About the project

This tool was developed under the framework of the applied research project, Youth economic exclusion and violence in Burundi and South Sudan: Improving economic opportunity interventions for young people in fragile settings.

It is a joint project of Wageningen University and five Dutch NGOs: CARE, Oxfam Novib, Save the Children, SPARK and ZOA. It was funded through the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) Applied Research Fund.


The project had two main aims:

Collaborative research, to generate insights on youth socio-economic exclusion and violence in fragile settings, and how NGO interventions connect to these dynamics.

Collaborative tool development, to formulate a wider set of recommendations for programme development concerning economic opportunity interventions for young people.

The study asked two main questions. First, what are the needs, ambitions and experiences of young men and women in fragile settings? And second, how do NGO interventions tie in with these?

Through our research, we hope to understand how the economic agency of young people in fragile settings might be strengthened. We want to move beyond the idea of “opportunity costs of violence” and take a broader approach to young people’s motivations, understanding also their social needs and considerations and acknowledging their potential to be agents of change.


The research involved six weeks of fieldwork in both South Sudan and Burundi, at sites selected by the research consortium. Two local researchers interviewed numerous young men and women, including those inside and outside of NGO programmes, NGO staff members, and local duty bearers. Approximately 75 individual interviews were combined with group interviews and focus group discussions.

The fieldwork covered a wide range of economic opportunity interventions, reflecting the diversity of the consortium.

The research process also included a series of meetings and internal workshops with the consortium members. First, to define the scope and approach of the programme, and later, to discuss the main findings and implications.