What are YouthPower communities?
YouthPower’s Learning Network aims to work with the global community in the exploration, evaluation, and strengthening of youth-serving programs around the world. At the center of the network are YouthPower’s Communities of Practice (CoPs) – social networks that drive discovery of promising practices in positive and cross-sectoral youth development. There are currently four active CoPs under YouthPower Learning: Youth Engagement, Gender and Positive Youth Development, Youth in Peace and Security and Cross-Sectoral Skills for Youth.
The Cross-Sectoral Skills for Youth CoP focuses on identifying, defining, and measuring skills which are intangible, applicable across fields and contexts, and intrinsically valuable to PYD. These skills (commonly referred to as “soft skills”) enable people to collaborate, achieve, and excel. They include competencies such as communication, critical thinking, and social aptitude which increase success for individuals in all fields and sectors. Because of the potential of these skills to foster positive outcomes regardless of one’s trajectory or objectives, they are particularly crucial to a PYD approach.
The YouthPower Youth Engagement CoP is a forum for sharing resources and experiences among practitioners, researchers, youth leaders, and others concerned with engaging youth in the design, implementation, and evaluation of development programs. This CoP’s goals are to: 1) contribute to a shared definition of youth engagement for YouthPower; 2) support the development of measurement indicators for YouthPower focused on youth engagement; 3) create a space for the sharing of youth engagement experiences and group problem-solving; 4) develop a clearinghouse of resources and tools on youth engagement, and; 5) bring youth voices into YouthPower activities.
The Gender and PYD CoP seeks to bridge the best practices of gender-transformative programs to best practices in PYD. To achieve this, the CoP brings practical tools and resources to development practitioners so that they can better promote gender equality in their programs while also engaging and empowering young people. It also fosters collective learning about how to measure gender integration in PYD approaches and its impact on development outcomes. The Gender and PYD CoP is currently focusing on transforming gender and age-related norms, addressing gender-based violence, and applying gender-synchronized approaches to empower girls and young women while engaging boys and young men as allies for gender equality. It also seeks to close gender gaps through fostering systems that support gender equality.
The Youth Programs in Peace and Security CoP explores and promotes the role of youth in peacebuilding efforts. In pursuit of this goal, members of the CoP expand the evidence base –gathering both field and academic knowledge –to demonstrate the complementary nature of PYD and peacebuilding efforts. Upon establishing this connection, the CoP will design and disseminate actionable learning for implementers to incorporate PYD into their programs targeting violence- or conflict-affected populations.