Youth Development

IsDB Group (IsDBG) has been supporting youth through developing their capacities in different socio-economic domains and engaging with them in dialogue regarding their needs and priorities with the aim of reaching an envisioned goal of socio-economic progress of the youth population.

Recognizing that enhancing youth participation and status in any society is essential for achieving inclusive development and poverty reduction, the Bank developed its 10-Year Strategy as a promise to its 57 Member Countries towards a sustainable and inclusive social development.


Youth Development Working Group (YDWG) was initiated by the Islamic Development Group (IsDB) in June 2018. The YDWG is a group of MDBs, and international development organizations interested in supporting and advocating youth development issues, as it relates to the mandate of respective entities.

The main objectives of the YDWG are to establish a platform for cooperation and coordination of joint activities and knowledge sharing. The Group selected to collaborate on youth and financial inclusion as its focus area for 2019-2020.


Since its inception, the Islamic Development Bank Group has undertaken several initiatives focusing on youth development. These programs are, however, only the beginning of IsDB’s long-term engagement with youth in its member countries. IsDB has developed an integrated strategy to ensure its future efforts and resources are directed towards the goal of youth socio-economic progress in its member countries.

Action Plan

For a successful implementation of the YDS, developing an action plan is one of the critical success factors mentioned in the YDS. To this end, a five-year action plan starting from 2020 is developed and will be rolled out and implemented by relevant departments of the Bank.

This Youth Development Action Plan (YDAP) aims at transforming the IsDB Youth Development Strategy into well-defined and well-coordinated actions and commitments to be carried out by the various departments of the Bank over 5 years starting from 2020 and ending in 2024.

Programs & Projects

In its attempt to address some of the issues of the youth, IsDB Group has undertaken a number of initiatives, including:

  • Vocational Literacy Programme (VOLIP) (US$ 500 million) 

  • Microfinance Support Programme (MFSP) (US$ 500 million)

  • Youth Employment Support (YES) Programme (US$ 250 million)

  • SME Funds, the Scholarship Programme (US$193 million since 1983 and graduating more than 10,000 students)

  • The Education for Employment (E4E) initiative (US$250 million)

  • Youth Job Creation Program in OIC Member Countries (US$ 81.7 million).

The focus of these programs and initiatives was creating jobs, addressing skill mismatch, facilitating access to finance, entrepreneurship development as well as vocational literacy.

On average, the IsDBG allocates around 8% of its financial support to youth development related projects and programs on an annual basis. As part of the Bank's internal institutional changes and in order to respond to the needs of women and youth, it has created a dedicated practice Resilience and Social Development (RSD) Department, which acts as a resource centre in the Bank as it relates to women and youth. 

The aim of the practice is to mainstream women empowerment and youth development into the policies, strategies and operations of the Bank and facilitating the integration of the youth development agenda across the IsDB Group, to promote synergy, leverage expertise within the group and optimize resources.

Youth Development Forum

IsDB’s Resilience and Social Development Department this year sheds light on the meaningful engagement of the largest demographic of IsDB’s member countries- Youth. 

A panel discussion comprised of public sector, private sector, youth-led NGO and MDBs answered questions and proposed plans in line with fostering youth’s skills and mainstreaming their strategized involvement in all areas of development post COVID-19.

As the world grapples with the unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, there is an abundance of evidence and case studies detailing the proactive and leadership approach young people are continuing to show in their communities.

A 2020 UN report reveals that although young people are some of the most affected by the pandemic’s socio-economic impacts, they are also among the most active in global responses as frontlines as health workers, researchers, activists, innovators, and communicators.

Through bringing together representatives the various stakeholders, the Forum focused on minimizing the temporary, ad-hoc and tokenistic youth roles and enlarging more sustainable, impactful and challenging roles for the youth through policy revisions, workplace preparation and awareness creation.

Three of the SDGs remained in emphases; Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all, SDG 8: Foster sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all; SDG 10: Reduce inequality within and among countries.  

The forum was moderated by Ms. Léa Moubayed-Haidar, Head of Economic Development Policy Unit, EU Madad Trust Fund in Lebanon, Oxfam; and opened by Amer Bukvic, Acting Chief Product and Partnership Officer followed by Mr. Djalalov Muzaffar Mukhitdinovich, Rector of INHA University in Tashkent as the keynote speaker.

Some of the main Youth Development Forum issues that were discussed were as follows:

  • The role young women and men play in advancing the development agenda. 

  • Skill needed for meaningful youth engagement.

  • Frameworks for meaningful youth engagement that development institutions are using to ensure effective youth engagement.  

  • Actions governments and development organizations, private sectors, as well as other stakeholders take to enhance meaningful engagement with youth. 

  • Differentiating between meaningful vs tokenistic youth engagement. 

  • Examples of effective youth-led recovery efforts post COVID-19. 

  • Key skills for young people to acquire to enable them to engage effectively with their community and other stakeholders.