Young people as a key focus of development
The world stands to gain considerably from investing more in young people. The development returns to investing in healthy, educated, skilled adolescents are potentially enormous. Our work in this area emphasizes the active role young people play – and could play, with support – in advocating for their own development.
In the context of youth development overall, GreeneWorks Global focuses particularly on young people’s sexual and reproductive lives. Across the globe, parents, teachers and other adults widely fail to prepare young people with the information, skills and resources needed to chart a healthy course through the transition to adulthood. Investing in reducing and mitigating the risks of premature and unprotected sexual activity and childbearing can make enormous contributions to the prospects of adolescents and young adults, affecting their health, schooling, longer-term earning potential and the lives of their children.
Recent collaborations, products and resources
- As a staff member and later as a consultant with the International Center for Research on Women, Margaret Greene co-authored Girls Speak. A New Voice in Global Development. Girls have a fundamental right to be heard, valued and respected. Moreover, by listening to girls’ voices, policymakers and program managers can help bridge the gaps between girls’ aspirations and their actual experiences. In this report, the authors outline six themes that arise from girls’ aspirations, including the desire to be healthy and educated with viable livelihoods and career opportunities, financial security and independence; and to marry and have children at the appropriate time. Underlying all the themes is one universal: a shared inability to make decisions about their own lives even though they know what they need.
- Margaret Greene worked with USAID’s Interagency Youth Working Group and Family Health International to organize a conference on Protecting and Empowering Adolescent Girls: Evidence for the Global Health Initiative in June of 2010.
- What do we know about the impact of adolescent sexual activity, pregnancy and childbearing for girls’ life prospects? This research review by Margaret E. Greene and Thomas W. Merrick for the World Bank builds reviews the huge volume of recent evidence on the negative consequences of early sex and childbearing for girls and on innovative programs that seem to be making a difference.
- Margaret Greene’s earlier work with Population Action International produced a seven-country analysis of youth policy. In This Generation: Sexual and Reproductive Health Policies For a Youthful World shows what countries as diverse as Iran, Mexico and the Netherlands have done to invest more holistically in young people’s sexual and reproductive lives.
If you would like to learn more about this set of issues, please see the following resources and links (link to full list of adolescent-related publications).