Monday, December 23, 2013

Congrats to the Alliance for International Youth Development on the Launch of the Guiding Principles!

Post by: Katie Appel, Program Associate
Labor, Education, Economic Empowerment, and Protection
Plan International USA

Last week I attended the launch event for the Alliance for International Youth Development’s Guiding Principles. I would like to first commend the Alliance for its leadership role in crafting this significant document. The Guiding Principles, compiled through the efforts of dozens of youth-serving organizations, outlines a framework of promising practices for positive youth development.

As a foundational, yet by no means static document, the Guiding Principles aim to better equip organizations that work with youth to overcome barriers in all sectors, further raise awareness of youth’s pivotal role in the development process, draw attention to important cross-cutting issues that impact youth, and further facilitate partnerships across sectors in order to focus and strengthen investment in youth.

The Guiding Principles present five unique areas through which to focus youth programming.  I am proud to be part of an organization that recognizes the immeasurable value of investing in youth and their futures. Plan will continue to work in these sectors, and is committed to ensuring that our programming is youth-inclusive and youth-responsive.

Below are a few of the ways in which Plan International supports the Guiding Principles:


Plan promotes the inclusion of the cross-cutting themes identified, as truly inclusive and effective youth development cannot occur if the diverse realities of youth are not addressed. Youth participation and child rights, for example, stand at the center of our Child-centered Community Development (CCCD) approach. Plan’s programs also work with marginalized children and youth, especially girls and those with disabilities, and those in any way excluded from society.

The protection and safety of young people remains of utmost priority, heightened in times of conflict or disaster. Plan also works to prepare youth to fully engage in society through strengthening their confidence, personal development, and through the acquisition of important life skills.

Youth Engagement

Marisa Haire becomes
Plan International USA’s first Youth Trustee.
In 2013, Plan International USA welcomed its first Youth Trustee, Marisa Haire, to the Board of Directors. During high school, Marisa helped launch Youth United for Global Action and Awareness (YUGA), a nationwide network of ambitious young people who take action on global issues. Prior to her involvement with the Board, she co-founded and served on Plan’s Youth Advisory Board (YAB). Now in college, she attends the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago where she is a chemical engineering student.

Additionally this fall, Plan International welcomed youth into the Member’s Assembly (Plan’s highest governing body) for the first time. Delegates from the US and Sierra Leone participated in the meeting, bringing the voice of youth formally into the discussion for the first time.

Youth & Learning

Youth from the Suhyen Junior High School
participate in TAP project activities.
In the fall of 2013, Plan completed the three-year Transition and Persistence (TAP) project, funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID). This project applied the School Improvement Plan (SIP) methodology, which enabled communities to own the teaching and learning processes. Plan implemented SIP in 156 schools to address key transition points between primary and junior high school.

Interventions such as the Girls’ Camps and Girls’ Clubs introduced adolescent girls to career opportunities, life skills, and confidence-building activities. TAP also integrated information communication technologies (ICTs) through ICT training for teachers, school linking, and ICT centers.

Youth & Economic Empowerment

YEE trainee Tuti started a snack food
production business in Padas village, Grobogan.
In partnership with the World Bank’s Global Partnership for Youth Investment (GPYI), Plan's Youth Economic Empowerment (YEE) program in Indonesia encourages young people, in particular girls and women (ages 15-24), to develop their potential by starting up small businesses and learning skills to access employment. Since 2009, Plan and local partners have helped the Indonesian government extend its microfinance service and employment opportunities for young people in Java and East Nusa Tenggara (80% female).

The program consists of four major components that include pre-employment competencies, support for microenterprise development (MED) using a value chain approach, vocational training (TVET) based on current and future labor market demand, and access to financial services.

Youth & Health

The Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (ASRHR) project is a two-year project being implemented in post-conflict districts of Lira and Alebtong in Northern Uganda, funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA). The primary target population is adolescents (13 to 19 years of age) both in and out of school. The secondary target groups include parents, health workers, and cultural and faith-based leaders.

The project’s goal is to contribute to the reduction of teenage pregnancy and gender-based violence among adolescent girls and boys. The project aims to empower adolescents with information and life skills, increase awareness on risky adolescent practices, and improve the communication skills of caretakers to effectively communicate with youth on sexuality and reproductive health issues.

With the launch of the Guiding Principles, I can only hope for the continued increase in attention and dedication to holistic youth programming. As a member of this united coalition, I am confident that Plan will continue to collaborate with peer organizations, learn from our own and others’ experiences, and work directly with youth to ensure that they are given every opportunity to develop and thrive, and to contribute in the most meaningful way to their communities.

Congratulations again to the Alliance for International Youth Development, and all its members, for this impressive accomplishment!

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