Community of Practice (COP)
Gender and Positive Youth Development

We are a community of youth-serving individuals that promotes gender and positive youth development integration across development programming. We do this through collective sharing and learning about: what works, how to measure efforts, and how to support application of knowledge.


Working toward gender equality is essential for young people to achieve their full potential and to grow into healthy, thriving, and contributing members of their communities and countries. Gender-transformative and gender-synchronized approaches bring a critical lens that intersects in powerful ways with positive youth development approaches. This community aims to identify and explore these key points of intersection in order to support development practitioners who aim to empower adolescent girls, engage men and boys in programs more effectively, seek to end gender-based violence, or work to close gender gaps through fostering systems that promote gender equality. 


Our membership includes youth development practitioners dedicated to ensuring gender-sensitive, gender-transformative, and gender-synchronized approaches are integrated into all aspects of positive youth development programs. Members represent organizations big and small, profit and non-profit, local and international. We welcome any members interested in keeping up with gender and PYD efforts in different geographic regions and programming sectors, including but not limited to: workforce development; health; education; economic empowerment; democracy, human rights, and governance; and youth leadership.

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  • Promote gender integration in YouthPower programming with the aim of promoting gender and PYD integration across development programming
  • Transform gender and age-related norms through gender-synchronized approaches and engaging men and boys in PYD programs
  • Address gender-based violence through PYD programs
  • Close gender gaps among youth by fostering systems that promote gender equality
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  • ​Providing recommended entry points and guidelines for gender-transformative and positive youth development programs
  • Curating gender, girl-focused, and PYD resources and tools
  • Hosting a working group on adolescent girls to develop recommendations for gender-sensitive indicators for positive youth development programs
  • Hosting webinars on various topics including what youth engagement looks like in the field
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CoP Resources:

Other Resources:

  • United States Government (2016). United States Global Strategy to Empower Adolescent Girls. Mimeo. Washington, D.C.
  • United States Agency for International Development. (2012) Gender Equality and Female Empowerment.
  • Greene, M., & Levack, A. (2010). Synchronizing Gender Strategies: A Cooperative Model for Improving Reproductive Health and Transforming Gender Relations. Interagency Gender Working Group Publication, Washington, DC.
  • Gilles, Kate. (2015). Gender Equality Inside and Out: Gender Mainstreaming in International Development Organizations. Population Reference Bureau.
  • Health Communication Capacity Collaborative. Gender Transformative Approaches, An HC3 Primer



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Dr. Chisina Kapungu, Senior Youth and Gender Advisor, ICRW

Dr. Kapungu has nearly 15 years of experience as a clinical psychologist and community-based researcher with expertise in adolescent health, sexual and reproductive health and HIV/AIDS. The foundation of her clinical and research work has been to improve health outcomes for women and girls in partnerships with health providers, community-based organizations, and government institutions. Prior to joining ICRW, Chisina was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology with a joint appointment at the Center for Research on Women and Gender and the University of Illinois at Chicago. 

Chelsea Ricker, Independent Consultant

Chelsea Ricker is a lifelong sexual and reproductive rights activist who works across a broad spectrum of countries, issue areas, and partnerships, with a focus on young people’s sexual health and rights. She works primarily on access to and quality of comprehensive sexuality education, rights related to sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, sexual and gender based violence prevention and response, and meaningful participation of young people, key populations, and civil society in programs and policy. Chelsea holds an MA with distinction in Education, Health Promotion and International Development from the Institute of Education in London, a BA in Religion and Human Rights from Columbia University in New York and studied Sexuality, Culture and Society at the University of Amsterdam.


Lindsey Woolf, YouthPower Learning Project Manager, Making Cents International  

Lindsey Woolf, MSc, is an international development project manager and youth organizing specialist with experience leading and facilitating youth-led organizations, movements and campaigns, as well as developing youth leadership programming and trainings. Lindsey holds an MSc in Anthropology and Development Management from the London School of Economics. 

Former Co-Champion

Katie Green, MIA, independent consultant in international positive youth development 

Katie Green is an international development professional with experience and commitment to expanding opportunities for young people, especially girls, to reach their fullest potential, transform their own lives and their communities. Her experience includes: providing on-going technical support to improve quality programming; staff development and training; as well as conducting assessment and evaluation for continuous improvement. Katie is an enthusiastic advocate for positive and youth-led development.

Former Co-Champion

Diana Santillán, Senior Gender and Evaluation Specialist, currently EnCompass, formerly ICRW

Diana Santillán is EnCompass’ Senior Gender and Evaluation Specialist, with 25 years of experience in research, evaluation, training, and technical assistance to advance gender equality in international health and development. She has worked for various international organizations and academic institutions in diverse settings, including Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, and Asia. Before joining Encompass, she was the Senior Sexual and Reproductive Health Specialist at the International Center for Research on Women, where she provided technical oversight for research studies.