Maximizing Youth Potential and Contribution: Incorporating Safe Public Spaces in Positive Youth Development (PYD) Programs

YouthPower Learning Webinar: Maximizing Youth Potential and Contribution - Incorporating Safe Public Spaces in Positive Youth Development Programs

YouthPower Learning Webinar

Maximizing Youth Potential and Contribution - Incorporating Safe Public Spaces in Positive Youth Development Programs

Monday, August 13, 2018
6:30 A.M. to 8:00 A.M. (EDT)
3:00 P.M. to 4:30 P.M. (EDT)

Safe public spaces are an integral part of the enabling environment for Positive Youth Development. These spaces allow youth to come together, engage in activities related to their diverse needs and interests, participate in decision-making processes and freely express themselves. These spaces can take many different shapes and forms: civic spaces enable youth to engage in governance issues; public spaces afford youth the opportunity to participate in sports and other leisure activities in the community; digital spaces help youth interact virtually across borders with everyone; and well planned physical spaces can help accommodate the needs of diverse youth especially those vulnerable to marginalization or violence. 

The YouthPower Learning webinar will showcase examples of safe public spaces in international development – some youth-led, some designed and implemented by international development organizations, some funded by USAID, whereas others are funded locally. After an introduction by USAID’s Youth Coordinator, Michael McCabe, young leaders from around the globe will present how they view and define safe public spaces, and how they contribute to their creation or have benefitted from them.
Webinar participants will learn:
• How youth can be successfully engaged in the creation of safe public spaces;
• What makes these spaces successful and effective; and
• How funders, e.g., USAID, are and can incorporate safe public spaces in their interventions to enhance the success of PYD programs.


The webinar will be held twice:

Session 1: 6:30 A.M. to 8:00 A.M. (EDT)

6:30 A.M. EDT: Welcome and Introduction, Maria Brindlmayer, YouthPower Learning
6:35 A.M. EDT: The Role of Safe Public Spaces in USAID’s Strong Partnership with Youth,
                            Michael McCabe, USAID’s Youth Coordinator
6:45 A.M. EDT: Young Leaders Are Sharing Their Stories
                           • Shikhar Yadav, YP, India 
                           • Mostafa Wafa, Mish Madrasa, Egypt
                           • Marie Louise Ocran, More to Life International, Ghana​
                           • Oroma Proscouvia Katrina, Michael Ochwo and Phoebe Mutonyi, Anyaka Makwiri
                           • Neema Meremo, Hope for Girls and Women, Tanzania
7:45 A.M. EDT: Open Discussion, Facilitated by Chisina Kapungu, Community of Practice Co-Champion, YouthPower Learning
8:00 A.M. EDT: Closing and Adjourn

Session 2: 3:00 to 4:00 P.M. (EDT)

3:00 P.M. EDT: Welcome and Introduction, Maria Brindlmayer, YouthPower Learning
3:05 P.M. EDT: The Role of Safe Public Spaces in USAID’s Strong Partnership with Youth,
                           Michael McCabe, USAID’s Youth Coordinator
3:15 P.M. EDT: Young Leaders Are Sharing Their Stories
                          • Mostafa Wafa, Mish Madrasa, Egypt
                          • Amelia Hunt, HOTOSM and Tanzania Development Trust, Tanzania
                          • Ayah Al-Oballi, Mercy Corps
                          • Gustavo Payan, DAI and Marja Denisse Anariba, Asegurando la Educación
4:10 P.M. EDT: Open Discussion, Facilitated by Jen Heeg, Community of Practice Co-Champion, YouthPower Learning
4:30 P.M. EDT: Closing and Adjourn

Related Resources and Events


Michael McCabe
Michael McCabe is the USAID Agency Youth Coordinator and brings over 28 years of professional experience managing international development programs. In his current role, he is responsible for helping integrate youth engagement and youth development issues across the Agency, oversee the Youth Policy implementation, and serve as a senior representative on youth issues in the interagency and external community. His expertise includes capacity development, youth development, technology for development, program design/ implementation, training design and facilitation, and public - private sector partnership development. Mike previously worked with: Creative Associates International as Sr. Associate for Capacity Development, and Chief of Party for the Panama Youth At Risk Program; Peace Corps as Chief of Programming and Training for the Inter-America and Pacific Region, and Deputy Director for Peace Corps Dominican Republic; Youth Service America as Vice President; the Inter-American Foundation as Country Representative for Mexico, Venezuela, Panama; and UNICEF as National Programs Officer for Dominican Republic.

