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The Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office is a UN center of expertise on pooled financing mechanisms.

It supports development effectiveness and UN coordination through the efficient, accountable and transparent design and administration of innovative pooled financing mechanisms. For more information, consult the MPTF Office Gateway and publications.

6 Jan 2021

GenU in partnership with UNICEF is supporting the government of Bangladesh to roll out an ambitious Adolescent Skills Framework set to address the mismatch between education, skills training and jobs. 

Bangladesh — Every year two million young Bangladeshis (15-24) embark on their first experience in the world of work. But, too often, they find themselves ill-equipped to be truly productive. In fact, a recent study found that the majority of young workers surveyed (85 per cent) had gained the skills they were using at work somewhere other than informal education settings. 

To address this significant mismatch between education, skills training, and jobs, Generation Unlimited (GenU) in partnership with UNICEF is supporting the government to roll out an ambitious Adolescent Skills Framework. This initiative is part of GenU’s aim of reaching 10 million secondary age school youth across the country with transferrable, digital and technology skills by 2024.

Led by the National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB), the skills framework was co-created by 27 agencies from across the government, private sector, civil society, and development partners, including GenU Bangladesh partners. It builds on the work initiated by UNICEF through NCTB under Bangladesh’s Ministry of Education and in close collaboration with a wide range of partners. With the leadership of NCTB, Government ownership was evident from the beginning, with the Ministry of Education keen to meet the demand of the private sector for a future-skilled workforce.

The skills framework is also part of an overall effort by the Government to reform and integrate school curricula with the skills young people need to succeed in today’s world of work. The framework functions as a key guiding document on several reform agendas including competency-based curriculum, experiential learning pedagogy, interdisciplinary approaches, and formative assessment methods.

Closing the youth skills gap is expected to ease high unemployment, underemployment, and economic inactivity among young people, who constitute 20 per cent of Bangladesh’s population. Right now, more than one million youth in the country are unemployed.

Meanwhile, close to one-third of them are not in education, employment, and training (NEET), and the majority of these are young women. The potential for change is enormous. It is estimated that 6 million young women and men, including the most vulnerable, would benefit from greater investment in youth skills and employability.

Currently, GenU in partnership with UNICEF, NCTB and Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education, is piloting the newly developed national curriculum framework across secondary education institutions. This work is implemented with the generous support of the Government of the Netherlands. It foresees that, as of 2021, youth across Bangladesh will begin acquiring transferable skills. Then, as of January 2022, the detailed curriculum, pedagogy, teaching and learning materials, and assessment strategies will be rolled out.

Originally published on

22 Dec 2020

These Yemenis remained committed to improve their livelihoods, despite limited electricity, telecommunications and internet.

In the remote, mountainous region of Sarar, 75km north-east of Aden, 471 Yemeni men and women wave their mobile phones in the air, chasing connection as they wait for the familiar ping of the message tone to signal the start of class.

“Coverage is not stable. It comes and goes. One has to wait for the signal to make a call,” explains Alawi, 32, a father of three and day labourer living in Sarar. “Electricity, telecommunications and internet coverage is very poor here.”

Sarar is only accessible over rough, mountain terrain. Roads are almost impassable for merchants who sell their goods at heavily increased prices. People rely on harvesting rainwater from the roof and storing it in tanks. The ground water has almost dried up in these areas, and electricity, supplied by small local providers, can be off for up to a month at a time.

Alawi once worked abroad, but when he returned to be with his family in Sarar, he struggled to find stable work, sometimes taking day labour as an electrician or carpenter.

“My family depends on my daily income, which is not regular. Sometimes I find a job, sometimes I don't.  Our consumption is greater than my income,” Alawi describes, as he wanders up a dirt path, toward an area of better mobile coverage. 

Alawi was one of the 471 selected to participate in business skills training in Sarar. Supported by UNDP, For all Foundation (FAF) selected community members that were able to demonstrate an enthusiasm and drive to improve their livelihoods.

