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Welcome to the inaugural YouthPower newsletter. The newsletter will provide updates on YouthPower programs and positive youth development. We at YouthPower believe that young people are at the heart of solutions to the world’s greatest challenges. That’s why we’re dedicated to strengthening systems in communities to achieve sustainable outcomes in health, education, and political and economic empowerment. By helping young people pursue their aspirations, we empower them to contribute to, and benefit from, the creation of more peaceful and prosperous communities.

This issue of the newsletter includes information about the upcoming second YouthPower Annual Learning Network meeting, updates from the YouthPower Communities of Practice, forthcoming YouthPower Learning publications, an update from YouthPower Action, as well as other YouthPower information.
We encourage you to share the newsletter with colleagues and friends who are interested in youth and positive youth development.
The YouthPower Learning Hub is at the heart of sharing knowledge and experiences by and with practitioners, researchers, evaluators, funders and other stakeholders interested in youth programming. Please join the Learning Hub at and share your resources or events, and send us your blogs.
We look forward to a fruitful exchange of knowledge and shared learning to advance positive youth development around the globe.
YouthPower Newsletter Editorial Team

YouthPower Annual Learning Network meeting, 2016

On September 27th, the second YouthPower Annual Learning Network meeting will take place in Washington, D.C. The invitation-only meeting includes a Youth Panel of YSEALI alumni and provides an opportunity to learn about major innovations from YouthPower IDIQ members that have broad applicability. The innovations will be presented as lightning talks, followed by roundtable discussions. The lightning talks are accessible to the general public via livestreaming.

Lightning talks:
1. What We Know and Don’t Know: Positive Youth Development in Low- to Middle-Income Countries

2. Youth Action Mapper and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

3. Youth Voices: Putting Young People at the Center of the Youth Unemployment Conversation

4. Identifying and Measuring Soft Skills for Cross-Sectoral Youth Development

5. Building Entrepreneurship on the Road: A “Shark Tank”-like Approach

6. How Can Be Leveraged as the True Learning Hub for Youth, Implementers, and Other Key Stakeholders?

7. Youth-led Qualitative Research to Inform Programming: An Approach for Youth-led Rapid Assessments

8. Young People at the Heart of Humanitarian Action

9. Positive Youth Development Capacity Building

10. Measuring Positive Youth Development in Low- to Middle-Income Countries: PYD Indicators Toolkit

11. Catholic Relief Services’ YouthBuild (JovenesConstructores): Co-Assessment for Soft Skills

12. Youth Training: Leading with Attitude and Skills

13. Sexual and Reproductive Health: Workforce Research

14. Generation: Taking Youth Employment to Scale

More details about each talk can be found here.