Chisina Kapungu
Chisina Kapungu is a Senior Gender and Youth Specialist at the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW). In this role Chisina Kapungu provides technical oversight to research and evaluation projects focused on gender, youth development and adolescent health.
Chisina has nearly 15 years of experience as a clinical psychologist, community-based researcher and program developer with special expertise in adolescent health, sexual and reproductive health and HIV/AIDS. In her role at ICRW, she manages research and evaluations designed to build the evidence base about positive youth development and informs the global community on how to strengthen youth’s skills, assets, competencies and enabling environment.
Chisina’s background in clinical psychology and public health, coupled with managing maternal and child health projects in Sub-Saharan Africa, equip her with the skills needed to understand the interrelationships between gender, health, and adolescent development. She has a wide range of competencies spanning quantitative and qualitative research, program development, monitoring and evaluation, data analysis and translating research into action.
Chisina is particularly passionate about forming partnerships with government institutions, donors, non-profit organizations, and communities to improve health outcomes for women and girls.

Shikhar Yadav
Shikhar is an 18-year-old Youth Leader with the YP Foundation's Know Your Body Know Your Rights programme. He leads Comprehensive Sexuality Education sessions with pre-adolescent boys from marginalised, urban poor communities. His work aims to create a safe space for young boys to wonder out loud about sexuality, gender and the idea of masculinity. He is also working with MeraSMS, a Youth Led social enterprise which uses voice-SMS to provide urban poor with vital information regarding welfare schemes.

About the YP Foundation
The YP Foundation is a youth run and led organization that supports and develops youth leadership to advance rights of young women, girls and other marginalized youth.

Mostafa Wafa
I finished my bachelor degree in business and accounting from Cairo University Faculty of Commerce in 2011. After graduation, the revolution happened and I participated in it as millions of young youth in my generation did. Then I started thinking about fixing the society and have impact instead of revolting and being angry all the time. As I grew up my whole life in Saft El-Laban, I got a solid idea about the many problems my community faces. I always believed and still believe that education is the backbone of our society and its survival. Hence, I decided to focus on education and try to get it fixed. Growing up in the public school system throughout my middle, high school, and university I experienced the day to day problems and the overall deficits in the education system in Egypt. Thus, I saw the potential we have if we solve these problems creating the right model that addresses these problems in a micro level and work on fixing them in a unique and creative way. I started by conducting a survey asking people in Saft El-Laban -my local community” “what do they need to get educated?” In this survey most of them basically said that the big problem in education is the school. Thus, I started Mish Madrasa “the not school” in 2013 to start our journey of changing the society positively and get things done.

In 2017, I got a scholarship from Open Society Foundation, the scholarship is called Civil Society Leadership Awards CSLA. I am currently enrolled in the School of International Service in American University in Washington D.C. My concentration is International and Intercultural Communication. Yet, in my practicum and thesis I am focusing on Transnational Education (TNE) and how to use education as a tool to change societies.

About Mish Madrasa
Mish Madrasa in Arabic means “Not a School.” Mish Madrasa is not just a school, it is a community-based alternative focused on positive youth development, social emotional learning, English language proficiency, interactive and multi-media pedagogies and community-based learning. Serving primary and secondary year youth and operating in the ashwa’iyyat – or irregular community – of Saft El-Laban in Cairo, Egypt, Mish Madrasa promotes a culture of tolerance, social inclusion, gender equality, individual empowerment, community service, generosity and volunteerism, and teamwork. While we implement current education pedagogies – such as interactive media, Project-Based Learning (PBL), and 21st Century employability skills – we also teach subjects such as history, applied reading and writing in Arabic, and math.

Mostafa Wafa founded Mish Madrasa with the belief that education is a powerful tool for social change. Throughout the five years they’ve been open, they’ve carefully built community trust, efficiency, access, and respect. They started with five children in 2013 now have 95 9-19 year old students, and have a 90% retention rate. 

Marie Louise Ocran
Marie Louise Ocran, a Ghanaian beauty queen, is the founder of “More to Life International,” an organization that provides mental health education to youth in impoverished communities. She has used media in Ghana to raise awareness about the need for programs addressing mental health and wellbeing by appearing on radio, TV and producing videos.  She is currently raising awareness among government officials and CEOs in leading industries. As of today, Marie-Louise Ocran is building a preparatory school in Accra, Ghana in which will offer a mental health-focused curriculum to its students. She is also studying law to one day legislate laws that will mandate mental health education in schools and provide adequate support to the mentally ill.

