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YES Action Planning

Toolkit

Prepared for the YES2002 Summit in Alexandria, Egypt


By Jodie Lang and Dr. William Bloomfield, Civic Strategies, Inc.

YES Action Planning Toolkit PAGE 1


Table of Contents
Frequently Asked Questions Page 3

Step-By-Step: Developing an Action Plan Diagram Page 4

Step 1: Identify a Need Page 5


Looking at Youth Employment Needs in your Country

Step 2: Develop a Vision and Mission Statement Page 6


Developing a Vision
Developing a Mission Statement
Writing Your Vision and Mission Statement

Step 3: Build on the YES2002 Summit Page 9

Step 4: Gather Background Information Page 11


Personal Factors: Using my own attributes and experiences
National Factors: Identifying, understanding and considering the current situation
Global Factors: Looking at my plan within the larger picture

Step 5: Analyze Information Page 15

Step 6: Identify Priorities Page 17

Step 7: Create Goals and Benchmarks Page 18


Short-Term Goals (Next 3 months)
Mid-Term Goals (3 months to 1 year) Long-Term Goals (1 year to 5 years)

Step 8: Develop Action Steps Page 20


Short-term Action Steps
Mid-Term Action Steps

What’s Next? Implementing the Plan Page 23


YES Action Planning Toolkit PAGE 2
Frequently Asked Questions
What is an Action Plan?
An action plan is kind of like a blueprint for a house. It shows how a plan will be put into place. While the planning phase does not usually include any
implementation (except pilot programs, in some cases), spending the time before the program starts is crucial to its success.

Why is an Action Plan important? “I don’t think I have time to do this right now.”
An action plan is more than ‘important,’ it is essential. It allows an individual or a group to look at their goals, current situation, needs, ideas, responsibilities,
resources and timeline in an organized and objective way. While it will take time to develop a good action plan, it will certainly save time and frustration later.

Can I change it?


You can always change your action plan, and, in fact, it is good planning to expect to change it. No one can predict the future and you may find that aspects
of your plan do not work out or may need revisions. When this happens, it is important to go back to your original plan and see how new plans can fit in.

What if I don’t have a lot of background information? Can I just go onto the next steps?
This would not be a good idea. Each step is based on having completed the steps before it to the best of your ability. If you begin setting goals without
having enough background information then your goals may not be realistic, feasible or acceptable to other stakeholders.

Why do I need to identify priorities? Isn’t youth employment my priority?


While the overall purpose of the YES Campaign is improving livelihoods through youth employment policies and projects, each network and each project will
have its own specific priorities. You also must think about the best strategy to pursue at any point in time. For example, reaching 18-21 year olds in a certain
region or city may be a priority for the first two years because there are a high percentage of unemployed youth in that age group. After that time, you may
want to look at the lessons learned and then expand to a broader age group or a different geographic area. While it would be nice, you simply cannot help
everyone all at once. Trying to do too much may very likely result in no one being helped or getting what they really need. Stay focused and build from
success.

How can I make long-term goals? I don’t even know what will be happening in 5 or 10 years, or if I will still be involved in the project.
As a youth leader one of your responsibilities is to ensure that the actions you and other Country Network members take are aligned with the 10 year YES
Campaign and are developed in a way that will provide sustainability if the leaders of the Country Network or specific projects are to leave. In other words,
the plans and processes that you and your peers put into place must be strong enough that as new Network members and leaders join the campaign the
projects and initiatives will continue to run and evolve in your absence.

I don’t think checking in and consulting with people at each step is practical. It will take me weeks or months to write the plan if I need to do that.
Can I just show it to them when I am done?
While checking in with key people at each stage will certainly take longer, it will likely save you time and frustration in the long run. It does not make much
sense to write a plan that depends upon other people and organizations, and not include them in the planning and decision process. As you consult with
others, you will find that they will provide you with new insight, ideas, and resources as well as be able to help you identify some barriers which you may
come up against. You will find it is time well spent!

YES Action Planning Toolkit PAGE 3


S t e
C o n s id e
b a c k

S t e p 2 : S
S t e p 1 : D e v e lo p a B u
I d e n
YES Action Planning Toolkit
t if y a v i s io n a n d
PAGE 4
t h
n e e d m i s s io n 2
Step 1: Identify a Need

Looking at Youth Employment Needs in your Country

Try to finish this sentence: To greatly improve youth livelihoods and employment opportunities in my country we need…. (Put each need in its own
box.) At this point DO NOT think of what your specific project will be, just look at all of the needs that exist. Consider social and educational needs, political
and policy needs, economic and market needs in the formal and non-formal sectors, etc. Talk to other people from your Country Network and the region…
You will probably find they have similar needs or have thought of ones you may have not written down yet.

Short Term
Needs…

“We need this right


now!”