But the rapid spread of COVID-19 presented new challenges in these already remote areas. How could we deliver training to these isolated communities in a safe and healthy environment?

Why not use WhatsApp? An application most individuals are likely to have on their phones and confidently navigate. “It’s easy to use, popular and doesn’t require a strong internet connection to function,” explains Rabab, UNDP business skills trainer. What was born, was a hybrid face-to-face and online learning experience, that ensured continuous, safe support to the Yemeni people.

For many like Majdi, a 34-year-old casual teacher, this was a new experience, but he quickly recognised its value. “The moment that will stick in my mind forever, is when we applied social distancing. It was the first time I came to know about this as a preventive measure against the transmission of disease, including COVID-19. I will never forget this life-saving measure that is applied around the world.”

After completing 7 days of face-to-face learning, participants turned to their mobile phone. What proceeded was a 7-day training course, delivered via video, voice and text message, that enabled flexibility in time and location for each participant. Women were able to safely participate from home, whilst caring for their children, and participants with lower literacy were supported to use voice messages, so they too could continue their learning journey.

“The training was conducted during Ramadan, a time when the COVID-19 pandemic was raging. However, we still completed it successfully, despite the difficulties,” explains Majdi, now a true believer of online learning. “We resorted to online training as a precautionary measure to save lives in light of the risk of coronavirus.”

Some days were easier than others, but each participant demonstrated enduring commitment, motivated by the idea of one day owning their own successful business.  “Unfortunately, the first day was rainy, with lightning, and we could not attend the lecture because the internet was shut down. But the lecturer was cooperative and changed the timing,” says Majdi. The trainers also sent materials for the participants to read offline, to ensure that even without a connection, they could continue learning.

Charging mobile phones was also a hurdle for households that relied on unstable power, “We needed mobile solar power systems to recharge our smart phones and be able to attend the online training,” explains Alawi. “We had to move to the areas where there is internet coverage to stay connected and actively participate in the group - whether sitting outdoors or indoors,” he continues, as he sets up his portable solar power system beside him.

Like their classmates, Alawi and Majdi developed a business plan at the conclusion of their training. Trainers, like Rabab, provided feedback and worked with participants to maximise their ideas. “We learned new economic terms and concepts and how to run small businesses,” explains Alawi. “My business idea is beekeeping. I will harvest and sell honey. Now with this training, I can apply my business skills to beekeeping.”

Majdi aims to open a small store in the middle of his village, “I consider training as the roadmap to running one's own business. My idea is to open a shop. The financial grant provided by UNDP, will enable me to buy a refrigerator and sell cold drinks and ice cream for the residents,” he explains. “This will not only benefit me and my family, but I will provide services for the residents. They will not need to travel three kilometres to the next closest store.”

Tailored training was offered to participants, designed to support the project they chose. Some were trained on solar power, some on beekeeping, while others on small business management. Once their plan was approved, small grants were distributed to enable purchase of required tools and resources.

Originally published at UNDP Yemen

“I was very excited about the training and I felt very happy when they approved my project. Now I hope I will succeed. I was given a financial grant to start my project and I hope next year, my capital will be three times more,” says Alawi. “I will sell honey inside the district, and the whole community will benefit.”


In total, more than 900 Yemeni women and men received business skills training – 471 using WhatsApp and the remaining through face-to-face classes – across Abyan, Lahj and Taiz Governorates.


The beautiful, mountainous region of Sarar makes everyday life more difficult for Yemenis living here | Photo Credits: UNDP Yemen/2020

These activities were implemented as a part of the 
Supporting Resilient Livelihoods and Food Security in Yemen Joint Programme (ERRYJP II) in partnership with For All Foundation, CARE International and Oxfam. The Programme aims to strengthen the resilience capacity of crisis-affected communities through the creation of sustainable livelihoods and access to basic services. The joint programme implements labour-intensive emergency employment activities – or cash-for-work – that enables the rehabilitation of community assets. With renewed access to livelihood opportunities for conflict-affected Yemenis, Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), and the marginalized, they have improved purchasing power and can now buy food and essentials while contributing to the local economy.


