YouthPower Learning Newsletter October 2018


The past few months have been an exciting time for YouthPower, culminating with the YouthPower Annual Learning Network Meeting on September 18 in Washington D.C.. The meeting brought together positive youth development (PYD) champions, YouthPower consortia members, and program implementers and researchers who shared their vast knowledge and evidence-based approaches to support the effectiveness of PYD programming. 

Once again, the event served as a testimony to the reach and impact of PYD. This year’s meeting hosted 174 in-person attendees, with an additional 110 registered to watch the Lightning Talks in a live stream. USAID’s Elizabeth Berard and Michael McCabe kicked off the meeting, emphasizing the importance of youth engagement in USAID policy and programming. USAID’s Michelle Bekkering announced the winners of the Young Women Transform Prize, showcasing the importance of young women’s economic inclusion and empowerment in development.
A panel of young leaders and a youth-led activity provided inspiration and added energy to the meeting. Other panels highlighted USAID's journey to self-reliance approach, successful program scaling, and the launch of the PYD Learning Agenda. Attendees learned from PYD approaches applied in YouthPower implementation projects in Nicaragua and El Salvador. Evaluators and researchers then shared their successes and challenges in measuring PYD and engaging youth in research activities. Program implementers, youth advocates, and researchers shared innovations for youth programming through 14 lightning talks, followed by 27 round table discussions and 7 poster sessions. Participants also saw a preview of YouthLead, an exciting new online platform for young global change makers, which launched last month.

We encourage you to explore the annual meeting on, and take advantage of the many PYD resources available on our website. 

The YouthPower Learning Team


October 22, 2018: Global Health Mini-University (Mini-U)
October 28-November 3, 2018: American Evaluation Association Conference
November 7-9, 2018: African Youth SDGs Summit 2018
November 12, 2018: Achieving Gender Equality by 2030: Putting Adolescents on the Agenda
November 14, 2018: Africa Emerging Leaders Conference (AELC) 2018
December 3-4, 2018: World Bank Youth Summit 2018: Unleashing the Power of Human Capital

YouthPower Annual Learning Network Meeting: Summaries, Resourecs, and Recordings

Michelle Bekkering, USAID, opens the 2018 YouthPower Annual Learning Network Meeting in Washington, D.C.
Michelle Bekkering, USAID, opens the 2018 YouthPower Annual Learning Network Meeting in Washington, D.C.

Summary of Lightning Talks

Lightning talks gave participants at the Annual Meeting quick highlights of major innovative ideas, approaches, and tools that have broad applicability in youth programming. Below is a list of the morning and afternoon lightning talks.

Morning Lightning Talks
1. Dooit: It’s Simple to Save! Save the Children’s Mobile Application for Financial Literacy in Indonesia (Save the Children)
2. Community Schools and Migrant Latino Youth: A Cross-Sector Approach (Glasswing)
3. Democratizing Innovation in the Americas: Empowering Youth to Innovate for Social and Economic Development (Trust for the Americas)
4. Physical Computing: Youth Learning to Code (Creative Associates)
5. Radicalization and Empowerment: Re-framing Human Potential to Strengthen Youth Civic Engagement (Lessons from Nigeria)  (Equal Access)
6. Quality Assurance Framework for Youth-Serving Vocational Training Centers: Experience from Indonesia and Kenya (RTI)
7. What You Promised Us: Moving Youth FP Policies Off of Shelves and Into Practice (Population Reference Bureau)

Watch the Morning Lightning Talks video and access the slides.

Afternoon Lightning Talks
1. Leveraging the Power of Media for Youth Employment (BBC Media Action)
2. Digital Exchange and its Role in Youth Peacebuilding and Violence Prevention (World Learning)
3. Training and Jobs for the Double Migration Challenge in El Salvador – Preventing Departure and Addressing Returnees (DAI)
4. Learning Links: Youth Literacy through Untapped Human Capacity (The Kaizen Company)
5. Integrating Online, In-person and Experiential Learning to Close the Digital Literacy Gap for Nicaraguan Youth (Creative Associates)
6. More than Checking the Box: Inclusion in Action (Making Cents International)
7. Enabling Community Mentors (Waves for Change)

Watch the Afternoon Lightning Talks video and access the slides.

Learning Agenda for Positive Youth Development

At the YouthPower Annual Learning Network Meeting, YouthPower Learning’s Director, Cassandra Jessee presented and moderated a panel discussion on “Continuing the Journey – Launching a Learning Agenda for Positive Youth Development (PYD). The PYD Learning Agenda’s primary goal is to provide collective guidance for a common agenda to address evidence gaps and invest in evidence-building activities related to PYD. The Agenda prioritizes five themes that will serve as anchors to guide future research on PYD programs in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs) and will be a catalyst for sharing resources and knowledge and foster collaboration. Anyone who works with youth in LMICs is invited to respond to this learning agenda and advance the PYD field. Learn more about the Learning Agenda for PYD.

