YouthPower Newsletter January 2019

Welcome to the first YouthPower newsletter of 2019!

With the start of the new year, YouthPower Learning is excited to present new stories and resources for positive youth development (PYD) stakeholders. In this issue, we focus on grantees working in the field of youth in peacebuilding and security. Blog posts from young research grantees highlight the importance of dialogue in creating shared understanding, peace, and stability in their communities. In the coming months, stay tuned for webinars in which these researchers will further deepen our understanding of how youth civic engagement contributes to effective peacebuilding and mitigating extremism.  

Stories from Kenya, El Salvador, and Honduras highlight the array of PYD approaches across contexts – including in conflict areas – such as family and youth counseling in life skills as well as employment training. 

We invite you to access some of our latest resources, including our recent Honduras youth assessment, which examines challenges for Honduran youth and recommendations for initiatives that can provide solutions to improve their well-being and livelihood. YouthPower Action recently conducted a webinar focusing on emerging career pathways in the health and social services for youth in South Africa. 

Looking ahead, YouthPower Learning will be hosting a webinar on February 25th on the topic of adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) and HIV Index testing, so register soon! In March, we will be celebrating International Women’s Day; stay tuned for more about our Young Women Transform prize awardees. Visit to access many more resources and events that can help you improve your youth programming! Last but not least, visit, the online marketplace for young changemakers.

-The YouthPower Learning Team


Can promising policies, networks, and practices provide real solutions for Honduran youth?  
USAID/Honduras Development Objective 2 Youth Assessment Situational Analysis

Honduras is one of the poorest nations in the Americas, with approximately 65 percent of the population below the age of 29, and 42 percent between the ages of 10-29. To improve understanding of the status and aspirations of youth in western Honduras and facilitate its own strategic decision-making, USAID/Honduras engaged YouthPower Learning to conduct a Youth Assessment using a Positive Youth Development (PYD) lens. Read more about challenges for youth, their hopes, and promising new initiatives and policies here.

Empowering Youth to Overcome Health & Social Service Workforce Shortages: Opportunities and Challenges in South Africa

Featuring presenters from YouthPower Action, YouthPower Learning hosted a webinar that discussed how the youth bulge in sub-Saharan Africa can be harnessed to overcome severe shortages in the health and social sector workforce. Opportunities that are more accessible are emerging across the health and social sectors and associated value chains, in fields such as pharmacy and community health work. Many offer strong potential for advancement and professional development, especially for young women. Presenters shared learning about emerging jobs and career pathways for youth, while also taking an honest look at the systemic barriers that can exclude youth or limit advancement. While the webinar was focused on South Africa, many lessons can be applied in other countries.

Access the webinar recording and related resources.


February 15, 2019: Webinar: Understanding Data on Adolescents and Youth
February 22, 2019: UNA-USA 2019 Global Engagement Summit
February 25, 2019: YouthPower Learning Webinar: First, Do No Harm: Considerations for mitigating social harm risk in rolling out HIV index testing among AGYW
February 26, 2019: Webinar: Beyond Dividing Lines: Overcoming Challenges in Youth-Led Civic Engagement for Peace
March 11-15, 2019: 9th AfrEA International Conference 2019
March 20-21, 2019: Global Food Security Symposium 2019


Freedom to Move Forward: Reframing Juvenile Justice in Honduras

When Rosa Romero was asked to bring her two young grandsons before the government agency that oversees juvenile offenders, she feared her family would be pulled apart.

However, at the meeting, the family was instructed by a judge to go to Casa Alianza, a nonprofit organization that supports juvenile rehabilitation and reentry into society. Casa Alianza receives support from the Proponte Más secondary violence prevention project, and works with youth exiting the justice system or who have been recommended for programming as an alternative to detention. It is a resource hub where youth can receive support like counseling and job training. For youth struggling with homelessness, it is also a place to stay, with dormitories, a dining hall and 24/7 support for dozens of young men and women.

