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Section 3. Identifying Strategies and Tactics for Reducing Risks

Tool #1: Supporting Youth at Risk: A Policy Toolkit for Middle-Income Countries

From the introduction of the Policy Toolkit, published in 2008:

Today, there are 1.5 billion people between the ages of 12 and 24 worldwide, with 1.3 billion of them living in developing countries—making the young the largest segment of developing country population in recorded history. More important, young people constitute a disproportionately large part of the world’s poor. While they represent 50 percent of the developing country population, they represent nearly 60 percent of the poor in those countries.1 Young people can be a source of growth and development for their countries, but a subset of young people—those known as youth at risk—are a source of the inequality, poverty, exclusion, and much of the crime and violence that plagues every region in the world, thereby imposing enormous costs on themselves, their families, and society at large.

The World Bank has produced this Policy Toolkit in response to a growing demand from our government clients and partners for advice on how to create and implement effective policies for at-risk youth. We have highlighted 22 policies (six core policies, nine promising policies, and seven general policies) that have been effective in addressing the following five key risk areas for young people around the world:

  • Youth unemployment, underemployment, and lack of formal sector employment
  • Early school leaving
  • Risky sexual behavior leading to early childbearing and HIV/AIDS
  • Crime and violence
  • Substance abuse

The objective of this Toolkit is to serve as a practical guide for policy makers in middle-income countries—as well as professionals working within the area of youth development—on how to develop and implement an effective policy portfolio to foster healthy and positive youth development.

Supporting Youth at Risk: A Policy Toolkit for Middle-Income Countries