Integrating Positive Youth Development: Insights From International Youth Development Programming


  • John E. Lindsay International Youth Foundation (IYF)
  • Shannon McGarry International Youth Foundation (IYF)
  • Assem Satmukhambetova International Youth Foundation (IYF)
  • Katie Raymond International Youth Foundation (IYF)
  • Arafat Lesheve International Youth Foundation (IYF)
  • Sarah Jonson International Youth Foundation (IYF)
  • Hafez Neeno International Youth Foundation (IYF)
  • Cheradee Williams Step Forward NLA



youth engagement, cross-sectoral outcomes, positive youth development (PYD), systems-based approaches, capacity building


Effective international youth development programs go beyond single-issue interventions—they leverage the entire organization and project life cycle to advance positive youth outcomes. This paper illustrates how positive youth development (PYD) approaches can be adapted for and applied by organizations to promote positive outcomes for young people and communities globally. The article provides 6 insights from the International Youth Foundation’s (IYF) application of PYD principles across diverse youth development programs. Moreover, the authors present practical insights into what is required by practitioners, regardless of geographic boundaries, to effectively engage with, support, and meet the needs of youth and young adults whom they serve. Finally, the article argues that practitioners and funders need to find new ways to measure and value PYD investments and that funders need to make PYD integral across their funding streams.


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