Responding to the Youth Crisis: Developing Capacity to Improve Youth Services: A Case Study from the Marshall Islands

Benjamin Graham

The Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) is a relatively new nation, with half of its population under the age of 18 years. Responding to the Youth Crisis tells the story of how the RMI government, with assistance from ADB, set out to strengthen domestic capacity to improve services for youth in the Marshalls. The case highlights the importance of participatory processes and describes how an innovative approach to outsourcing youth welfare services to civil service providers was introduced. It also underscores some of the challenges of sustaining reforms with weak institutions and leadership.

Two years have passed since this important TA took place and, sadly, because the question of “who and what holds it all together?” remains unanswered, the quantity and quality of youth services remain extremely limited. Nevertheless, the results of the TA (including the situational analysis and the many policy recommendations) remain available and can still be used to plan the way forward.

Perhaps the best way forward is to craft and implement a whole-of-government approach to improving youth-targeted services that incorporates the work of NGOs. The demographic and economic forecasts do not paint a very promising picture for the youth of this nation, so there is a certain time bomb element to the situation. More must be done to enhance the RMI’s capacity to respond to its growing youth crisis.

Year of publication: 
ADB Capacity Development in the Pacific
Themes and sectors: 
Social exclusion
Case story length: 
36 pages

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