Axel, 17, Jordan, 14, and their grandmother have been working with Casa Alianza, welcoming instructors and counselors into their home and visiting the organization’s facility in Tegucigalpa on Saturdays for workshops on topics like drugs, sex education and the importance of family.

As the brothers participate in their workshops, Romero is also taking parenting classes aimed at helping her create a home environment in which Axel and Jordan can thrive. The goal is to ensure that the two teenagers have the tools and support they need to become successful adults – and keep them from returning to the justice system. Learn more

Contact: Evelyn Rupert:

How K-YES Program is Changing the Perception of Vocational Training

Four years ago, the Bahati Vocational Training Center began making huge strides to increase enrollment. At the time, the Center had only 30 students, and females in the group were showing scant interest in courses predominantly associated with men, like masonry and electrical wiring. Today, things are a lot different. Enrollment has increased 200 percent with an average of 100 students per year. Female student enrollment has increased by 40 percent, and their vocational preference is shifting. The center has seen an increase in female interest towards studying plumbing, masonry, and electrical wiring courses. These huge gains are a direct result of the Behavior Change Campaign spearheaded by the K-YES Program. 

 “As a result of the campaigns, we have managed to combat the stigma surrounding vocational training,” said Kepha Nyamwembe, the manager of the training center. The center is among many others in counties with a K-YES presence that completed the campaign on how to change the perception towards vocational training and increase enrollment. The training revolves around branding and messaging that helps to alleviate the stigma that surrounds vocational training, and best practices of how to package and disseminate content. 

Three years after the campaign began, the results are tangible. The center has invested in appropriate signage, produced and disseminated quality information, education & communication materials, developed a website, and implemented behavior change through key messaging aimed at demystifying vocational training. Read more.

Contact: Sarah Mattingly:

Using a Hands-On Approach to Highlight Youth Skills to Potential Employers

To promote life skills such as creativity, problem solving, and perseverance in El Salvadoran youth, USAID Bridges to Employment (Bridges) collaborated with the company INNBOX on November 14, 2018, to host an Extreme Design Thinking Lab as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week 2018 activities in San Salvador. Presented with a problem to solve within a short amount of time, youth worked in groups to brainstorm solutions, sketch a quick prototype, present their idea to representatives of participating companies, and print the prototype in 3-D. Through this one-of-a-kind event, private sector representatives had the opportunity to observe the youth’s thought process, creativity, logic, experimentation, and ability to work under pressure.  This lab also presented a new and hands-on way for companies to conduct job interviews, providing youth the opportunity to show off their skills and highlight their potential impact to employers. A total of 150 youth trained by Bridges and 70 other youth participated in the Extreme Design Thinking Lab. Learn more.

Contact: Caterina Valero:

K-YES Program Interventions Helping Curb Violent Extremism in Kwale, Kenya

In Kenya, challenging socio-economic conditions are a key root cause in either heightening violent extremism among youth. These conditions include unemployment, poverty, social and economic inequalities, dissatisfaction, and poor leadership. The K-YES Program’s engagement in an abundance of activities helps counter youth involvement in violent extremism. In Kwale County for instance, the program is conducting sensitization forums with youth to caution them against getting involved in extremist activities. The forums include trainings on responsible leadership, life skills, and mobilization to register and acquire National Identity Cards. The Program is partnering with other stake holders in the county, including youth leaders from the County Bunge Forum (a USAID supported youth leadership network), the county government, religious leaders, and potential employers to achieve the objective. Overall program interventions are helping to prevent the youth from radicalization, with nearly 4,000 receiving new or improved jobs. K-YES is happy to play a role in turning the youth from the devastating consequences that can come about due to unemployment and economic disparities. Read more.

Contact: Sarah Mattingly:


YouthPower Learning Resources

Monitoring, Evaluation, Research, and Learning (MERL)

Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance

Economic Growth, Education, and Environment




Find more resources and events at

Reminder: Please share evidence and learnings from your work that helps answer the call from the PYD Learning Agenda. Send your contributions to the PYD Learning Agenda via email to


Your name