YouthPower Annual Learning Network Meeting
September 27, 2016
On September 27th, the second YouthPower Annual Learning Network meeting took place in Washington, D.C. The invitation-only meeting included a Youth Panel of YSEALI alumni and provided an opportunity to learn about major innovations from YouthPower IDIQ members that have broad applicability. The innovations were presented as lightning talks. The lightning talk session and the preceding conversation with YSEALI alumni were livestreamed on Tuesday, September 27th, 8:45 am ET – 11 am ET. The recordings, presentations and publications shared during the event are accessible below.
1. What We Know and Don’t Know: Positive Youth Development in Low- to Middle-Income Countries
Martie Skinner, PhD
Organization: University of Washington, Making Cents International IDIQ partner
Positive youth development (PYD) programs, which have a long history in the Western context have been shown to improve outcomes for young people across multiple sectors. The YouthPower Learning team recently undertook a broad review of peer reviewed and grey literature to learn what PYD programming has been conducted in low- and middle-income countries, and to assess the evidence that PYD strategies work in this context. This presentation includes a thumbnail sketch of the variety of programs we discovered and some highlights of successful PYD programs in low- and middle-income countries.
2. Youth Action Mapper and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Organization: Creative Associates International, Implementation IDIQ holder
For the first time in history, we have the chance to build a truly inclusive, equitable, and sustainable world. This is the promise of the Global Goals for Sustainable Development (SDGs). We can meet the Global Goals, but only if each of us, including youth who now make up half the world’s population, is engaged in a real, sustained way on making and measuring progress on the Goals. The SDG Youth Action Mapper puts the power of a mobile app and online mapping tool into the hands of youth and others, equipping them to map, make and measure progress towards the Global Goals. Youth Action Mapper is also a broad and growing coalition of international, national, and local organizations working to advance the common goals of engaging youth around progress towards the Global Goals through mapping, mobilization, and measurement. In this lightning talk, we’ll show you how it works, and discuss pilot initiatives and global plans.
3. Youth Voices: Putting Young People at the Center of the Youth Unemployment Conversation
Organization: RTI International, Implementation IDIQ holder
The GroundTruth Project and the Global Center for Youth Employment, with support from by RTI International, the Ford Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation, launched Youth Voices - a pioneering digital initiative that seeks to tell stories of the global youth employment crisis as seen, heard, and felt by young people around the world. In March, we asked youth from Zambia to the Philippines to New Zealand, "What is your dream job? What's standing in your way?" We gathered over 400 potent stories from dozens of countries and then asked a panel of representatives from organizations such as Children International, MIT’s Poverty Action Lab, Year Up, and others to select 35 compelling entries from dozens of countries to be published in a series of articles with the Huffington Post and GroundTruth Project. Learn about our future plans and how you can become involved in this exciting initiative.
4. Identifying and Measuring Soft Skills for Cross-Sectoral Youth Development
Organization: FHI 360, Implementation IDIQ holder
Evidence is abundant that soft skills (or personal qualities, competencies, or attributes) help youth to succeed across multiple areas of their lives. As part of USAID’s YouthPower mechanism, this research contributes to the field by identifying soft skills that lead to positive outcomes across the fields of workforce success, violence prevention, and sexual and reproductive health. We identify a key set of cross-sectoral soft skills that enjoy strong support across all three youth outcome areas. Come learn which skills should be included in every youth development program. The ability to measure these soft skills across sectors is key for programs seeking to build these skills among youth. This research effort has created and analyzed an inventory of tools that measure youth soft skills in order to help practitioners navigate the diverse landscape of tools and select appropriate tools for assessing the development of youths' soft skills within a particular program.
