Grants provided under YouthPower Learning
Inspired by research needs and topics identified by the Communities of Practice and in response to other research needs, YouthPower Learning uses grants under contract to engage with youth and contribute to the learning of the network. Since inception, ten grants have been awarded.
The objective of the first RFA and grant program was to engage US and developing country youth-serving and youth-led non-profit and for-profit organizations in efforts to further assess, evaluate, document and disseminate innovative work in positive youth development (PYD) and cross-sectoral youth programming.
The following grantees were selected:
• Education Development Center, Inc.: Identifying Cross-Cutting Non-Cognitive Skills for Positive Youth Development
• JA Worldwide: Amplifying the Voice of Young People around the World
• Komo Learning Centres: KLC Youth-Led Club Documentary Project
• Restless Development: Inspire, Influence and Inform: a video series highlighting young people’s role in Positive Youth Development programs
The objective of the second RFA and grant program was to advance the evidence base for gender-transformative positive youth development.
The following grantees were selected:
• Mercy Corps: Girl Research and Learning Power (GRL Power)
• Waves for Change: Moving beyond data disaggregation: utilizing evaluation systems to promote gender equality in sports development for youth at scale
The objective of the third RFA and grant program was to advance the evidence base for youth civic engagement in effective peacebuilding or in countering / prevention of violent extremism.
The following grantees were selected:
• Association Malienne pour la Survie au Sahel (AMSS)
• United Network of Young Peacebuilders (UNOY)
• Equal Access
Identifying Cross-Cutting Non-Cognitive Skills for Positive Youth Development
The goal of this grant was to improve understanding of how mismatches in youth’s and stakeholders’ perceptions of soft skills, as well as gendered perceptions of soft skills, can affect a youth’s employment or education outcomes. This study was designed to increase understanding of the measurement and expression of soft skills in different contexts by engaging youth’s voices, employers, and educators in declaring what soft skills are considered valuable. It explored country contexts and sector contexts in determining what soft skills are valuable to youth across both the education and employment sectors. This research focused on building upon and leveraging three active youth development projects: Akazi Kanoze/Rwanda, Advancing Youth/Liberia and MYDev/Philippines. This study allowed for a deeper investigation into how a youth’s life satisfaction correlates with his or her perception of which soft skills are most valuable, with his or her Big Five Inventory score, and with stakeholders’ perceptions of which soft skills are most valuable. Such inquiry allows for a greater understanding of how to improve youth’s skills that results in employment across sectors, engages youth voices, and promotes positive youth development by being responsive to youth’s preconceptions about their lives and places in the world.
1) a photo gallery event shared images captured by youth participants that portrayed the soft skills they valued in context and environment. , and
2) a written report, A Study on Cross-Cutting Non-Cognitive Skills: Uncovering Youth’s Values, which describes findings obtained through analysis of survey data and focus group discussion data supported by youth’s photographic representations of the soft skills they value.
This grant, in partnership with JA Worldwide's global network, will work with six young people to create a set of videos (four full-length videos, and two “insta-videos”) that document the experiences of participants in the grantee’s program that engages high-school-aged students in organizing and operating an actual business. Working in partnership with these students, the JA Worldwide will define a framework to focus the videos' messages to clearly illustrate the benefits of engaging youth in programming. Additionally, the project will aim to ensure inclusion of stories with gender, ethnicity, age, urban/rural balance in mind. With a focus on five geographic regions (Africa, Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe and Middle East and North Africa), this project aims to highlight the stories of the youth JA Worldwide work with in the context of key global issues (e.g., growing youth population, financial literacy and inclusion, youth unemployment, secondary-school drop-out rates, marginalized youth, female inclusivity and family support). these co-produced videos will bring the ‘human’ element to youth empowerment activities by highlighting personal journeys with a youth voice.
The ultimate goal is to share the deeply transformative impact of engaging youth in societies. JA Worldwide offers a lens to youth engagement that demonstrates its multiple facets within one type of program that cuts across countries and continents. This video series will provide insights on how to shape youth engagement within a program framework that is culturally responsive.
