We are pleased to share the results of a rigorous analysis of existing evidence of positive youth development (PYD) in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Commissioned by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through the YouthPower Learning project, this systematic review aims to document how PYD approaches have been applied in LMICs, as well as what the evidence demonstrates about the effectiveness of such programs. International implementing organizations can integrate lessons learned into practice as researchers continue to build knowledge on the impacts of PYD programs.
The systematic review drew upon peer-reviewed and grey literature published in English, Spanish, and French after 1989. Using a systematic search strategy for peer-reviewed papers, a purposive search in repositories and a survey disseminated to youth-serving organizations, development agencies, and universities, we identified 21,576 peer-reviewed papers and 3,705 grey literature documents. These reports and papers were screened in a three-step process to select the final documents to be included in the data extraction. The 108 (44 peer reviewed literature, 64 grey literature) documents included in the meta-review are all based on evaluations of programs that either the authors or the review team classified as PYD. We considered programs to be “PYD” if they engaged young people (10-29 years of age) and incorporated at least two outcomes within the PYD framework. The quality of the evidence presented in papers was assessed by reviewing their respective research design, measures, and analysis. One-third of all papers reported results from randomized controlled trials (RCTs). The review also included papers reporting other research designs, such as quasi-experimental, pre-post non-experimental, mixed methods, qualitative, and post-test quantitative or qualitative designs.
In the coming months, we will release sector specific briefs, a series of infographics and conduct both webinars and in-person events to share the findings.