Youth unemployment is a key development and social challenge in fragile places. Not only does fragility harm opportunities within, but high numbers of idle young people can contribute to fragility. To overcome this concern, SPARK has implemented the LEAD 2 program in Somalia and Tunisia – a program designed to help young entrepreneurs to start and grow their businesses, in the hope that they can contribute positively (economically and socially) to the reconstruction of their societies.
This research project tests the extent to which LEAD 2 has contributed to creating economic and social gains for its beneficiaries. To do so, we quantitatively measure the economic activity of participants in the LEAD 2 program and compare these outcomes to individuals who wished to participate in the program but were not selected to do so. We measure social outcomes using vignette experiments, which test the extent to which individuals accept of sanction various forms of violence, specifically focusing on violence carried out for different motives. Through this work, we seek to understand the extent to which SPARK’s programming has contributed to the employment and social outcomes of the project beneficiaries; to test the extent to which it is possible to support entrepreneurs and business owners in fragile environments where their businesses face significant challenges, beyond those faced, even, in non-fragile development scenarios; and to contribute important new research and insight to broader debates regarding the extent to which employment programming can contribute to social stability and peace.
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