YouthPower Newsletter August 2018


This year’s International Youth Day, on August 12, focuses on the theme of safe public spaces for youth. This term can mean different things to different young people, and it can contribute to Positive Youth Development in a variety of ways. In this edition of the YouthPower newsletter, we share new resources and events related to safe public spaces for youth. 

To celebrate International Youth Day, YouthPower Learning will be hosting a webinar on August 13 during which implementers and young leaders from around the world will define what safe public spaces means to them. In preparation for the event, we asked several young changemakers to share their own visions of safe public spaces. Their responses were inspiring and thought-provoking, so we felt compelled to share them with you here. 

Don’t miss the upcoming events organized in celebration of the International Youth Day. Read the responses from young changemakers. And, last but not least, visit to access many more resources that can help you improve your youth programming! 

-YouthPower Learning Team


Upcoming Webinar: Maximizing Youth Potential and Contribution: Incorporating Safe Public Spaces in Positive Youth Development Programs

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. 

In honor of International Youth Day, the webinar will showcase examples of safe public spaces in international development – some youth-led, some designed and implemented by international youth-serving 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 benefited from them. 

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

How Youth Define Safe Public Spaces

YouthPower Learning asked a group of young changemakers to define what the term safe public spaces means to them, how important they are, and what the main success factors are.

What does “safe spaces” mean for you?

“What safe spaces mean to me is a progressive supportive environment where young people thrive. An environment where youth are seen as assets and not problems to be solved. an environment where young people are active contributors to the development of their communities as changemakers and disruptors. Safes spaces mean a world where young men and women are equipped with the skills that they need for their social-emotional and physical well-being.” 

How important are “safe spaces” in your environment or for your personal situation?

"Safe spaces lead to youth personal growth. When youth have a sense of belonging and are actively involved in education, employment, or entrepreneurship, as well as active policy and decision making, it leads to the growth of the community.”

“It's very important to me to have a space like this, a space to tell my opinions freely and to have a right to participate in decision making in my environment.” 

What elements are important for the successful implementation of “safe spaces”? What needs to be in place?

“Intergenerational collaboration…[and by providing] opportunities for participatory learning and development. Enhanced life conditions…life skills, increased economic opportunities and well-structured systems for education, employment,  [and] entrepreneurship.”

Their responses demonstrate the importance of these spaces. Read all the responses.

Other Resources and Events for International Youth Day

Many organizations are hosting events related to Safe Public Spaces on the occasion of International Youth Day. Among them are Banyan Global, who will be hosting a panel discussion on safe spaces for youth in the private sector; the Young Americas Business Trust (YABT), who will be hosting a youth virtual dialogue on #SafeSpaces4Youth; a Workforce Development Panel in Nigeria; and  social media activities organized by Catholic Relief Services. Toolkits and “how-to” documents are among the resources developed for safe public spaces. Access a selection of helpful resources and events to learn more.

Unpacking Career Centers

YouthPower Learning’s Cross-sectoral Skills Community of Practice recently hosted the first in a series of webinars, co-hosted with the USAID-funded Workforce Connections project, focused on Workforce Development and Higher Education. This first webinar, “Unpacking Career Centers”, concentrated on the impact that Career Centers can have on youth transition into the workforce and into self-employment.  Many countries are experimenting with various models of Career Centers, both physical and virtual. Looking closely at USAID’s Career Center programs in Morocco and Egypt, this webinar shared lessons learned and best practices.

YouthPower Action Provides Valuable Toolkit for Mentoring Adolescent Girls and Young Women

Adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) are disproportionately affected by HIV and other negative sexual and reproductive health (SRH) outcomes: over 80 percent of new HIV infections among adolescents occur among AGYW ages 15–19 in eastern and southern Africa. Efforts to alleviate these constraints are underway; for example, many countries are beginning to tighten laws related to early marriage and gender-based violence.

Over the past two decades, mentoring has been increasingly used as an intervention strategy for encouraging positive youth development. Mentoring is an approach that seeks to promote good outcomes for young people by engaging youth along with their families and communities to foster constructive relationships and build the protective assets they need to succeed.

