EMpower is committed to sharing knowledge, tools and lessons-learned that can inform and strengthen youth programs.
Assembled here is a curated set of tools on important and challenging issues for programs involving young people, especially adolescent girls, in low resource settings. All of the tools or listed resources are practical, intended for ready use or adaptation, and accessible to anyone interested in youth development. Some were developed by EMpower, but most are from other sources as indicated. We gratefully acknowledge their intellectual contributions.
This resource library is not intended to be comprehensive. We also realize that many strong resources exist in other languages, and regret that some materials may not be in your preferred language. New reources will be added periodically.
Whether starting a new program, expanding the scope or scale of an existing program, or focusing on the specific needs of adolescent girls in a coed program, these tools provide guidance on the A-Z of program design for adolescent girls.
Girls are often invisible and seldom heard, especially in public settings. These tools are intended to elicit girls’ voices so they can shape social change but also the programs in which they participate.
Effective work with youth requires appropriately addressing issues related to sexuality and gender. These can also be challenging and require sensitivity. A broad set of tools is included here to provide a range of guidance, activities and materials that can be adapted across cultures and age groups.
Worldwide there is heightened awareness and concern about gender-based violence and the need for diverse, multi-level strategies to combat it. Strong resources on working with males to end violence are included in the sexuality and gender section. UN Women has a new resource center with a variety of other resources, mostly at the macro level.
Sport is known to be an effective method of engaging youth. It develops a range of skills such as teamwork and discipline but also can be used to provide an interesting way to learn about HIV prevention or gender equality through physical activity or games. While traditionally, sports have been geared primarily to males, there is increased experience and interest in using sports to empower girls, teaching them new skills, enabling play, and fostering their visibility, and right to be active, in public spaces.
Finding a way to earn an income, through a job or self-employment, is a major source of concern for young people, their families and their countries—many of which have very high youth unemployment rates. While there are no quick fixes, there are some tools that help organizations respond to the need to help youth find decent livelihoods either now or in the near future.
It is not easy to evaluate how young people are impacted by programs in which they participate. There are many other factors in their lives, adolescence and young adulthood are dynamic stages of life, and results may not be apparent in the short term. Evaluation can also be daunting for programs without specialized expertise. Recognizing all these challenges, this section provides some basic guidance on how to evaluate programs as well as some sample tools that can be used to measure core elements of youth development, such as self-esteem, which can be harder to measure.
Nonprofit organizations need strong systems and policies in order to do their best work with and for young people. Yet these can be shortchanged in the priority to focus on youth. All nonprofits face similar needs, regardless of their locations – to find and keep good staff, build and use a strong board of directors, ensure effective financial systems and policies, and fundraise - and there are universal, practical tools that can help.
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