Spark Report Website

ISDC Publishes Impact Assessment of Jobs Programme

Unemployment, particularly among youth, remains one of the primary challenges for economic development in the context of fragility. In areas affected by conflict, ongoing violence and instability can create significant risks for young women and men, preventing them from integrating into the labor market. To combat this, SPARK’s LEAD 2 program aims “to develop higher education and entrepreneurship to empower young, ambitious people to lead their conflict-affected societies into prosperity.” The programme focuses on job creation and development of entrepreneurs, aligning and connecting local labor demand and supply in Tunisia and Somalia/Somaliland.

Since 2022, ISDC’s Peacebuilding Research Program has been working on an evaluation of LEAD 2, and we are pleased to announce the official publication of the comprehensive report, ‘Impact Assessment: Evaluation of Jobs-Based Programming for Stability.‘ This report presents our findings on LEAD 2’s effects on new start-ups and existing SMEs, thereby assessing the efficacy of jobs-based programming in promoting stability and economic development in the region.

Key Findings:

  • The quantitative portion of our study revealed significant positive outcomes, indicating that the LEAD 2 intervention resulted in notable increases in employment opportunities and business registrations. Beneficiaries of the program exhibited a 16 percentage point increase in business ownership and a 10 percentage point increase in formal business registration, when compared to non-beneficiaries.
  • These effects were particularly evident among female and youth participants, demonstrating the program’s capacity to facilitate economic empowerment and entrepreneurship.
  • We also find positive effects of the training in reducing justification of violence, especially through improving economic outcomes, notably higher income.
  • The qualitative assessment underscored the program’s role in enhancing professional networks, improving job-matching capabilities, and fostering capacity-building within beneficiary and partner organizations.
  • Regarding impacts on social attitudes, it is noteworthy that a lesser desire to migrate abroad emerged as a dominant topic, particularly in Tunisia, while Somali respondents more strongly emphasized positive self-perception and community integration.

Overall, our findings paint a positive picture of LEAD 2’s impact, in line with its Theory of Change, and provide insights into the ways through which employment initiatives can impact stability and peace in conflict-affected areas.

We would like to thank SPARK and the Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs for their support in facilitating this evaluation.

You can find more information, including insights, and recommendations derived from our study in the full report.

Our Initiatives