YouthPower2: Learning and Evaluation (YP2LE)

2019–2024

CLIENT:

USAID

LOCATION:

Global
Capacity strengthening
Program Design
Mission Support

Challenge

Led by Making Cents International, USAID’s YouthPower Learning project closed major knowledge gaps in PYD theory and practice, yet there is a continuing need to build, expand, and disseminate PYD evidence and learning more widely across multiple sectors. USAID’s Journey to Self-Reliance agenda requires a fresh perspective and forward-looking approaches to achieve systems change through effective integration of PYD principles and frameworks into local community and host-government strategies.

Solution

Making Cents International implements YouthPower2: Learning and Evaluation (YP2LE), a follow-on contract to our successful YouthPower Learning project. YP2LE is designed to leverage the achievements of YouthPower Learning to better inform future youth programs, policies, and strategies and increase youth engagement in development efforts. Through YP2LE, we will piece together a puzzle of global PYD evidence building, stakeholder engagement, knowledge transfer, and application of learning to construct high-quality, impactful, and sustainable youth programs by implementing the following key activities:

  1. Advance the PYD learning agenda and other youth-related learning agendas through research, analysis, and dissemination of evidence, best practices, guidance, and practical tools for youth development practitioners and stakeholders.

  2. Maintain and further develop a cross-sectoral PYD Learning Network to share and disseminate knowledge, research, evaluation, learning products (e.g., evaluations, research, assessments, technical products, tools, events, videos, webinars, webcasts), and PYD lessons learned and best practices.

  3. Manage the YouthPower and YouthLead websites to foster an inclusive, demand-driven learning network for development practitioners and youth to connect and share resources on sector- and context-specific and cross-sectoral PYD programming, and, as appropriate, other programming where youth are among the beneficiary groups.

  4. Provide rapid response technical support to USAID Missions and Washington-based operating units for the design, implementation, and evaluation of cross-sectoral PYD programs/activities/strategies, as needed, through field support buy-ins.

Sharing Young People’s Stories – PYD Lab 

To promote the stories of young people leading their communities, YP2LE produces the PYD Lab, a bi-monthly podcast for implementers and young leaders to share stories. Starting in January 2021, each episode provides three PYD resource recommendations that include one youth-related published source, a resource authored by a young leader, and an innovative idea or resource to tackle youth-related challenges. Learn more about the podcast and where to listen. 

Tips and Tools for Gender- and Youth-Focused Analysis  

Developed in September 2021, the Youth and Gender Analysis Toolkit provides tips and tools for carrying out gender- and youth-focused analysis during the start-up phases of program implementation, especially for youth-specific, economic-growth programming. The toolkit provides best practices and links to tools so that implementers can follow frameworks, checklists, and other tools to obtain a clearer understanding of women’s needs, interests, challenges, and opportunities. While the toolkit does not address country- or region-specific differences, questions can be adapted to multiple contexts and circumstances. Recommendations range from those that target young women specifically, to more general recommendations designed for a broader demographic.  

Meaningful and Inclusive Partnership with Youth for Care Reform 

The Care Leaders Council is a group of 16 members who represent a diverse range of lived and professional experiences with family separation and alternative care. The council was established to collaborate with USAID to identify ways to improve care reform programming. This support included the creation of a list of Dos and Don’ts of Meaningful and Inclusive Partnership with Youth. In 2022, the council members met to discuss how care leavers and young leaders define meaningful and inclusive engagement with youth, particularly when advocating for and supporting care leaver populations. The list of dos and don’ts was established following that discussion and provides guidance on how to better partner with youth and with care leaver populations in a meaningful way. Dos and don’ts are organized by six themes: Build trust and promote open communication, acknowledge and share power, youth-centered approaches, accountability of self and accountability to others, care-leaver-centered approaches, and make space for and learn from failure.  

From 2020 – 2023, YP2LE and USAID collaborated to establish and support the Care Leaders Council. Following the three phases of the council, YP2LE has since transitioned support of the council to the Better Care Network 

Strengthening Mental Health Considerations for Youth Programming 

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that nearly one in five people are impacted by poor mental health in conflict and post-conflict areas and nearly 50 percent of all mental health issues globally start before the age of 14. For youth ages 15 to 29, suicide is the fourth leading cause of death. Additionally, youth mental health is often under-resourced in international development and has been neglected in the global public health space.  

To address these challenges, YP2LE developed the Integrating Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) into Youth Programming Toolkit in September 2021. Intended to guide USAID Mission and US-based staff, implementing partners, and youth-serving organizations, the toolkit is an applicable resource for both development and humanitarian contexts. Not intended to be read from beginning to end, the online toolkit is designed to allow project designers and implementers to more easily access the relevant information they need to integrate MHPSS into youth programming, such as steps in the scoping process, designing standalone and integrated MHPSS programs, understanding the foundational concepts of MHPSS, do-no-harm approaches, staffing, measurement, and other components.  

Meeting the Mental Health Needs of Marginalized and Underrepresented Groups  

As a follow-up to the Integrating Mental Health and Psychosocial Support into Youth Programming Toolkit, YP2LE is currently developing a new resource aimed at providing implementers with strategies and tools to design and implement MHPSS programs in low and middle-income countries, both as standalone programs and integrated into activities targeting marginalized and underrepresented groups, including those in conflict countries. The key groups included in the toolkit are persons with disabilities, Indigenous populations, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI+) people; and victims of torture. We expect this toolkit to be available in February 2024.