Mid-term Needs…

“We need this


within a year or
two.”

Long Term
Needs…
“We need this to
happen, but it can
wait a few years.”

Now, put stars next to one or two of the needs that you believe are most important and strategic to focus on right now. It is important to keep the entire list,
because you may want to collaborate with those that will address some of the other needs that you have identified.

YES Action Planning Toolkit PAGE 5


Step 2: Develop a Vision and Mission Statement
Developing a Vision
A vision tells what you would like to see happen in a specific period of time. You will find the YES vision on page 4 of your Summit Navigator.

Use the box below to brainstorm (think of as many ideas as you can) based on the needs you identified in Step 1. Write down ideas of what you would like
to see regarding youth employment and livelihoods in your country. Write down all the ideas that you have, even if they seem impossible or outrageous.
While having a realistic vision is important to writing your action plan, at this stage getting down as many ideas as you can is important. Later, you can
narrow them down.

Youth employment opportunities I would like to see in my country…..

YES Action Planning Toolkit PAGE 6


Step 2: Develop a Vision and Mission Statement
Developing a Mission Statement
A mission statement describes what you are going to do to achieve your vision. It should not provide specific details (these will be in your action plan
and implementation process); rather it suggests the path that you will be taking. You will find the YES mission on page 4 of your Summit Navigator. You
should also look at the YES Framework for Action document that is being launched at the summit.

Below are the 5 Pathways to Action that the YES Campaign has identified as strategic catalysts for improving youth employment outcomes. Focusing your
mission around one (or more) of these pathways will strengthen your ideas. Write down any ideas that you have under each of the “Pathways.”

5 Pathways to Action:
 Advocating the development of key policies and public-private partnerships that promote youth employment

 Initiating the development of skills-based education, targeted employment and training services to serve youth
employment needs

 Lobbying for the development and increased access of new Information and Communications Technologies, to support
youth employment and training services to serve youth employment needs

 Reaching youth with credit and other services to promote self-employment

 Lobbying and promoting the empowerment and inclusion of young women

Write down any ideas that you have that do not fit into one of these pathways:

YES Action Planning Toolkit PAGE 7


Step 2: Develop a Vision and Mission Statement
Writing Your Vision and Mission Statement
Vision: Look back at your ideas on page 5. Begin to cross off or alter those that seem unrealistic or too ambitious at this time. Circle those that make the
most sense, are strategic and are really important to you and to young women and men in your country. If you have new ideas, it is never too late to write
them down.

Using the ideas that you have circled, begin to write your vision statement below. Remember; do not struggle too much over exact wording at this point.
You can (and probably will) change some parts of it as you get further in the action planning process and as you talk with other people and organizations.

My vision for youth employment is…

Mission:
Look at your vision and ask yourself, “What am I going to do to achieve this vision?” The mission will not describe specific details, but the broader picture.
Using the information from page 6, write your mission statement below. It should describe WHAT you are going to do to achieve your vision.

YES Action Planning Toolkit PAGE 8


Step 3: Build on the YES2002 Summit Information, Resources and Contacts
Your primary source for gathering information will be your Summit Navigator. By the end of the Summit, your Summit Navigator should contain notes from
all the sessions you have attended, contact and networking information, and your own personal goals for the summit. In addition, you will have many papers
that were presented, several toolkits, and background information on YES and other youth employment related resources world-wide. You may find that the
amount of information that you gather is overwhelming. The important thing is to organize it in a way (in your head and in your binders) that will make it easy
to access what is important to you on return to your country.

On the last day of the summit, use your Summit Navigator to help you fill out this section of the Action Planning Toolkit:

Navigator Page 8: Why am I Here?

Look at the answers you filled out prior to the summit. Briefly answer the following questions.
Have your views on youth employment changed at all? Why or why not?

Did you reach the goals you had set out for yourself at the summit? Please explain.

Have any of your plans changed? If so, explain.

Do you feel that you know about more resources and have more contacts than before? List several new resources and contacts that you think will be
important to you and your program.

YES Action Planning Toolkit PAGE 9


Navigator page 18: Session Guides

Look through your session guides. They should be completely filled in by now.

Were the goals that you created for the sessions met? Why or why not?

Which session did you find helped you the most in your planning? Why?

What was unexpected?

What information do you still need? (list)

Navigator page 33: Networking Contacts

Who are the three people you have met that you think will be able to help you the most with your planning (by giving advice, ideas, feedback, etc.)?

Have you found someone that you can contact when you need support (such as when you are feeling really frustrated)?

How do you think the contacts you made at the summit will help you?