Jen Heeg
Jen Heeg, Ph.D., is an affiliated consultant with PPA. Dr. Heeg specializes in the related fields of peacebuilding, community strengthening, youth engagement, and equity/inclusion, with a focus on race, class, and gender relations. Dr. Heeg is currently assisting with the Council of Michigan Foundations project to help design and implement a statewide evaluation for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation program in Michigan. As an implementer, evaluator, and researcher, Dr. Heeg is committed to cultural responsiveness and systems/complexity thinking. Dr. Heeg has years of experience working in the United States, as well as the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. Dr. Heeg has worked with United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the U.S. House of Representatives, and the U.S. Institute of Peace, and has taught at institutions including Texas A&M University and Smith College. She has also been a program director, technical advisor, team leader, trainer/facilitator, and evaluator for United Nations, USAID, U.S. Department of State, and privately funded programs in the United States and around the world.

Neema Meremo
Neema holds a Bachelor of Science in Human Resource Management
from Moi University. Passionate about human rights , especially girls’ rights with a history of working
with NGOs that work to eradicate #FGM & child marriage. Currently working with Hope for girls and
women Tanzania an NGO that shelters girls who are being forced to undergo FGM and also a volunteer at
Crowd2Map Tanzania as a lead community mapper(Mapping to end FGM). I am also passionate about
economic empowerment of the youth who are the nation’s largest population through various economic

Amelia Hunt
Amelia joined the HOT team in 2017 as Mapping Training and Project Assistant. Prior to this Amelia was part of the HOT Community as a volunteer, supporting research activities. In her role at HOT, Amelia provides support and training to community recipients of the Device Challenge grant and Microgrant programs. She also manages communications for the HOT Tanzania team. Amelia started her career in architecture, before switching paths to complete a Masters in International Communications & Development, where her research focused on the evolution of crowdsourced crisis mapping. She has previously worked within the international development sector in partnerships and communication roles.

About Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT)
HOT is an international team dedicated to humanitarian action and community development through open mapping. We work together to provide map data which revolutionises disaster management, reduces risks, and contributes to achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

About the Tanzania Development Trust
Tanzania Development Trust is a volunteer run charity that has been supporting grassroots projects in rural Tanzania for 43 years.
Crowd2Map has brought together over 9000 volunteers to map rural Tanzania, particularly those areas where girls are at risk of fgm so activists can better protect them.

About More to Life International
More To Life International is an organization bringing a global focus on the intricacies of mental health. We implement programs through education and media to create a stigma-free platform for people to develop a healthier psychological lifestyle. We provide resources for mental health education and suicide prevention. Today, hundreds of students within the United States and West Africa have participated in the various programs MTL offers.

Gustavo Payan
Gustavo Payan is an international development specialist with experience in conflict-affected and fragile environments. An impassioned advocate for youth violence prevention and education in crisis and conflict, he builds programs and influences policy to foster peace and security through promoting access to learning and livelihoods. Gustavo is currently the senior technical advisor and deputy chief of party of the USAID-funded “Asegurando la Educacion” project in Honduras, implemented by DAI.  He is also serving as a co-chair of the Advocacy Working Group from the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE).  Gustavo is an Edward Mason Fellow and mid-career MPA graduate from the Harvard Kennedy School. He also earned an MA in Sustainable International Development from Brandeis University. Gustavo is originally from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico and his favorite role is being a dad. 

Marja Denisse Anariba, 14
Marja is a 9th grade student of the Miguel Adoni Fernandez basic education center in the San Miguel District of Tegucigalpa, Honduras.  She is a student representative in the “Comité de Convivencia Escolar”—a school-based committee enabled by the Asegurando la Educación project comprised of students, teachers and parents that promotes healthy relationships among school community members.  In that role, Marja has helped to improve the school environment and raised awareness of school safety among her peers and teachers.  

Ayah Al-Oballi
Ayah Al-Oballi is the Senior Officer at Mercy Corps’ Regional Center for the Advancement of Adolescent Girls. In her role, Ayah spends most of her working hours consulting adolescent girls, and working with them. Prior to her work at the Center, Ayah interned with UNDP and UNICEF in Saudi Arabia and worked as an interpreter at the Center for Victims of Torture in Jordan. She holds a Master’s degree in Social Justice Education from University of Toronto.   

About The Regional Center for the Advancement of Adolescent Girls: 
The Regional Center for the Advancement of Adolescent Girls (The Center) is a knowledge and innovative hub that upholds the rights and well-being of adolescent girls by putting them in the lead to design, implement and evaluate their own programs. The Center aims to transform the role of girls from aid recipients and program participants to engaged, empowered leaders whose decisions and actions matter. By fostering girls’ leadership and identity building, the Center strives to break gender norms and stereotypes and promotes alternative and more positive images of girls in Arab societies. By sharing learnings from this innovative girl-led work, the voices of girls are amplified and peer agencies and key stakeholders better understand the need to intentionally incorporate girls’ priorities and opinions into their programs and services.

Access additional resources related to safe public spaces for youth.

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Monday, August 13, 2018 - 10:30am

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