The session will be live streamed on 
Tuesday, September 27th,
8:45 am ET – 11 am ET
Upcoming Events:
Recently Posted Resources:
Information about the live stream will be posted here, as well as on the YP Learning Facebook on the morning of the event and announced on Twitter @YPLearning.
Updates from YouthPower Action
YouthPower Action developed a curriculum for USAID on Positive Youth Development. The project trained a team of USAID staff on the curriculum and piloted the curriculum with mission staff from around the world in Pretoria in April, 2016. USAID is now delivering the curriculum to staff as part of USAID University. 
YouthPower Action is finalizing four reports to guide youth implementers. Three reports focus on cross-sectoral soft skills for youth development. The first, “Key Soft Skills for Cross-Sectoral Youth Outcomes,” identifies the skills that based on the available evidence, are the best predictors of positive youth outcomes across the fields of violence prevention, reproductive health, and workforce development. This report will be issued in draft form for comment at the Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summit. The second study will provide an in-depth review of existing instruments that measure those priority cross-sectoral soft skills and could be used in international youth programs. The findings will be discussed at the Summit and the draft report issued in October. The third study will provide guidance on how implementers can help youth build these critical soft skills, based on a review of effective practices, and will be issued in draft by November. The fourth study, “Assessment of Integrated Workforce Development and Sexual and Reproductive Health Interventions,” reviews evidence from integrated programs and makes recommendations for more effective integration in youth programming. This study will lead to a pilot to test out more integrated approaches that emerged from the research. Copies of these draft reports can be obtained by emailing  YouthPower Action will be holding an event in Washington, DC in the next several months to present and discuss all four studies (date and details TBD). 
To expand knowledge related to youth and HIV Testing, YouthPower Action will be developing a journal supplement tentatively titled “Achieving 902: Young People, HIV testing Services and Linkage to Treatment.” This special issue of the journal AIDS will share the current evidence related to USAID’s goal of diagnosing 90% of all HIV-positive people and providing antiretroviral therapy for 90% of those diagnosed among youth populations. This issue aims to inform funders, program planners, and policy makers in the development and design of effective youth programs, policies, and strategies for HIV testing and linkage to care and treatment. Abstracts are due to Donna R. McCarraher by September 30th 2016. Detailed information about the call can be found on the AIDS journal website.
YouthPower Action conducted a review of the literature to identify strategies used among adult populations to improve retention in care and adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART), with the goal of identifying strategies and intervention efforts that could be adapted for use among young people. Two manuscripts that describe the results of this literature review are forthcoming, and a pilot will be implemented in Nigeria to test the strategies identified in the research.
In April, YouthPower Action hosted a one-day design workshop with key stakeholders from the YouthPower community and beyond to generate ideas and feedback on the creation of a positive youth development assessment tool.  This tool, currently called the “Compass”, will facilitate a program assessment that will inform, guide, and add value to the implementation of USAID activities that focus on youth.  The Compass will reflect USAID’s and its Youth in Development’s policy commitment to positive youth development, cross-sectoral linkages, and gender.
In support of PEPFAR’s DREAMS initiative, YouthPower Action will be hosting a series of youth engagement trainings in South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe for DREAMS implementing partners and USG staff.  The purpose of these trainings is to help DREAMS partners and their USG counterparts to identify and support young people and involve youth groups in the development and implementation of activities. Additionally, these trainings will provide guidance on how to involve young people in M&E and accountability.  DREAMS implementers and USG staff interested in attending the upcoming trainings in November should contact their DREAMS POC in the aforementioned countries or Cate Lane at
YouthPower Action conducted a review of the literature to identify mentoring interventions and whether they had an impact on the reproductive health of adolescent girls and young women (AGYW).  Since AGYW are disproportionately affected by HIV and AIDS and other negative sexual and reproductive health (SRH) outcomes, the project examined emerging evidence that suggests that programs to build AGYW’s assets can help reduce their vulnerability to poor SRH. A manuscript describing the results of this literature review is forthcoming, and a pilot with up to 1,000 AGYW will be conducted in East Africa over the next year.

Updates from the Communities of Practice (CoPs)

The YouthPower Communities of Practice, i.e., groups of people who share an interest or do similar type of work in four specific PYD areas, will hold in-person meetings on September 27th, 4:00 – 5:30 pm. All CoP members are invited to these meetings and can participate in-person or virtually. Please view the agenda and register here if you have not done so already.  

CoP Products – Upcoming Publications:

All CoP products mentioned below will be made available on the YP Communities website page by September 27th.
The CoP on Cross-Sectoral Skills will be launching its new technical brief at the CoP meeting on September 27th: “How Do Youth Skills Development Initiatives Ensure Effective Targeting, Recruitment, and Retention?” This technical brief explores strategies used by skills-based youth livelihood programs to target, recruit, and retain youth beneficiaries for optimal impact, providing concrete examples of how program implementers have addressed these challenges, and documenting some lessons and best practices.
The Gender and PYD CoP will launch its checklist at the CoP event on September 27th: “Does Your Program Reflect Gender Transformative or Positive Youth Development Practices: A Checklist.”  This checklist is intended for use by development practitioners who want to ensure their programs incorporate good practices for gender transformative and positive youth development (PYD) programming. References are included for those who wish to learn more.
The Youth Engagement CoP’s “Six Tips for Increasing Meaningful Youth Engagement in Programs” is based on a CoP brainstorming session in spring 2016 to answer the question, “What are the key components of youth engagement in programs?” Six key recommendations rose to the top and are offered in the document to support the wider youth-serving community.

