Significant gaps remain in the areas of research and evaluation of youth programming. Apart from several known examples of success, there has been an absence of focused efforts to show meaningful and lasting development outcomes for youth around the world as a result of asset-based, cross-sectoral, positive youth development interventions.
Making Cents International was the prime contractor for YouthPower Learning, a five-year Task Order awarded under the YouthPower: Evidence and Evaluation IDIQ. It is designed to support USAID’s Youth in Development Policy by enabling investments in Positive Youth Development (PYD) research and evaluation within and across multiple sectors. PYD engages youth along with their families, communities, and governments so that youth are empowered to reach their full potential. PYD approaches build skills, assets, and competencies; foster healthy relationships; strengthen the environment; and transform systems. This project supported USAID’s Evaluation Policy in its renewed call for unbiased impact and performance evaluations of USAID programs, as well as increased utilization of research for use.
Key activities and accomplishments were:
- The creation, development, and management of www.YouthPower.org, the leading online information and networking resource for international cross-sectoral PYD.
- Development of an inclusive, demand-driven, cross-sectoral Learning Network and associated communities of practice (CoPs) that expanded the knowledge base and advance practices and partnerships around an international PYD approach.
- Organization of YouthPower’s Annual Learning Network Meetings, which provided a forum to share and exchange innovative approaches, tools, products, and findings from YouthPower and other youth-serving organizations that can be applied across programs.
- The creation, dissemination, and socialization of a PYD Measurement Toolkit, which includes the PYD indicators.
- The production of a Systematic Review of Positive Youth Development Programs in Low- and Middle-Income Countries, which identified and used existing peer-reviewed literature and grey literature to expand the knowledge base about PYD programs in international development.
- The provision of ongoing project design, assessment, and evidence and evaluation support through USAID Mission and Bureau buy-ins, including:
- Seven buy-ins from USAID Missions focusing on project and activity design and portfolio reviews: Nigeria, Ethiopia, Zambia, DRC, Liberia, Honduras, and the Kyrgyz Republic.
- Buy-in from the Bureau for Food Security
- Buy-in from the Office of Gender Equality & Women’s Empowerment
- Buy-in from the Office of HIV/AIDS
- Buy-in from the Latin American and Caribbean Bureau to create the YouthLead Platform