GOJoven Highlighted in Groundbreaking New Report on Youth Leadership Development: “Young People Advancing Sexual and Reproductive Health: Toward a New Normal”

December 2018

GOJoven International was featured in a brand new research study published in 2018, called “Young People Advancing Sexual and Reproductive Health: Toward a New Normal.” The study was commissioned by several leading Foundations working in global health and international development and conducted by three independent experts—Jen Catino, Emily Battistini and Amy Babcheck.

Findings from the study were compiled into a comprehensive report –the first of its kind on the subject matter– that aims to improve documentation and understanding of the state of the field of youth investment, engagement and leadership development (YIELD) programming as a promising practice for improving adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive health and rights (AYSRHR) outcomes.

GOJoven International, GOJoven Guatemala and GOJoven Belize staff and alumni fellows served as key stakeholders and informants in the research project, alongside 68 other global, regional and country organizations with long track records in the youth leadership development and sexual and reproductive health and rights field. Additionally, GOBelize Alumna (2012) Kylah Ciego was selected to serve on the Advisory Group for the YIELD study in 2017. The Advisory Group members, which included a number of young professionals like Kylah from around the world, were paired with more senior professionals to support the YIELD technical team in data collection by leading local focus groups and helping develop, review and provide feedback on study findings and the outcome report.

Drawing on data collected during their research, the GOJoven model was featured throughout the key recommendations stemming from the research, with a special focus on our targeted approach to recruitment of young leaders, provision of financial support enabling youth leaders as change agents, and creation of professional pathways for alumni to build careers and increase their future impact in the AYSRHR field.

The report offers a snapshot of the wide range of creative and encouraging, but also fragmented and poorly documented, initiatives in this field. The authors identified the following five key lessons learned:

  • Engaging a diverse cross-section of young people as participants and leaders in AYSRHR requires intentional recruitment across the diversity of youth identity groups and sociocultural contexts.
  • Unlocking young people’s potential as AYSRHR contributors necessitates actively building their capabilities and assets using appropriate methodologies and approaches.
  • A supportive and equitable environment is necessary to ensure that young people’s contributions are included and acted upon.
  • Connections among youth participants and adult decision makers are fundamental drivers of change.
  • Additional resources, stronger cross-stakeholder partnerships, and emerging research tools can help better document impact.

Based on the lessons learned and evidence of impact that they documented in their research, the authors offer detailed guidance to funders for further action and investment in YIELD for AYSRHR, calling for investments to support three critical directions:

  • Supporting a systems-based approach to mainstreaming youth participation;
  • Coordinating stakeholders to facilitate agenda-setting, knowledge-sharing, and collaboration; and
  • Acting as catalysts for expanding and supporting youth-led and youth-centered initiatives in ways that allow them to have lasting, multi-level impact.

Learn more by downloading the executive summary and full report on the Summit Foundation’s website: https://www.summitfdn.org/equality-for-women-and-girls/yield/

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