youth situational analysis
The following format represents a non-exhaustive list of questions which can help establish a contextual understanding of the national policy framework for youth and the main needs, priorities and perspectives of youth. Please note that the questions are for inspiration only – they will need to be contextualised and possibly rephrased to enable young people to take active part or lead in the analysis.

Prior to conducting a youth situational analysis, it is appropriate to explore the opportunity of a joint donor analysis, as other donor agencies (e.g. EU, USAID and World Bank 2) may be conducting similar analyses.

The below questions should be combined with questions for a more detailed thematic youth situational analysis under the thematic areas: Growth and Employment, Governance, Social Sectors, and Peace and Security.


Information based on desk studies and key informant interviews


  • What is the national age span for youth?


  • How is youth generally viewed in society (e.g. as an opportunity, a challenge or a threat)?


  • Has a national youth assessment been conducted recently? If yes, what are the main findings relevant to the embassy’s engagements?


  • Is there a National Youth Policy2? If yes, how was it developed and how effective is it?


  • Are there any other laws or policies of particular relevance to youth, and what structures exist to implement/enforce these laws and/or policies?


  • What are the main national youth platforms? Are they regarded as representative of youth and do they have regional/local representation?


  • Are any larger youth programs currently being implemented by government or donor agencies? If yes, what are the main areas/targets of relevance to the embassy’s engagements?


Information based on focus group interviews with youth



  • Who are the youth in the specific country/geographical area; i.e. what unifies/diversify youth?


  • What are your dreams and aspirations?


  • What key challenges do you face in daily life?


  • What do you think are the root causes of dissatisfaction amongst some youth?


  • Do you generally have a positive sense of identity and a positive attitude towards your future prospects?                


    Education and livelihoods:


  • What opportunities are there for you to get an education/develop skills/earn money?


  • What challenges, if any, do you face to get an education/develop skills/earn money?


  • What influences (positively or negatively) your abilities to realise your aspirations within education and the labour market (probe participants to consider influencers from micro level (peers, family members etc.) to community level influences and the broader macro-level structures and systems.                




  • What influences your abilities to be healthy (e.g., risky personal decision-making, peer pressure, availability/lack of family support, availability/lack of health facilities, medications, youth friendly services etc.)?                


    Civic engagement:


  • What are the main youth led organisations in your area?


  • What opportunities exist at the community level for you to engage in civic activities (e.g., youth forums or advisory councils)? What opportunities exist at the national level (e.g., national youth policies, youth parliamentarians.)?


  • What influences (positively or negatively) your abilities to engage in youth organisations/civic activities?

1 The report contains detailed information on the methodology and the protocol for focus group interviews and key informant interviews (annex 3-7 pp. 48 -75).

2The World Bank conducts Systematic Country Diagnostics ahead of their overall country programming. These should be done with stakeholders and identify what are the overall development challenges for the specific country. These are good opportunities to apply a joint youth context analyisis.

3Approximately 50% of countries worldwide have a national youth policy. Analysis of a wide range of youth policies can be found here. In addition, short factsheets (2013) on the situation of youth policies and youth participation in decision-making in 198 countries can be found here.

4 Representativeness can be achieved by consulting a sample of young people (with an equal composition in terms of gender, age, social situation, etc.) within

the specific thematic and/or geographical areas of action covered by the country policy paper/thematic programme.



Ministry of Foreign Affairs


2 Asiatisk Plads

DK-1448 Copenhagen K


Tel. +45 33 92 00 00


In case of questions, please contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Global Youth Advisor, Thomas Rudebeck Eilertzen (