YES Action Planning Toolkit PAGE 10


S T E

YES Action Planning Toolkit PAGE 11


STEP 4: Gathering Background Information

Personal Factors: Using my own attributes and experiences


Goals & Vision Interests & Knowledge Strengths, Skills & Experiences Leadership Abilities

I already What are some of your personal What interests and hobbies do you Think about work experience (paid What leadership experience do you
have… goals? have? jobs, volunteering, internships, self- have? It can be formal or informal
What is your vision? Where do you Is there a field that you know a lot employment, etc.) you have done, this (Example…heading a family is
see yourself in 5 or 10 years? What about or want to learn about? includes things with your family, in your leadership)
will you be doing? community, at school or on your
own...what skills did you learn?

I still need to
realize my
vision….

People & Example: Take a class Example: Increase network members


places I can
go for
information,
support/help…
(you will find
many at the
Summit)
Factors I can
not control
(and need to
figure out a
way to work
around)…

YES Action Planning Toolkit PAGE 12


STEP 4: Gathering Background Information

National Factors: Identifying, understanding and considering the current situation


Social Context Political and Policy Economic Context YES Country Network Other Partnerships &
Context Networks
We already What social factors will affect What political and policy What economic factors will
have… the plan? (ex. poverty, factors will affect the plan? (ex. affect the plan? (ex. low
unemployment, literacy rate, conflicts, strict employment currency value, market
etc.) laws, etc) sectors, lack of resources,
etc.)

We still need
to realize our
vision….

Places we can
go for
support/help…
(you will find
many at the
Summit)

Factors we
can not
control (and
need to figure
out a way to
work around)

YES Action Planning Toolkit PAGE 13


STEP 4: Gathering Background Information

Global Factors: Looking at my plan in the larger picture


YES Global Vision YES Summit Experience YES Support Services

We already -Internet links


have… -Summit contacts
-Research
-The Global Alliance online
database (includes Summit contacts,
organizations and other networks)
-The YES Knowledge Resource
(online database of effective practices in
youth employment)
-Toolkits (how to organize an event,
fundraising suggestions etc.)
-YES Country Network web pages
-Global Online discussion forum
-Pilot programs
-Network database of events
We still need
to realize our
vision….

Factors we
can not
control (and
need to figure
out a way to
work around)

YES Action Planning Toolkit PAGE 14


Step 5: Analyzing the Information
Read over the information that you have again. Look at your vision and mission statement. Consider all of your background information. Ask yourself the
following questions:

Is my vision bold and achievable, given all of the background information?

When my mission is successfully implemented will I achieve my vision for youth employment? How will I know? What will be different?

Have I been realistic and honest about my own abilities, interests, skills and limitations?

Have I been realistic about my expectations of other people, organizations, groups, etc.?

Am I trying to do too much? (Remember: sometimes it is better to help a small group of youth in a big way than to help a big group in a small way)

Am I open to change or did I begin this process with one idea and I have stuck with it?

What political, social or logistical problems might I have? How can I deal with them (and/or be prepared for them)?

(Continue to the next page)

YES Action Planning Toolkit PAGE 15


Does the social context of my country support this plan? (For example, will women’s rights be an issue? What level of education is the norm?)

Does the economic context of my country support this plan? (For example, is bartering considered normal the norm? Does the program meet a local
demand?)

Is a country network established or being established that will support me in achieving my youth employment vision?

Have I found other resources within my country that will support my youth employment vision and/or project?

How does my vision contribute to the YES vision and the Framework for Action?

Are there enough support services available from YES and/or in my country to me to make this feasible?

Have I done sufficient research and asked other people for their opinions? Have I taken this data into consideration or disregarded information or opinions
that don’t agree with my views?

THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT: Read your answers carefully. Discuss them with your peers and partners. If something does not seem right, NOW IS THE
TIME TO CHANGE IT. Be open to change…while it may not be easy, it is better than going forward poorly prepared!

YES Action Planning Toolkit PAGE 16


Step 6: Identify Priorities
There is always a gap between all the needs, what you would like to do, and what you realistically can do. Also, sometimes there are things that you have to
do before the things you want to do. This is why identifying priorities is so important.

Write down all the things that you would like your youth employment vision, projects, and any policy initiatives to accomplish in the next 10 years. Put down
things that may be obvious as well as future dreams and ‘hopes.’

Now, go back and mark the ones that you think are most important or simply need to get done first. For example, sometimes establishing a relationship with
a government official does not seem as important as ‘providing education training, or job creation for 50 youths’, but the fact is, in many cases, having a
positive relationship will facilitate a lot of other things along the way. Put your top 3 or 4 priorities below. In some cases, you may be able to combine a few
from above, but try to make them as specific as possible. Don’t worry if the things you want to do are not a ‘priority’ right now. Once the initiative, project, or
program is underway, you will come back to this page and address other priorities.

