On 7 October 2015, Prospects’ Program Manager, Chris Maclay, presented at the Making Cents Youth Economic Opportunities Summit in Washington, D.C., on the topic ‘What does a Boutique Gym have in common with a Youth Employment Program?’ The Summit brings together over 460 key decision makers from 70 countries with the end goal of increasing the impact, scale and sustainability of youth economic opportunities programing, policies and partnerships. Chris was presenting on Prospects’ unique approach to managing complexity in in its Employment and Entrepreneurship Program. In the presentation, he outlined how we need to move away from linear approaches to youth programming, to recognize the complexity of working with a heterogenous youth population, with diverse needs and ambitions, and mixed livelihoods. He recognized that the sector’s management structures (based around output monitoring and baseline/endline surveys) are poorly equipped to deal with this complexity, and we need a system which allows us to manage more adaptively. Inspired by the information management systems employed by his mum’s gym in London, Chris outlined how Prospects has replicated the model on its Employment and Entrepreneurship Program in Liberia, using a case management approach to consistently improve the quality of service delivery to better respond to the needs of beneficiaries (or as he explains, ‘customers’) and to achieve maximum impact. You can see a recording of the presentation below:
Mercy Corps will be writing up a learning paper on this management and M&E system soon – watch this space!