Our work

How Generation Unlimited is helping young people reach their full potential.

A boy sits against a bright wall, looking at the camera in Argentina.

Numbering 1.8 billion people in 2017, the current generation of young people is one-quarter of the world’s population and will be a dominant force in the decades to come. A population of this magnitude presents an enormous opportunity to transform economic and social outcomes in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), raising global productivity and reducing inequality, if investments are made to ensure young people thrive.

Generation Unlimited (GenU) is a global multisector partnership created to meet the urgent need for expanded education, skill development and employment opportunities for young people aged 10-24.  By bridging secondary-age education and training to employment and entrepreneurship, GenU will support every young person to thrive in the world of work and become productive problem solvers and engaged members of society. 

GenU aims to:

  • Modernize secondary education and training to build the skills young people need for productive lives and work.
  • Increase and improve the number of quality work opportunities available to youth.
  • Foster entrepreneurship as a mindset and a livelihood for young people.
  • Collaborate with youth as problem-solvers and engaged citizens to help create the world they want

Generation Unlimited brings together the private sector, governments, multilateral organizations, civil society, and young people by:

  • Attracting investment at global and national levels to make effective programmes grow and achieve results for millions of young people. US $1 million catalytic investment in programs in the youth education, employment, training and entrepreneurship fields has a lifetime return of US$50 million in impact for youth and society.
  • Scaling innovations, brokering investments and shared value partnership in areas such as digital connectivity, remote learning and work, entrepreneurship, job-matching platform, mental health and the green economy, among others.
  • Co-creating solutions with youth to ensure they are drivers and agents of social change.

Launched one year ago, GenU has generated interest from government and leaders from industry and other key sectors committed to cohere efforts around young people for large-scale impact. 

Investment in young people through GenU can contribute directly to accelerate results for the realization of Agenda 2030, particularly SDGs 4 (Quality Education), 5 (Gender Equality), 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure), 10 (Reduced Inequalities), 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities), 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production), 13 (Climate Action), 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions), and 17 (Partnerships for the Goals).  GenU is also an effective way to operationalize the vision and priorities of the UN Youth Strategy—in particular, youth engagement, participation and advocacy; supporting young people’s greater access to quality education and skills development; and economic empowerment through decent jobs.

Our Strategy In Details

Bodoor, 17 years, in her UNICEF-supported school. She is in 12th grade in Azraq Refugee Camp and preparing for her final exams.
UN0263725/Herwig

If the largest generation of young people in history is prepared for the transition to work, the potential for global progress is unlimited. Read more about Generation Unlimited's strategy to meet the urgent need for expanded education, training and employment opportunities for young people, ages 10-24, on an unprecedented scale.

The strategy and foundational documents include:

1. STRATEGIC ANALYSIS

Provides a high-level overview of the challenges facing young people and positive efforts and gaps in support of young people at local, national, and global levels. It informs the strategic positioning of GenU and provides a review of the challenges GenU aims to address.

2. OVERVIEW OF EVIDENCE

Provides a high-level review of strategies that can improve outcomes for young people (10–24) across secondary-age education, skills and training, employment, entrepreneurship, and civic engagement. The overview highlights practices that the GenU partnership can learn from and build upon. It is divided into three sections:

  1. An overview of findings from seminal reports and academic literature on the topics vital to GenU.
  2. Case studies of the ways governments, NGOs, and the private sector have attempted to improve outcomes for young people.
  3. Research on effective ways to drive multi-sector partnerships.

3. THEORY OF CHANGE

Illustrates how the GenU problem definitions connect to the GenU vision with visuals showing the GenU business model inputs, outputs, outcomes and impacts. Visuals are provided for the overall GenU theory of change (ToC), as well as the country investment agendas and the global breakthroughs, with notes on enabling factors and assumptions.

Each individual country investment agenda will ideally involve a coming together of partners to construct their own context specific ToC.

4. OPERATING MODEL

Provides the guidelines for the governance and organizational structure for GenU at country level and how it relates to the global team. It defines Tier 1, 2 and 3 countries and criteria for the global team to use in deciding which countries to support in developing their GenU partnerships. It details how to develop a foundational analysis and roadmap, including an investment agenda, and outlines

GenU’s financing model and trust fund. As part of the operating model, the final GenU global governance structure will be available after the September 2019 meeting of the GenU Global Board.

5. RESULTS FRAMEWORK

Provides a description of what success looks like for GenU at the global and country levels. Results frameworks are provided to track the quality of the GenU partnership at country level, as well as progress on global breakthroughs and youth challenges. Global level SDG outcome indicators aligned to GenU are also provided. The aim is to help country partnerships assess themselves using common indicator frameworks and help produce a yearly global snap shot of progress towards GenU aims. Results frameworks for specific GenU priorities can be prepared separately, based on country adaptation of the operating model. An indicator bank is provided to help with this task, which will be updated based on country level inputs.

On 20 February 2019 in Bangladesh, (left-right) Mohammed Forhad and Biplob Barca, both 18 years old, work on a motorbike in a garage in Court Bazar, in the Cox's Bazar district.

6. INVESTMENT CASE

Brings together the five elements detailed above into a compelling case to attract and leverage investment in young people. It is a high-level introduction to GenU, which makes the case for further investment and action, calling upon stakeholders from all sectors to support the potential of this generation.

Our Work In Countries

Our Work With Young People