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Youth in Development

From Policy to Practice.

Promoting development with and by  young people – not just for  young people – has never been more acutely needed. The world is currently home to the largest generation of youth ever, most of whom live in developing countries. Young people constitute an enormous development potential, and meaningful inclusion of youth is key to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. However, development practitioners are often faced with the difficult task of how to incorporate youth into programmes, instruments and day-to-day activities; how to move from policy to practice.

These pages contain programme management tools and guidance notes for increased youth mainstreaming. The tools and guidance notes are developed by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) to be used as inspiration when designing, implementing and evaluating development engagements.

The tools and guidance notes are:

  • Developed for Danida practitioners at HQ, programme staff at embassies, strategic CSO partners, implementing partners and consultants
  • Designed as stand-alone tools and notes rather than chapters in a comprehensive handbook
  • Designed to align with the Danish Aid Management Guidelines (AMG).

Please note that the tools and guidance notes shown on these pages are non-exhaustive and do not cover all development aspects related to youth. The documents are living documents and will be updated and gradually expanded. Please also note that the MFA does not accept responsibility for the content of the external documents referred to. 


The tools and guidance notes are grouped into three categories:


1. Justification and definition

  • Why youth? Overall justification of an increased youth focus in Danish development cooperation and humanitarian actions
  • Youthhood – defining youth presents a conceptualisation of the heterogeneity and diversity of youth as well as practical tools for defining a youth target group.

2. Programme management tools

  • Youth situational analysis provides guidance on how to integrate a youth lens into the context analysis conducted as part of programme formulation
  • Youth indicators provide a sample of standard outcome indicators for transformative youth development
  • Youth engagement by embassies provides guidance and inspiration for enhancing the youth focus in existing programmes and development engagements by presenting a list of initiatives to engage actively with youth in existing programmes
  • Youth sounding boards are a way of engaging actively with youth in programme formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation to get guidance and concrete inspiration for implementation.

3. Sector-specific thematic guidance
Consists of separate guidance notes on the four areas:

  • Governance
  • Growth & employment
  • Social sectors
  • Peace & security.

Specifically for guidance notes: Each guidance note contains a narrative on the relevance of a sector-specific youth focus, a generic meta-level theory of change illustrating the key features and causalities within a results chain for youth engagement and a youth assessment tool, which describes some of the common and overall hindering and enabling factors for youth engagement in the specific sector. In addition, each note contains a list of guiding questions to include in the youth-focused context analysis.

(Published: 12 July 2019)

Figure Youth in development


In case of questions, please contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Global Youth Advisor at [email protected]


Download full document (in English) here

Download full document (in French) here