How the Rubik’s Cube Helps Explain the Evolving Approach to Effective Youth Development


  • Michael McCabe U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)



positive youth development (PYD), age-appropriate, multi-dimensional, integrated programming, socio-ecological, USAID, YouthPower Learning


There is increased recognition that effective youth programming requires a Positive Youth Development approach that is multi-dimensional and intentional in terms of utilizing interventions that take into account age-appropriateness; socio-ecological considerations for youth, their families, and the local system; and that address the integrated needs of young people, rather than single-sector solutions. Addressing the complexity of this 3-dimensional integrated approach is key to putting into practice the findings of the Systematic Review of Positive Youth Development in Low- and Middle-Income Countries and helping develop thriving, resilient youth. The manuscript draws from recent USAID youth activities and research on the impact of youth engagement on development outcomes to provide a framework for new design considerations.

Author Biography

Michael McCabe, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)

  Michael McCabe

Agency Senior Youth Advisor, USAID

Mike is the Agency Senior Youth Advisor and brings over 30 years of professional experience managing international development programs. In his current role, he is responsible for helping integrate youth engagement and youth development issues across the Agency, oversee the Youth Policy implementation, and serve as a senior representative on youth issues in the interagency and external community. His expertise includes capacity development, youth development, technology for development, program design/ implementation, training design and facilitation, and public - private sector partnership development.  Mike previously worked with: Creative Associates International as Sr. Associate for Capacity Development, and Chief of Party for the Panama Youth At Risk Program; Peace Corps as Chief of Programming and Training for the Inter-America and Pacific Region, and Deputy Director for Peace Corps Dominican Republic; Youth Service America as Vice President; the Inter-American Foundation as Country Representative for Mexico, Venezuela, Panama; and UNICEF as National Programs Officer for Dominican Republic. 

Mike received his Master’s in Public Administration from Princeton University and his Bachelor’s of Science Degree in International Relations from Georgetown University.



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