5. Building Entrepreneurship on the Road: A “Shark Tank”-like Approach
Organization: Banyan Global, Implementation IDIQ holder
The ‘Building Entrepreneurship on the Road: a “Shark Tank”-like approach’ is based on a public-private partnership project related to at-risk youth and human trafficking. A youth-focused video was produced (with MTV’s help), and a team organized public showings in eight Mexican cities in collaboration with a local movie theatre company (Cinepolis in Mexico). The screens were large portable movie screens that allowed viewing by dozens if not hundreds of people. In most towns there were 100 – 200 participants, and in one town there were close to one thousand people watching. After the short video was shown, the “youth facilitators” engaged the audience in a Q&A and hosted games that created spaces for dialogue in small groups. This “Shark Tank”-like idea for YouthPower can be used to create a video about entrepreneurship, led by youth entrepreneurs, that would evaluate business plans and proposals from youth. The video can be fun, dynamic, but also serious, and get people excited about the issues and challenges that surface when one is thinking about starting, strengthening, or expanding a micro- or small business. These types of public learning events held in small neighborhoods and communities where there is little entertainment tend to be a big hit, especially when held in public squares, community centers, or schools. The “Shark Tank” format on TV has been one of the more successful programs watched by whole families, not just adults or youth. In this case, the road trip and local presentations would encourage family dialogue around business entrepreneurship in microeconomic settings where there are many family-led or family-supported businesses. The video can generate discussion about business planning, product and service quality, marketing, inventory, market demand, attention to clients, business expansion, cash flow, use of credit, return on investment, business location, and more.
6. How Can YouthPower.org Be Leveraged as the True Learning Hub for Youth, Implementers, and Other Key Stakeholders?
Organization: Making Cents International, Evidence and Evaluation IDIQ holder
YouthPower.org is the Learning Hub for YouthPower and supports the cross-sectoral youth learning network through dissemination of research, evaluation, and learning products. The platform has been designed to accommodate all project-generated, publicly available material, as well as PYD-relevant information, and includes the option for content uploads by individual content creators. This session will present achievements to-date and planned enhancements in FY’17. During the roundtable discussion, participants will have an opportunity to provide feedback, understand how to contribute content directly, and discuss content strategy questions for the website.
7. Youth-led Qualitative Research to Inform Programming: An Approach for Youth-led Rapid Assessments
Organization: IREX, Global Communities IDIQ partner
Many youth projects employ youth-led or participatory youth assessments to inform project planning. While youth engagement in program design is in line with best practices in positive youth development (PYD), it can be difficult to adhere to tight program timelines and donor expectations for program outcomes while ensuring authentic youth engagement. This example of a data-intensive youth-led rapid assessment process demonstrates the results of a rigorous qualitative data collection and analysis process conducted both by and for youth for a USAID-funded program. As we found, the results of a well-facilitated process met the timeline and donor expectation while simultaneously achieving the following: genuinely charting the course for a long-term program; building lasting stakeholder buy-in to the project; and building key soft skills, including higher-order research, analysis, communication, public speaking, and teamwork skills in participating youth.
8. Young People at the Heart of Humanitarian Action
Organization: Restless Development, FHI 360 IDIQ partner
Young people are always affected by humanitarian crises but they also have the agency and capacity to lead in the response. With Restless Development, young women and men have led responses to Ebola in Sierra Leone and earthquake recovery in Nepal. Consulting young people during and following a humanitarian crisis can improve future responses. A youth-led accountability approach to the aftermath of a crisis will help shape the design and development of humanitarian responses to be even more effective.
9. Positive Youth Development Capacity Building
Kristin Brady,YouthPower Action, FHI 360, Implementation IDIQ holder, and Amy Ucello, USAID
YouthPower Action developed and implemented a Positive youth development curriculum for USAID including a four-day and one-day curriculum. This curriculum covered adolescent development, positive youth development, youth engagement, life and soft skills, and cross-sectoral youth programming across the USAID program cycle. YouthPower Action carried out “Training of Training” program and USAID is now implementing the curriculum as part of “USAID University”.