Upcoming CoP Webinar:

Makerspaces – a Tool for Youth Engagement
October 12th, 2016
9:30 am ET

A makerspace is a collaborative workshop that leverages science, technology and innovation tools and approaches relevant to a target group. For youth, makerspaces often operate as “safe spaces” for those who are not compelled by traditional behavior change activities. However, the Maker Movement can go beyond forming social bonds and developing soft skills. Makerspaces can engage youth in meaningful ways through learning and teaching rapid prototyping techniques and empowering them as leaders in the vast ecosystem of open source hardware and software designs. Learn more about how makerspaces foster movement, innovation, and creativity designed and maintained by youth in the YouthPower Youth Engagement Community of Practice Webinar on Wednesday Oct 12 at 9:30am ET. (Details will be posted here and on the YP Learning Facebook page as well as on Twitter @YPLearning).

Recent CoP Webinars:

On the International Day of Peace, September 21st, the Youth in Peace and Security CoP held its webinar on Citizen Security and At-Risk Youth (recording accessible here). The pervasive effects of crime and violence can be seen in many parts of the world, affecting people at all levels. Youth are no exception. As part of YouthPower Learning, Youth in Peace and Security Community of Practice organizes a webinar focused on citizen security and at-risk youth. This session featured program implementers discussing the most common challenges when working with at-risk youth and how they overcome them. Heather Sutton, Research Coordinator, Crime and Violence at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), presented key findings from the IDB’s research and experience implementing projects focused on at-risk youth in the Caribbean.
On September 14th, the Cross-Sectoral Skills for Youth CoP held its webinar on Targeting, Recruitment, and Retention Strategies for Youth Skills Development: How Do Skills-Building Initiatives Ensure Youth Participation? Skills-building initiatives for youth have become a prominent component of youth development work in developing countries, working across a number of sectors and themes. However, ensuring participation of youth beneficiaries that are most likely to benefit from these skills-building initiatives remains a challenge for many. Some program implementers have taken deliberate steps to facilitate effective targeting, recruitment, and retention of youth in skills-based programs. This webinar, organized by Cross-Sectoral Skills Community of Practice under USAID's YouthPower Learning, featured presentations from a number of innovators and researchers working on skills-based youth development. Panelists elaborated on challenges and effective approaches to promote effective targeting, recruitment, and retention of youth participation in skills-building initiatives. (Access the recording and presentations here).
To celebrate International Youth Day, YouthPower Learning launched a new virtual series called Youth Talks - "Open Dialogue". Guest speaker was Mike McCabe, Agency Youth Coordinator, USAID. Held in English and Spanish, the Youth Talks reached 188 participants from 40 different countries.  The recordings of the webinars, PowerPoint presentations, and Twitter Chats are all available here.
Blog Highlight:

Reflections on gender for positive youth development programming

In a recent blog, Nicole Cheetham explores the importance of gender balance in youth programming.
It was more than 20 years ago now that I had one of many “aha” moments as a recent public health school graduate. I had been sent off to Zambia on one of my first ever professional overseas trips to interview women about breastfeeding and infant feeding practices. My instructions at the time were to interview and speak with new mothers in order to find out about infant feeding practices and explore ways to optimize their infant’s nutrition. It didn’t take long for one of the mothers to ask if her husband could participate in the interview. To her, it didn’t make any sense for me to be just speaking with her about such issues, when it was her husband who determined how to spend money on food and when she knew that she would need his support if she was going to be trying something different. Her perspective was that discussions about their infant’s nutrition were something that they should both be a part of and engage in together. More
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