YES Action Planning Toolkit PAGE 17


Step 7: Create Goals and Benchmarks

Creating specific goals and benchmarks, based on your vision, mission and priorities, is very important. It helps you break down the tasks that are needed
so that you can organize your plan, explain it to others, get everything done, and in the right order. It also allows you to focus on specific priorities rather
than becoming overwhelmed by the entire task. BE REALISTIC with your goals…things take time.

Your short term goals should be fairly specific, as you will start to work on them right away. For now, your mid and long term goals can be more general.
You need to expect them to change somewhat as the initiative, project, or program begins to take shape. As you complete the first set of goals, be sure to
go back and revise and expand on the next set.

Short-Term Goals (Next 3 months)


First month from start Second Month from start Third month from start
Example: Complete action plan Consult with peers, key Meet with local industry leaders Finalize plan based on input
stakeholders, and YES network by and government ministers for input
email or by phone/visit for input

(Mid-term and long term goals are on the next page)


YES Action Planning Toolkit PAGE 18
Mid-Term Goals (3 months to 1 year)
4-6 months from start 7-10 months from start 11-12 months from start
Example: Establish a 1 acre garden and Identify village, land, other Select youth and involve in set up Begin planting and building garden
food stand in a village. Employ 5 youth for resources, and funding source process…seek donation of and food stand for sales
12 hours a week each. irrigation equipment, other
resources

Long-Term Goals (1 year to 5 years)


2003-2004 2004-2005 2006-2007
Example: Expand garden and food stand Include one other village (same Add 3 more villages. Have pilot Write a plan and offer support to
pilot project size operation) village youth train new workers other networks that would like to
follow the model

YES Action Planning Toolkit PAGE 19


Step 8: Develop Specific Action Steps
Action steps describe exactly what will need to be done to achieve your goals and benchmarks…and ultimately, your vision. As you begin planning your
project or initiative, it is essential that these steps are clear to everyone involved. Each person or organization's roles and responsibilities in carrying out
these steps need to be understood and agreed upon. Unlike goals, which need to be forecast well in advance to ensure that all the work that is being done
is focused in the same direction, you will find it is easier to create specific action steps at set intervals throughout your project. This is because needs,
people, policies, resources, organizations, the environment, and policy issues may change. Use pages 20 and 21 to specify the action steps for the next
year. Be sure that these action steps are aligned with your short and mid term goals. A spare sheet has been enclosed for you to copy and use at a later
date when action steps need to be modified or developed.

Short-term Action Steps (Things that need to get done in the next 3 months to reach short-term goals)
WHAT needs to get done? WHO will be WHEN does it need to get WHO will need to be involved WHAT types of support need
responsible done (use dates)? (people on my team, outside to be in place (technical,
(individuals or support)? financial, policy, social)?
organizations)?

YES Action Planning Toolkit PAGE 20


Mid-Term Action Steps (Things that need to get done in the next 12 months to reach mid-term goals)
WHAT needs to get done? WHO will be WHEN does it need to get WHO will need to be involved WHAT types of support need
responsible done (use dates)? (people on my team, outside to be in place (technical,
(individuals or support)? financial, policy, social)?
organizations)?

YES Action Planning Toolkit PAGE 21


Action Step Planning (save to copy and use later)
WHAT needs to get done? WHO will be WHEN does it need to get WHO will need to be involved WHAT types of support need
responsible done (use dates)? (people on my team, outside to be in place (technical,
(individuals or support)? financial, policy, social)?
organizations)?

YES Action Planning Toolkit PAGE 22


What’s Next? Implementing the Plan

By now you have the main elements of your YES Action Plan researched, thought out and written down. Now what? While this toolkit was designed to
take you through a basic action planning process, it can also give you an idea of what is to come during implementation, when you begin to bring your vision
to life. You will find it helpful to speak with others that have used an action plan during an actual project, use the YES ‘Implementing an Action Plan Toolkit’
(currently being considered), read books and research on implementing action plans and project management, and use your own experiences of writing the
action plan and discussing it with others to anticipate some of the issues that will or may come up during the implementation phase, when you actually start
to work on your project or initiative.

While implementing each plan is different, there seems to be some ‘constants’ that you can expect:

• You will need to build allies and colleagues within each community in which you work…this seems true everywhere in the world
• You will need to deal with ‘management’ issues…is everyone doing what they should? When they should?
• Your timeline will probably change
• You may need to rewrite the action plan in a different format in order to receive funding (most grants and funding sources have specific
formats)
• You may need to change your goals and benchmarks
• You may have trouble convincing others of your plan…keep trying!
• You will find people getting excited, especially youth
• Things will probably go slower than you would like…but if you keep at it, they will get done

Remember, you have an idea and a vision that will change the lives of youths and their families. Realizing that vision will not be easy, but it will be worth it.
The YES Campaign is designed based on each person and Network using their strengths, ideas and local resources to realize a larger vision of employment
for youth worldwide. You are part of this!

YES Action Planning Toolkit PAGE 23