Global Opportunity Youth Network

The Global Youth Unemployment Challenge

We are experiencing the largest youth population in history – there are 1.8 billion young people living on the planet, of which 85% live in developing economies and in fragile states. Prior to the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 350 million global youth were unemployed and not in the education system. The vast majority of these young people live in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa and 4/5 of those unemployed are female. If the bleakest pandemic predictions are realized, not only will these vulnerable youth experience a tragic loss of human life in their communities, but their economies will contract, offering even fewer income earning opportunities and deepening levels of youth debt and poverty.

Despite several global campaigns to tackle youth unemployment, most youth employment programs  remain fragmented and small-scale, reaching only a fraction of the rapidly growing cohort of working-age youth in need of jobs and income. A new approach is needed.

The Global Opportunity Youth Network (GOYN) is a global initiative catalyzing systems shifts for youth opportunity in communities around the world through the creation of sustainable training, employment and income-earning pathways. We’re working to improve quality of life for “Opportunity Youth” — young people aged 15-29 who are out of school, unemployed, or working in informal jobs.

GOYN is a multi-stakeholder initiative anchored by The Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions with partners Prudential, Global Development Incubator, YouthBuild International, and Accenture.

Over the next five years, GOYN aims to:

  • Create a global network of GOYN communities working to create systems shifts to improve youth employment and life outcomes through cross-sector collaboration.
  • Partner with community leaders to achieve a 10% tipping point of change that directly creates access to at least 250,000 economic opportunities for opportunity youth.
  • Generate multi-million dollar philanthropic funds matched by country donors to scale sub-national systems interventions. Support communities to make a compelling business case for investment.
  • Build the global evidence base and drive adoption of digital platforms that have the potential to shift outcomes at greater scale. Support communities to access and build data and evidence to understand ‘what works’.
  • Engage Opportunity Youth in co-designing solutions in their communities and to reshape an asset-based framing of this generation of young people that underscores the systemic, rather than individual, nature of challenges youth face.

Learn more about the GOYN Communities and Anchor Partner Institutions.

Since it’s inception at a global youth employment leaders meeting in Bellagio in 2017, GOYN has engaged with 500+ stakeholders around the world including a diverse range of civil society actors, policymakers and government ministers, foundation leaders, investors, bi-laterals, and importantly, many inspiring opportunity youth. Many of you have supported GOYN already – from generously co-hosting workshops to participating in interviews and sharing research and data. Thank you for your support to date and for your continued engagement as GOYN begins to take shape around the world.
Jamie McAuliffe, GOYN