What We Do
The International Youth Foundation® (IYF) stands by, for, and with young people.
The events of 2020 have underscored the ever-present necessity of IYF's mission for 33 years: connecting young people with opportunities to transform their lives. The global COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the vulnerability of young people's economic futures and further endangered their ability to thrive. Whether based on race, gender, or a myriad combination of factors, too many young people experience barriers to opportunity that stop them from realizing their potential. That’s why we’ve created Transformation 2025, a strategic plan to guide us over the next few years—and beyond.
By 2025, young people will exercise greater agency, access more and better economic opportunities, and benefit from systems that are more youth inclusive and responsive.
Together with our partners, IYF builds effective, sustainable, and scalable initiatives that drive change around three interconnected strategic objectives: youth agency, economic opportunity, and systems change. These strategic objectives power IYF’s mission and drive us towards our holistic 2025 goal. Our initiatives help young people gain market-relevant technical and life skills, and they foster enabling environments and enhance the systems within which we all live and work.
IYF connects young people with
opportunities to transform their lives.
Given our history and track record of programmatic impact, we’re excited to fuel our new strategy with a set of unique assets that we continually refine to meet the day’s challenges and opportunities. In addition, five grounding principles underpin our strategic framework, connect us to our heritage, and will keep us clear-eyed and consistent in our approach.
- Collaborative strategies to drive systems change
- Youth-informed digital solutions
- Highly experiential life skills curricula
- Demand-driven workforce development programs
- Networks to accelerate youth social entrepreneurship
- Tools for gender equity and social inclusion
- IYF’s grounding principles underpin everything we do:
- We engage young people as partners
- We partner for success at scale
- We work with and through local actors
- We advance Gender Equity and Social Inclusion
- We measure impact and share what we learn
We partner for progress.
IYF is unique in that we engage with all members of the youth development ecosystem: corporations and foundations, multilateral organizations and local leaders, communities and—most importantly—young people. Playing the role of connector and convener, IYF ensures that individual efforts are aligned, communication channels are open, and solutions include and respond to the real needs of young people. Their insights, ideas, enthusiasm, and energy act as an integral part of every solution.
We lead with local knowledge.
Our initiatives are grounded in the local context, led by local partners around the globe, and supported by IYF’s local staff in the regions and countries where we work. This way of working ensures that our solutions respond to real needs, challenges, and opportunities. Then, IYF’s global role as a connector and convener ensures alignment and understanding across all stakeholders.
We build inclusive programs.
Marginalization impacts young people’s personal agency, economic opportunity, and ability to fully participate in society. Recognizing all types of exclusion, IYF is committed to advancing social inclusion and making sure every young person has opportunities to learn, grow, and thrive. Like partnership and being locally owned and led, social inclusion is one of IYF’s five grounding principles.
We combine experience and innovation.
IYF has spent three decades dedicated to positive youth development, and we have a track record of programmatic results. During this time, the world has changed around us. With more than 1.2 billion young people now on the planet—21 percent of whom are not in school, work, or training—we must increase our scale and impact. Given these high stakes, we are committed to finding innovative solutions, including youth-informed digital solutions such as the game-based life skills training course Passport to Success® Traveler.
Discover our 30-year history of driving change.
We offer demand-driven solutions.
Globally, employers identify two critical gaps: relevant technical skills and life skills—like critical thinking, communication, and teamwork. IYF initiatives improve skills alignment and equip young people to effectively contribute to a workplace, thrive in self-employment, or succeed in an entrepreneurial venture. To understand job opportunities and growth sectors and facilitate economic opportunity, IYF completes market analyses and employer interviews. Through our Passport to Success® (PTS) life skills training, young people develop timeless, transferable skills such as recognizing and controlling their emotions and setting and achieving positive goals.
We hold ourselves accountable and share what we learn.
Our work by, for, and with young people is rooted in effective performance measurement, evaluation, research, and learning (MERL). We use data to assess ongoing progress, to inform mid-course adjustments, and to make evidence-based decisions that maximize project impact. To contribute to a wider conversation about positive youth development, we share what we learn with organizations and institutions worldwide.