Resilience-Informed Positive Youth Development Programs in International Development


  • Nalini Bajaj Chugani Education Development Center
  • Sabeen Faizullah Education Development Center
  • Cornelia Janke Education Development Center
  • Rebecca Jeudin RTI International
  • Jackie Kiernan Education Development Center
  • Nancy Wallace Education Development Center



positive youth development, absorb, adapt, transform, resilience capacities, crisis and conflict


In countries affected by crisis and conflict, systems that support young people are often disrupted. Youth who are going through critical periods of physical, cognitive, and social–emotional development are especially affected by these disruptions. We examined positive youth development programming strategies that have been used in crisis and conflict-affected areas to build youth resilience, defined as a young person’s ability to manage risk (absorptive capacity), enhance assets and agency (adaptive capacity), and contribute to society (transformative capacity). We summarize key concepts of positive youth development and resilience and then examine how these have been interpreted and applied in youth development programming. We present 2 case studies of youth programs from the Philippines and the Democratic Republic of Congo that illustrate programming that integrates these concepts and discuss how resilience and positive youth development can intersect and reinforce one another. Using empirical findings from these crisis and conflict-affected settings, we illustrate how resilience-informed positive youth development programming builds youth and community assets and agency while increasing the absorptive, adaptive, and transformative resilience capacities of both youth and their communities to respond to shocks and stressors. We conclude with a discussion of relevant takeaways and program implications regarding the application of a resilience lens to positive youth development, particularly in areas affected by crisis or conflict.


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