18 Dec 2020

Statistics show that more than 90% of road crashes take place in developing countries, with Africa having the highest road traffic fatalities, at an alarming 246,000 deaths each year. As the African vehicle fleet is set to grow four to five times by 2050, the impacts on road safety are likely to rise exponentially. It is estimated that about 80-90% of this growth will come from the import of used vehicles. A significant share of these imported used vehicles does not meet safety standards.

The Safer and Cleaner Used Vehicles for Africa project seeks to shift the paradigm on the used vehicle trade and facilitate the development of policies and standards on exportation and importation of used vehicles. The aim is to put in place regulations, standards and processes to ensure that Africa will only receive quality used vehicles, which will have major road safety benefits, for both car drivers, road users and co-benefits on the environment and economy.

The project will provide a platform for major exporters and African importing countries and regional bodies to engage on the required minimum standards. These regulations will have tremendous benefits with regards to road safety by reducing the number of deaths and injuries. A minimum set of operational safety features can lead to a 30% reduction in mortality and morbidity. Aside from reduced fatalities, there will also be far reaching health benefits through improved air quality, climate change mitigation, as well as economic opportunities for the continent. Additionally, the project will serve as a model that can be replicated in other regions facing similar challenges by addressing key gaps in their national road safety systems.  

The project for Safer and Cleaner Used Vehicles for Africa is a step further in seeking to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which recognizes that road safety is a prerequisite to ensuring prosperous lives, promoting well-being and making roads inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

The “Safer and Cleaner Used Vehicles for Africa” project, funded by the United Nations Road Safety Fund (UNRSF) is led by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and implemented together with key partners such as the Federation Internationale d’Automobile (FIA) and the International Motor Vehicles Inspection Committee (CITA). The UNRSF was established in 2018 as a UN Multi-Partner Trust Fund to support the implementation of road safety-related SDGs.


Originally published on

1 Dec 2020

UN pooled funds are financing instruments at the service of multi-stakeholder partnerships that bring together governments, UN agencies, civil society and private sector. In order to discuss achievements and learnings from this type of innovative financing instruments, the Permanent Mission of Sweden to the UN and the UN Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office convened the 2020 edition of the UN Pooled Funding Multi-Stakeholder Discussion Forum.

The forum is a periodic platform for stakeholder dialogue and engagement, which was established in 2019 at the request of the UNDP Executive Board and following recommendations from an independent evaluation of inter-agency pooled funds in September 2018.

Its objective is to review progress and discuss trends in global financing and strategies on the way forward, to strengthen p?artner engagement and reinforce the confidence of partners in the mechanism and its use. 

During this edition, representatives from Member States, UN entities and civil society discussed recent growth and trends, particularly around the specific commitments on pooled funding established by the Funding Compact, a mutual agreement by UN Member States and the UN Development System on how to improve the way the UN is funded.

Latest data shows a steady growth in pooled financing, due to its comparative advantages in funding lexible and integrated responses to humanitarian, transition and development challenges. For example, funding to development related inter-agency pooled funds has increased by 107% since 2016, and now represents approximately 9% of all non-core funding to UN development-related activities.

In the context of the integrated UN response to the COVID-19 pandemic impact, inter-agency pooled funds have quickly pivoted activities and resources to address challenges, building in the flexibility inherent to pooled financing.

An important part of the discussion centered on how to increase the efficiency and effectiveness with of pooled funds through series of common management features, fully spelled out under Commitment 14 in the Compact, covering such aspects as clear theories of change, solid results-based management systems, and transparency standards. The MPTF Office presented progress made in developing new tools and pooled instruments that embed these features, including through the UN Response and Recovery Fund.

The next edition of this Multi-Stakeholder Forum will take place during the first half of 2020.

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