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USAID West Bank Youth Cohort Study: Project Updates as of January 2018
The USAID West Bank Youth Cohort Study is an 18-month panel study of youth 15-29 years old living in the West Bank who have interacted with USAID-supported Youth Development Resource Centers (YDRC) in numerous locations around the West Bank. The project examines factors that contribute to participants' changes in employment, income, health, and attitudes toward violence. The research also includes capacity assessments of the YDRCs, and, together with the cohort data, will generate information that assists in future decision making about youth development policy in the region.
In August 2017, the research team completed baseline data collection, administering a quantitative survey to YDRC participants and members of their households and reporting findings, conclusions, and recommendations based on survey results. The baseline Capacity Study was also completed through the administration of semi-structured interviews with YDRC affiliates.
Demographically, the cohort sample is three quarters female, and youth are close to evenly split between urban and rural areas. Average youth age is 21 years, and in general, the cohort is very well educated. Key findings and conclusions as extracted from the baseline report are listed below, and are relevant to the eleven research questions the study aims to answer:
Youth Cohort Study Baseline Findings Summary
Employment: Most youth in the cohort report being unemployed, primarily due to being currently enrolled in school. Gender-related constraints to labor market entry are present, with women being less likely to have work experience than their male counterparts. Income and savings: Overall, employed youth are earning income on par with average wages in the West Bank and Gaza (mean of 448 USD per month), and a minority of youth are saving. Employability: Youth generally view themselves as highly employable with strong work-readiness skills due to their enrollment in education and training. Attitudes towards violence: The vast majority of youth characterized themselves as non-violent and consistently chose non-violent solutions to conflicts. Both youth and household members cite intrinsic personality traits as the source of motivation for acting nonviolently. Community engagement: Youth claim to be actively engaged in their communities, though less involved in groups at the national or regional level. Attendance to family responsibilities was cited as a common form of engagement by both youth and household members. Self-efficacy: Youth have a high degree of self-efficacy, which is affirmed by the perspective of household members. Male youth tended to rank themselves in the highest self-efficacy categories with greater frequency than female respondents, indicating a gender gap in assessment of aptitude or performance. Demand and perception of YDRCs: YDRCs are very popular among respondents, with both youth and household members communicating every positive reviews of the centers.
Capacity Study Baseline Findings Summary
Relevant and quality services: Interviewees from the five YDRCs agreed that the developmental training programs were relevant to topics youth are interested in and are delivered with good quality Institutional capacity: While YDRC service delivery and communications operations are functional, strategic planning, available funding, and monitoring and evaluation systems are insufficient or ineffective. Cost per participant: The overall cost per participant for all five YDRCs over this period is 34 USD
Currently, midline data collection activities are scheduled to continue through the end of January 2018, at which point the research team will analyze and report on findings and triangulate them with results from the baseline data collection effort. The goal of the study remains to help understand the extent to which USAID support has increased the YDRCs’ ability to provide relevant, quality services to youth, and ultimately, to improve employment and education outcomes for 18-25-year olds throughout the West Bank.