At the Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summit in Washington, DC last month, GeoPoll had the opportunity to see the power of youth voices in action. Hearing 19 year old Paola Veroy discuss her successful arts and cultural center in Panama for at-risk youth demonstrates that international development practitioners need to speak directly to youth to address their needs. Our work with workforce development, gender-based violence, and global public health programs has shown us the power of real-time data, so we wanted to highlight some of GeoPoll’s past work in this space.

GeoPoll’s Work Surveying Youth Through Mobile Phones

  • Workforce Development: GeoPoll partnered with RTI International to target youth beneficiaries with SMS surveys and one way SMS messages during the USAID Kenya Youth Employment Skills Program. GeoPoll was able to identify new employers for K-YES to partner with and tracked long term employment outcomes with the youth trained by K-YES.
  • JIACTIVATE Coalition in Kenya: As part of JIACTIVATE, a movement to engage Kenya’s youth in politics and community activism, GeoPoll deployed SMS surveys to 2,000 Kenyans between the ages of 15-35 to ask them about their biggest concerns in the lead up to the national election. Results showed that corruption, famine/drought, healthcare and unemployment were the leading concerns for the youth.
  • African Millennials and Bank Loans: A GeoPoll study on Millennials in Africa found that many of the younger generations are turning to alternative sources of capital, and working side jobs or starting businesses funded by loans from banks and relatives. Agriculture was the most common source of secondary capital, followed by ICT and selling of commodity goods. GeoPoll also found that despite associated interest rates, 30% are borrowing from banks, while 23% borrow from relatives.
  • Access to Financial Services in Nigeria: GeoPoll worked with USAID’s Development Credit Authority (DCA) to identify financing gaps in agriculture-related businesses. GeoPoll was able to reach more than 750 individuals across 15 states in Nigeria using mobile surveys. Results showed that while 75% of respondents would like to take out a loan in the next five years, only 24% had tried. In addition, 60% were unsure how they would contact a bank loan officer. USAID DCA was able to use this information to more strategically invest in the agricultural sector.
  • Entrepreneurship Study: With GES and the US State Department, GeoPoll reached 1,000 entrepreneurs across Africa about entrepreneurship in their countries. Among youth, a lack of funding and lack of government support were cited as the biggest challenges to starting businesses. All respondents also cited financial literacy courses and business courses as some of the most useful resources for supporting their business.
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High levels of youth engagement with GeoPoll surveys demonstrate that young people are technologically adept and willing to engage in mobile surveys. Through our market research, we have tracked youth perceptions on a wide range of topics, from monitoring food security to tracking indicators of violent extremism. If your organization is interested in learning more about GeoPoll’s services for youth development programs, please contact us here.