Partnerships with Youth in Action Create Opportunity for Youth Worldwide


Nine young women in the Bahr El-Baqar village in Sharqia, northern Egypt have been told all their lives that being an entrepreneur, as a woman, is impossible. Overcoming gender biases in their community to become successful women is extremely difficult for them in the patriarchal culture.

Mohammad, a teenage young man in Egypt, has grown up in a situation that requires him to provide for his family. He has not been in school since age 12. His dream has always been to become a carpenter, but without the proper education, he has been unable to realize his goal.

Mohammad and these young women have something in common. They needed a helping hand and Youth in Action provided it.

Youth in Action is a project funded by Save the Children Canada in partnership with Mastercard Foundation. Their aim is to improve the lives of 40,000 kids in Egypt, Malawi, Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, and Uganda. To do so, interested youth go through a selection process to determine if the program is a good fit and if it will help them reach their goals. Once selected, they complete a 10-month program that provides them with opportunities they may not have otherwise had access to: they learn basic academic skills and choose a “pathway” or an ideal career that they would like to have. The program helps youth get connected with local business owners to gain employment. In addition, youth receive a small stipend to help with any business they choose to start.

The Youth in Action program helped these nine young women to create, write, and edit their first magazine, She Can Do. and distribute it to people in their community. They interviewed a woman named Amira who is both a wife and a business owner. She showed them that it is possible to be both in a community where being a wife tends to be the primary responsibility of women.

Through Youth in Action, they were able to explore their shared passion for writing while being entrepreneurs in the process. They learned ways women can become involved in their communities and discussed how being young entrepreneurs has impacted them.

Mohammad was supported by Youth in Action as he began an apprenticeship with local construction contractors. He also received a stipend to start his own business someday. Youth in Action helped increase his literacy, writing, and financial skills that will help him later in life.

In order to ensure that their program would succeed in providing life-changing opportunities for these youth, Youth in Action partnered with Search Institute. Search Institute became involved with Youth in Action through collecting and analyzing data about positive experiences that allow youth to succeed in the program throughout the five countries where Youth in Action is active. They collected this data through our Developmental Assets Profile (DAP) survey. By utilizing the DAP survey, they were able to measure what is happening under the surface with the youth.

In order to administer the survey, Search Institute translated the DAP survey into five main languages and numerous local languages, adjusting the survey for cultural differences in each country so the questions being asked made cultural sense to the youth and  YiA could collect accurate data. Most of the youth don’t have the ability to read or write, so the questions were verbally administered by trained professionals.

Search Institute’s ability to make their research easily understood and applicable across worldwide and across cultural boundaries lines makes us unique. Without the aid of Search Institute’s research, young people like Mohammed or the women from Bahr El-Baqar wouldn’t have been properly helped by organizations like Youth in Action. Search Institute’s research opens the doors of opportunity for youth worldwide.