Group-based mentoring programs have demonstrated promise in building AGYW’s protective assets and in potentially improving their reproductive health outcomes; they have also demonstrated a positive impact on reproductive health knowledge and behavior, academic achievement, financial behavior, and social networks, as well as reductions in the experience of violence.
It is within this context that YouthPower Action developed the mentoring program for AGYW. The YouthPower Action mentoring program is a multi-component intervention including group-based mentoring; curricula-based programming covering sexual and reproductive health, financial capabilities, soft skills, and gender content; activities designed to improve participants’ social connectedness; optional onsite STI, HIV, and pregnancy testing along with STI treatment; group-based savings; and links to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services, including contraceptive and gender-based violence services. YouthPower Action introduced this program in both Uganda and Burundi in 2017 and is continuing to expand.

Stay tuned for a forthcoming webinar. 

Access the toolkit.


August 9, 2018: Creating Safe Spaces for Youth with the Private Sector
August 13, 2018: Youth Dialogue on #SafeSpaces4Youth
August 13, 2018: YouthPower Learning Webinar: Maximizing Youth Potential and Contribution: Incorporating Safe Public Spaces in Positive Youth Development Programs
August 16, 2018: Workforce Development Panel
August 28, 2018: YouthPower Learning Webinar: Inclusive Approaches for Engaging Youth with Disabilities
September 18-22, 2018: Youth Peacebuilders Forum on Shaping the Narrative
September 25-27, 2018: Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summit
September 26-28, 2018: 13th International Conference on ICT for Development, Education, & Skills


Advocating for LGBT youths' access to education in Nicaragua

LGBT youth from the Caribbean Coast’s many distinct ethnic minority groups can also face double discrimination – like López, who is Creole and gay. In the Caribbean Coast, which has higher rates of poverty and violence than the rest of Nicaragua, LGBT people are particularly vulnerable.

The Youth Advisory Council, established by Aprendo y Emprendo in 2017, meets regularly to discuss obstacles and solutions to youth pursuing technical careers. And with representation from LGBT activists like López, youth with disabilities and a wide range of ethnicities, the council members serve as important advocates for marginalized groups. “In youth counseling, we talk about values such as respect, love, harmony and coexistence, addressing LGBT rights,” James says. “In soft skills curriculum, we have presented case studies with the participation of members of the LGBT community.”

Despite the challenges he’s faced, López considers himself lucky – unlike many of his LGBT peers, his family has always supported him. Read more about López and the Aprendo Y Emprendo project.

Contact: Evelyn Rupert

Empleando Futuros joins government review in Honduras

On June 26, the USAID/Honduras Office of Education joined the Minister of Education, the Deputy Minister for Prevention, and a representative from President Hernandez’s office to review nine US government-funded education projects. The purpose of the review was to increase awareness of what each project is doing in the country in order to encourage greater cooperation and collaboration between the projects and government officials.

The Empleando Futuros project was invited to present at the meeting. One recommendation called for greater emphasis on life skills and basic reading and math skills in the public education system in Honduras in order to directly respond to labor market needs. Two youth project participants also contributed to the meeting as recent graduates of the Empleando Futuros training program. Learn more.

Contact: Lindsey Spanner

With alternative justice, youth find new hope

Matías was 12 years old when he left his family and joined a gang. It wasn’t long before he was arrested and sentenced to a juvenile detention facility, where he began to endure threats and harassment from other gang members. Matías, now 17, wanted to free himself of the gang and pursue his true passion of soccer, but facing several years in detention, he wasn’t sure if it would be possible. Judge Bella Torres decided to give him a second chance. Through her membership in the Proponte Más-facilitated Juvenile Justice Technical Committee, Torres had learned how detaining youth could actually increase their risk factors for engaging with crime and violence in the future, such as through the negative peer influence of other detainees. In consultation with the committee, Torres switched Matías’ sentence to an alternative measure and found a local organization that could give him support.

Through the Juvenile Justice Technical Committee, Proponte Más is working with judges, lawyers, advocates and elected officials to strengthen alternative sentencing in Honduras and reduce the number of juvenile detainees. A major part of this push is the idea of risk differentiation, recognizing that two youth engaged in crime may in fact be at very different levels of risk and need distinct interventions to help them reduce those risk factors. For Matías, alternative measures have given him a chance to continue his schooling, learn new skills and refocus his energies on something positive. Read more.

Contact: Evelyn Rupert


YouthPower Learning Resources

Monitoring, Evaluation, Research and Learning (MERL)

Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance

Economic Growth, Education, and Environment





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