10. Measuring Positive Youth Development in Low- to Middle-Income Countries: PYD Indicators Toolkit
Laura Hinson, PhD, MPH
Organization: ICRW, Making Cents International IDIQ partner
Positive youth development (PYD) programs—such as those that meaningfully engage youth to support the development of youths’ agency and asset-building and enhance young people’s ability to contribute positively to their communities and societies—have a long history in the Western context. In recent years, PYD programs are beginning to enter the development arena. PYD programs in the United States have been shown to successfully influence multiple sectors including HIV, sexual and reproductive health, workforce development and democracy, as well as conflict and humanitarian assistance. The challenges to working with and for youth in developing countries are unique. Therefore, new approaches to understanding and measuring PYD must be considered. In this presentation, we will discuss a framework for measuring PYD that is currently being developed for USAID’s YouthPower initiative. This framework contains four key domains that link to indicators that encompass the critical elements of PYD.
11. Catholic Relief Services’ YouthBuild (JóvenesConstructores): Co-Assessment for Soft Skills
Organization: Catholic Relief Services (CRS), RTI International IDIQ partner
Catholic Relief Services’ Youth Build (Jovenes Constructores) program utilizes a unique tool for assessing soft skills acquisition with participants. Our co-evaluation is an assessment tool that is used by the youth participating in the program and filled out with a facilitator. The aim is to promote self-appraisal regarding certain competencies that are required to graduate from the program. It measures 25 basic competencies, such as attendance, punctuality, communication, conflict resolution, teamwork, quality of work, and appropriate attire among others, which are required to keep a job or successfully achieve the targets outlined in the individual’s development plan, whether they relate to employment, education, or personal growth. As these competencies are subtle and hard to quantify, the young person is requested to self-assess on a scale, enabling the facilitating team to carry out activities focused on reinforcing specific competencies. Learn what happens the second time the youth complete the assessment. We will also share a highly successful technique we use to help make youth more self-aware and advance their soft skills.
12. Youth Training: Leading with Attitude and Skills
Organization: Making Cents International, Evidence and Evaluation IDIQ holder
With this training, design lessons are not built around knowledge acquisition but around Attitude and Skills development. This approach spins the KSAs (i.e. knowledge, skills, and attitudes) around to see it as ASKs (i.e. attitudes, skills, and knowledge). Experience has shown that addressing attitudes and developing skills has a greater impact on behavior change than approaches that lead with knowledge.
13. Sexual and Reproductive Health: Workforce Research
Organization: FHI 360, Implementation IDIQ holder
Youth Power Action’s workforce development and sexual and reproductive health (SRH) research seeks to answer the question: “what intervention elements yield the best outcomes for youth?” The research began by identifying integrated workforce and SRH programs and codifying what is known about them in an inventory. From the inventoried data, we developed a typology of integrated workforce and SRH programs. We then analyzed the typology, showing common elements and gaps between programming and research. A theory of change emerged from a deeper analysis of programs with impact evaluations, which lead us to a “best practices” theory of change, which can be applied to inform research and programming globally.
14. Generation: Taking Youth Employment to Scale
Organization: McKinsey Social Initiative, Creative Associates International IDIQ partner
Generation is a global youth employment program that aims to support one million young people to achieve skills and jobs across five countries (US, Spain, India, Kenya, and Mexico) in five years. Generation sits under the McKinsey Social Initiative, an independent non-profit founded by McKinsey & Company. Launched in 2015, Generation is now live in 23 cities around the world and 55+ locations. Generation has supported over 8,000 youth to date, and will reach over 10,000 youth by December 2016, which will make it one of the world's largest global youth employment programs. Generation has a 91 percent employment rate by graduation day and 400+ employers, of whom nearly 85 percent say that Generation graduates outperform their peers and 98 percent of whom would hire from Generation again. Generation graduates earn salaries that place them above the 50th income percentile in their country, and over 60 percent of our graduates are female.
Youth Perspectives with YSEALI alumni
Facilitator: Hillary Proctor, Director, Technical Services, Making Cents International
Ryan Yan Liang Ng, Co-Founder- Society Staples, Singapore
Phuong Mai Pham, Student - Foreign Trade University Hanoi, Vietnam
Marianne Beau Goldy Yancha, Associate Director- IdeaSpace Foundation, Philippines