Gender and Adolescent Mental Health: An Opportunity to Achieve Sustainable Development

There is growing recognition within the international community that mental health is a neglected, yet essential, lever for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Yet, addressing mental health is critical for ensuring countries are on the journey to self-reliance. Additionally, the gendered influences associated with mental health problems need to be better understood, particularly in LMICs, where both evidence and interventions are scarce. At the YouthPower Annual Learning Network Meeting, Chisina Kapungu from YouthPower Learning discussed why the inclusion of mental health and substance abuse in the SDGs is an opportunity to prioritize and strengthen the prevention and treatment of mental health. To learn more about gender and mental health in development research and programming and read our recently completed briefs, visit the Gender and Adolescent Mental Health page.

Successful Scaling for Youth Programs - What Have We Learned?

Larry Cooley, Management Systems International, led a panel on scaling up youth programs. He opened the discussion by explaining some of the common pitfalls encountered when deciding to scale up a development program, why interventions are becoming smaller and shorter, and the importance of taking scaling into account from the onset of a development intervention. The panel also touched on the distinguishing features of PYD programming from a scaling perspective: multidimensional interventions, collaborative pathways, and youth engagement as a means and an end. Watch the Successful Scaling for Youth Programming recording

Youth Programming Assessment Tool

At the Meeting, FHI 360 presented on a tool, funded under the Strengthening Civil Society Global Award, that is designed to support youth-serving civil society organizations (YSOs) to reflect on their own practices, evaluate how their programming performs against best practices in PYD, and identify areas of self-improvement. The assessment tool can supplement commonly used organizational capacity assessments by facilitating a technical assessment focused specifically on YSO’s implementation of PYD principles. The tool was developed after reviewing a large number of youth program assessment tools and consultations with experts and stakeholders in the field, and was guided by The Positive Youth Development (PYD) Framework. Contact: Kristin Brady

Bridging the Digital Literacy & Jobs Skills Gap for Nicaraguan Youth

TVET-SAY- Bridging the Digital Literacy & Jobs Skills Gap for Nicaraguan YouthThe TVET-SAY project in Nicaragua is working to connect at-risk youth from the Caribbean Coast with opportunities for technical education and vocational training and has developed blended-learning courses that combine online and in-person instruction and hands-on practice. In light of the ongoing conflict in Nicaragua, this model has proven particularly effective in building skills among youth whose ability to travel to school has been limited, said Project Director Rose Mary Garcia at the YouthPower Annual Learning Network Meeting.

Blended learning is also bridging the digital literacy gap facing many Caribbean Coast youth, strengthening their ability to compete in a job market that increasingly requires computer skills. With blended learning for technical education, at-risk youth are learning crucial job and soft skills that build their resilience to crime and violence. Read more.

Contact: Evelyn Rupert

Young Women Transform Prize

Announcing the Winners

At the YouthPower Annual Learning Network Meeting, USAID’s Michelle Bekkering announced eight new winners of the Young Women Transform Prize. The prize winners were divided among two types: Creation Prizes, which will support the development and implementation of activities designed to broaden young women’s access to, and choice over, economic security, and Recognition Prizes, which recognize innovative strategies that have improved young women’s economic opportunities. These winners were selected from among 365 applicants. We thank all applicants for their submissions. Learn more about the Prize winners and their work.

Creation Prize:
Disabled Women’s Empowerment Centre (DWEC)
Accessible Training and Entrepreneur Incubation Project for Girls and Women with Disabilities, Nepal

Dream Factory Foundation 
Emergent Business and Coding Academy, South Africa

Mashinani Hub 
Sustainable Bees Program for Rapid Economic Empowerment, Kenya

Visionaria Network
Supporting Young Women As Empowered Change Makers in their Lives and Communities in Peru, Peru

Recognition Prize:
Asante Africa Foundation
Transforming Vulnerable Girls to Confident Entrepreneurial Women through Leadership, Livelihood and Enterprising Skills, Kenya and Tanzania

Kibera Community Empowerment Organization (KCEO) 
Young Mothers Incubation, Kenya

Safeplan Uganda
Budongo Women Bee Enterprises, Uganda
The Biz Nation
Young Women Productive Education Program, Colombia


YouthPower Learning Resources

Monitoring, Evaluation, Research and Learning (MERL)

Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance

Economic Growth, Education, and Environment




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