KLC Youth-Led Club Documentary Project
This grant produced nine videos detailing the concept, activities, challenges, and lessons learned of the grantee’s Youth-Led Club (YLC), established in February 2016, and has provided an opportunity for young people to meaningfully contribute. The videos document the first year of the YLC – from recruitment and leadership elections, to designing and implementing YLC activities. YLC members and their youth leadership have been involved in conceiving, designing, and shooting the videos. They have structured the videos, given their perspective in interviews, conducted interviews with other youth and community members, received training on video equipment operation, taken part in the technical shooting of the video, participated in post-production editing, and reviewed and provided feedback on the videos before they were finalized. This grantee offers a lens to youth engagement that demonstrates an in-depth approach within one local program. These videos provide a “day in the life” type of insight on how to set up youth-led clubs and showcase the challenges, successes, and process of establishing and maintaining a youthled club over a year.
All nine videos can be viewed online:
YLC Concept, Impacts, and Expectations;
Recruitment and Club Structure;
Community Needs Assessment, Activity Prioritization, and Decision-Making;
Capacity Building through Trainings and Workshops;
Activity Planning and Design;
Activity Implementation and Evaluation;
Gender and Age Issues;
YLC Challenges, Solutions, and Benefits; and
The Process Of Making the Video Series.
In addition, Komo Learning Centres has held workshops with Ugandan stakeholders (e.g., at the National Youth Working Group Meeting) to present project findings, start a dialogue on meaningful youth engagement, and document stakeholder feedback.
Inspire, Influence and Inform: A Video Series Highlighting Young People’s Role in Positive Youth Development Programs
This grant has created a video series – approximately 10-15 short videos from a variety of contexts (in 3 countries across Africa and South Asia minimum) – directly featuring the perspectives and experiences of young people. The videos address the benefits, impacts, best practices and challenges of youth engagement in order to inspire and influence the development sector on why youth engagement is important and beneficial, as well as to inform the sector on how to do youth engagement successfully. The grantee has produced a series of interconnected videos on multiple elements of youth engagement through which an audience member can click through to learn and explore. The videos answer a series of key questions and topics, determined by the experience of the grantee and the needs identified in conversation with the YouthPower Learning community, by featuring the grantee’s networks of young people who have been engaged in and lead its programs. In addition, the grantee developed 1-2 questions for youth and youth-led organizations covering more countries and all regions of the world, and ask young people to make and submit a video response. These have been edited into a compilation video.
Watch the video series here
This series of videos can serve as a promotional and training resource for the entire YouthPower community including USAID Missions, private sector companies, research organizations, INGO partners, young people, and youthled organizations. It will be a go-to source of supporting information and guidance on best practices and insights into youth engagement for PYD. This grantee offers a broad lens to youth engagement, demonstrating multiple facets and applications of youth engagement across contexts, programs and individuals. This video series illustrates to viewers how to do youth engagement in a variety of settings.
- Establish and build the skills, knowledge and capacity of a group of girl researchers who can provide research services to the broader development community;
- Demonstrate the capacity of adolescent girls as researchers and the impact of investing in their empowerment; and
- Document and share lessons around the design and measurement of the impact that adolescent girls can have in mobilizing communities to foster safer public spaces and to reduce the potential for gender-based violence (GBV).
Waves for Change
Moving beyond data disaggregation: utilizing evaluation systems to promote gender equality in sports development for youth at scale
This grant will help ensure that the South Africa-based Waves for Change (W4C) Surf Therapy program design maximizes holistic gender equality. This, in turn, will inform wider policy for improving gender equality in PYD programs—especially sports-based programs—in community-led initiatives, which will benefit both W4C’s network and the wider youth development community.
W4C will use this grant to develop a framework for a gender-sensitive, systematic monitoring, evaluation, learning, and adaptation cycle. This will enable its staff to improve gender norms through a community-led initiative in areas where locals believe girls cannot do the same things as boys. This project builds on W4C’s ongoing innovative programmatic efforts to address gender barriers to participation and will enable W4C to maximize equality through gender-sensitive research expertise, coupled with data analysis and knowledge translation. To meet the proposed goal and objective of this grant, W4C will complete a full cycle of monitoring, evaluation, learning, and adaptation, taking advantage of an experiment within W4C programming around the inclusion of female participants.