MSH Joins YouthPower Initiative

MSH is pleased to have recently joined the YouthPower initiative. YouthPower is a USAID-funded project that operationalizes the 2012 USAID Youth in Development Policy—the first ever global youth strategy produced by USAID. A groundbreaking multisectoral initiative, YouthPower aims to strengthen local, national, and global youth systems to achieve sustainable, positive youth outcomes in health, education, and political and economic empowerment.

Today’s youth population of 1.7 billion is the largest generation ever to transition to adulthood. Youth comprise 35-40% of many developing country populations; in some countries, youth comprise nearly half!  This presents a huge opportunity to harness and empower this demographic for the successful development of their countries. Youth represent the present and future – as educators and innovators, entrepreneurs and investors, health professionals and scientists, politicians and peacemakers.

Positively addressing the growing “youth bulge" is challenging because youth face difficulties, including unemployment, crime and insecurity, poor access to education and mentorship, and unique health risks (early pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, for example). It is imperative to invest in them now, so countries can transform them into the “demographic dividend” of the future.

Rather than focusing on risk reduction, as most other projects have done, YouthPower seeks to focus on  positive youth development to encourage active and intentional youth programming to develop skills and assets. YouthPower activities will also be integrated and multisectoral; this agency-wide project spans across all of USAID and will target youth for health, employment, education, economic opportunity and livelihoods development, security, democracy, human rights, and governance.

Out of of six teams participating in YouthPower, MSH is part of two, led respectively by  Creative Associates and Banyan Global.