The primary objective of this discussion paper is to triangulate the various monitoring and evaluation outputs of the YMF Project, in order to identify the most relevant lessons for sharing within the Plan International networks as well as the wider development community. This includes the data collected in the rolling baseline survey, the Most Significant Change Stories publication, the Financial Diaries research, the midterm and final evaluation reports, as well as the ongoing monitoring and evaluation quarterly and annual reports.
The content of the paper includes background on the YMF Project and an introduction to the objectives of the paper. A description of the YMF Project program pathway is outlined, including the major program components and the integrated approach adopted by the YMF Project. This is followed by an explanation of how the sequencing of project interventions has contributed to the social and economic empowerment of youth participants. The paper highlights what has been learned from the YMF Project about the ways in which selected youths with enhanced access to financial services have utilized informal, semi-formal, and formal financial services for their own wellbeing, as well as for the benefit of their households. The pilot initiative to link youth participants in the YMF Project with formal financial institutions is also examined. The paper further explores the contribution of the YMF Project to peer mentoring, and how the activities within the program pathway, namely the identification and development of community volunteers, peer educators, and youth advisory boards (YABs), has contributed to the harnessing of youth leadership. Finally, the last section highlights important lessons from the YMF Project and suggestions for improvements in future program design in order to continue the promotion of the social and economic empowerment of youth.