We undertake research and mobilize knowledge in order to improve the effectiveness, impact and sustainability of youth-serving programs from Silatech and others, facilitate the upscaling of successful initiatives, and identify and advocate for policy changes that improve youth economic outcomes.
Innovative, evidence-based programming and policymaking are essential to addressing the Arab youth employment challenge. Silatech’s Research and Policy Unit works in close collaboration with Silatech’s program units to provide information that can be used to improve program design and enhance impact. The Research and Policy Unit also mobilizes and disseminates knowledge in order to highlight innovative thinking and promote best practices in expanding economic opportunities for Arab youth. Finally, the Unit informs policy and engages in advocacy efforts that aim to improve the employment prospects of Arab youth.
In line with these efforts, Silatech’s Research and Policy Unit comprises three key program areas: Research, Knowledge, and Policy.
Silatech engages in applied research that results in more effective program activities by Silatech and partner organizations, and that aims to inform policy engagement activities on job creation and youth economic inclusion. Most of the research output is produced for internal consumption, but some products can be accessed online at http://www.silatech.com/home/publications.
Research program activities center on three main areas:
Informing program design: Silatech research supports the design of innovative approaches to addressing the youth employment challenge. This include producing baseline surveys and country reports to inform program development; providing useful analysis to partner financial institutions on new market opportunities that result in greater youth financial inclusion; and, introducing new design features on existing products and services that can enhance youth employment outcomes.
Informing program impact: Silatech supports impact evaluations of its programs and those of partner organizations, in order to identify which solutions work best and which may require redesign. Impact evaluations are typically embedded into the design of new projects and are often designed to provide rapid feedback on the effectives of the interventions.
Informing policy programming: Silatech undertakes research to inform policy development in target countries, focusing mainly on improving the business climate and promoting job creation. This research uses data from a variety of sources to help triangulate policies that have the greatest potential for impact, including data on entrepreneurial activity, on entrepreneurship ecosystems, on the regulatory environment in which firms operate, and on countries’ financial infrastructure.
There is a lack of evidence-based policy making in the Arab region as a result of insufficient understanding of the policy making process, a lack of channels for research to inform the policymaking process, and a lack of actionable policy alternatives at the disposal of policy makers. The Policy track uses evidence produced by Silatech and others to inform policy making, and to support the identification, replication and scaling up of successful youth programming throughout the region.
Policy track activities center on three main areas:
Silatech programmatic support: The Policy track supports Silatech’s program units by undertaking a mapping of stakeholders and policies related to youth employment and private sector development in focus countries. It also helps engage policymakers on behalf of Silatech’s program unit in efforts to mainstream or scale up successful initiatives.
Innovation-to-scaleup: Silatech works hard to develop successful youth employment initiatives and champion successful initiatives developed by others. In order to achieve wider impact, the Policy track works to encourage the replication and scale up of initiatives that have been shown to be successful. It does this through its publications and through policy workshops, roundtables and conferences (e.g., www.aye2013.org and www.aye2015.org).
Research-to-policy: Silatech produces research and mobilizes knowledge to inform policy and programming. The Policy track translates this knowledge into evidence that is used to support policy advocacy related to youth employment and enterprise development across the region. Special focus is giving to supporting governments wishing to develop national youth employment strategies and mainstream the youth agenda into national development plans.
The Knowledge track provides thought leadership, builds evidence on what works, and develops knowledge platforms that, together, enable Silatech and other youth-serving organizations to design more effective programs and formulate sound policies aimed at improving employment opportunities for Arab youth.
Knowledge track activities center on three main areas:
Thought leadership: Silatech engages leading scholars and practitioners in an effort to stimulate forward thinking on issues of youth economic inclusion, and to create new knowledge informing thinking around the issues of youth employment and economic inclusion in the Arab world. Some knowledge outputs may be accessed online at: http://www.silatech.com/home/publications
Building evidence: Silatech is committed to building and disseminating evidence on the impact and effectiveness of innovative approaches to youth employment. As part of this effort, Silatech has supported the International Labour Organization’s Taqeem Initiative, whichworks to enhance the capacity of youth-serving organizations in the region to monitor and evaluate impact, building evidence of program effectiveness and ensuring a growing culture of evidence-based learning.
Knowledge Platforms: Silatech facilitates cooperative knowledge exchange among stakeholders in the youth space and helps build coalitions able to effect positive changes in youth employment. For example, with support from IDRC, Silatech launched the Arab Youth Policy Research Initiative (AYPRI), which brings together a growing network of young Arab researchers and policy advocates, providing them with training and creating space for joint action.