Home | 2011 Workshop

Taking Youth Development to Scale (Policy, Practice and Program)
Session A and B
August 17, 2009 – 1:30 p.m.

Presenters:Bonnie Politz, Academy for Educational Development (AED)
El Houcine Haichour, Academy for Educational Development (AED)
Andrew Munoz, Academy for Educational Development (AED)

In these two highly participatory sessions on taking youth development (YD) to scale, the growing youth population was discussed in light of the challenges and opportunities this population presents for both developed and developing countries. The panelists first shared statistics related to youth. Populations are growing and producing a significant “youth bulge” – more significant in some countries than others. Some 85 percent of these youth live in developing countries, which means that the workforce is coming from areas of the world least equipped to provide young people with the learning opportunities they need.

There are important challenges related to providing education and employment for this population. Youth development was said to be more than meeting needs: it is also building skills and competencies, calling for integrated, cross-sectoral, and systemic approaches. The need to focus on what works in the youth development field was tied to the need to track, measure, and take to scale what works.

The panelists stressed that AED’s approach to addressing youth challenges includes more than prevention strategies. Research points to common themes in successful and proactive YD programs: these are programs that focus on skills building, financial resources, participation, membership, norms and expectations, adult-youth relationships, and information services. Rather than focusing on preventing problems from happening, the traditional approach, AED proposes a total paradigm shift that would involve focusing on the development of young people and what truly works for them. This in turn equips young people with what they need to make better decisions and to act preventatively and proactively on their own behalf.

AED shared a seven-element, integrated youth development infrastructure framework. Some of the elements of this model include: participatory strategic planning for the public, private and nonprofit sectors; increasing the amount of and access to public/private space for youth; identifying, redirecting and increasing financial commitment to youth development; and supporting and increasing the number of direct service and capacity building organizations at the local level. Presenters also discussed the challenges of measuring youth development outcomes. Some M&E strategies discussed include complementing qualitative data with quantitative government data.

Key take away points of this session were interactive ways to integrate a youth development framework in future USAID programming by focusing on the socio-economic effects of the youth bulge. A range of approaches within AED’s youth development experiences was shared, with opportunities to discuss activities and outcomes. The focus should be on activities and policies that promote positive development, by identifying from the research those activities that show consistent and valid results. The result will be a reduction over time in the negative outcomes for young people as positive support structures and opportunities for youth increase.

To view the presentations, please click on link below:
AED 1 : Open
AED 2 : Open
AED 3 : Open

For questions related to the 2009 Education Workshop,
please contact Rebekah Levi at rlevi@jbsinternational.com