Youth Practice Area

Positive Youth Development

Our Approach

NCBA CLUSA’s international work fosters healthy, productive and engaged youth through a positive youth development approach that builds youth assets, agency, contribution, engagement, and enabling environments. NCBA CLUSA primarily defines youth as aged 15 to 35, although we include an expanded definition to include children 10-14 for certain programs.

Our expertise in entrepreneurship and enterprise development, improving livelihoods, agricultural value chains, access to finance, and cooperative development is applied with a youth lens to transform youth’s lives. We create economic opportunities for youth and strengthen communities’ resilience. In our current work, we promote:

  • Youth leadership and engagement in civil society and local governance
  • Youth employment and income generation
  • Youth participation in cooperatives

Our community-led development approach engages youth, their families, and their communities by creating a positive environment in which youth can thrive. Our programs empower youth and build their agency by providing leadership training and encouraging participation in local governance and community organizations such as cooperatives, associations, and producer organizations (POs).

NCBA CLUSA prepares youth for work and self-employment by building life and entrepreneurship skills through training and hands-on learning. We strengthen youth economic opportunities through financial literacy education, training for youth to establish their own savings and credit associations and cooperatives, and by enabling youth participation along value chains.

Spotlight: Inclusive Market Systems for Youth Resilience


When youth are equal participants in their local market systems, the impacts can be huge. This has the power to shift youth away from illicit activities and violent extremism, break the cycle of poverty among young families, increase food security, and bring long-term sustainability to value chains. NCBA CLUSA has developed an Inclusive Market Systems for Youth Resilience Toolkit to guide our work on youth inclusion and market systems. The following is a summary of the approach utilized in this toolkit.

Learn More


The YETA effectiveness study assesses the effectiveness of the Youth Empowerment Through Agriculture (YETA) project to enhance youth engagement in agricultural enterprises.

Read the study